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Heel Pain

heel pain


The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fascitis which is commonly referred to as a heel spur. Plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue which runs along the bottom surface of the foot, from the heel to the toes.

Plantar fascitis is a condition in which the plantar fascia is inflamed. This condition can be very painful and cause considerable amount of suffering.

Long standing inflammation causes the deposition of calcium at the point where the plantar fascia inserts into the heel. This results in the appearance of a sharp thorn like heel spur on x-ray. The heel spur is a-symtomatic (not painful), the pain arises from the inflammation of the plantar fascia. Symptoms include a dull ache which is felt most of the time with episodes of a sharp pain in the center of the heel or on the inside margin of the heel.

Often the pain is worse on first rising in the morning and after rest and is aggravated by prolonged weight bearing & thin soled shoes.


  • Excessive load on the foot from obesity is a major cause of plantar fascitis. This is why this condition is common in middle aged and overweight adults.
  • A sudden increase in weight, such as pregnancy can also lead to plantar fascitis.
  • A sudden increase in walking or a sporting activity can also be a contributing factor. A classical example is a postman who has returned to work after a period away from the job can develop this condition.
  • Tight plantar fascia (this is often caused by tight calf muscles).
  • Excessive flattening of the arch on weight bearing.
  • Biomechanical problems (walking abnormalities) is a major cause of plantar fascitis.
  • Different types of arthritis can also lead to this condition such as osteoarthritus and rheumatoid arthritis.


  • Treatment must be directed at realigning the foot while you are walking. This will be achieved through the use of insoles. Heel cup insoles will stop the pain associated with this condition. You may also need silicone orthotics to prevent this condition from reoccurring.
  • Rest the affected area are much as possible. This will allow the inflammation to subside.
  • Wear a supportive shoe with a stiff heel counter, a shock absorbing sole and a good arch. A well made running shoe is ideal for a patient who suffers from plantar fasciitis.
  • Application of ice to the heel area after prolonged activity will help to minimize the inflammation.
  • A silicone heel cup and other silicone devices can help cure heel pain.
  • A shoe with a moderately high heel may relieve pressure from the painful symptoms.
  • Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen may be of benefit.


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