Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

Do You Have Plantar Fasciitis?

Do you wake up in the morning with a sharp pain in your heel, feeling like you’ve stepped on a nail? 

Or maybe, as the day goes on, your heel throbs and aches, making every step a struggle? 

If so, you’re not alone. Heel pain, particularly caused by plantar fasciitis, is a common issue that affects millions of people. 

But here’s the good news: it’s not something you have to live with. 

Understanding what’s causing your heel pain and knowing how to treat it can get you back on your feet—literally and figuratively. 

In this article, we’ll dive into the ins and outs of heel pain and plantar fasciitis, and explore effective treatments that can help you walk pain-free again.


What is Heel Pain?

Obviously heel pain is any pain that you feel in the heels of your feet, but it is one of the most common complaints we get walking through our doors.

Heel pain can have several causes including: 

  • Achilles tendinitis; 
  • bones spurs;
  • foreign objects like glass; corns;
  • cracked heels;
  • gout;
  • stress fracture;
  • tibialis posterior tendinopathy;
  • ligament strains;
  • but the most common cause is plantar fasciitis.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fascitiis is a crippling condition which causes sharp, intense pain in the bottom of the heel, especially on the first steps of the morning.

The pain will often return after a period of standing followed getting up after a rest. In some people it becomes a chronic condition which gives them pain with every single step throughout their day.

What is the Plantar Fascia?

A picture of a foot with the plantar fascia drawn in.

The plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes.

Think of it as a strong, supportive bridge that helps maintain the arch of your foot.

This remarkable structure plays a crucial role in your ability to walk, run, and stand, by absorbing the shock and stress placed on your feet with every step you take.

When it gets over worked because of your job, your sports or exercise, or because of your alignment it can become irritated and very sore.

Causes of Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis

Overuse and Activity

Engaging in repetitive activities, such as running or standing for long periods, can put excessive strain on your plantar fascia. 

Even standing for long periods at work, or going up and down ladders have been common causes of plantar fasciitis.

This overuse can lead to tiny tears in the tissue, causing inflammation and that dreaded heel pain many of us are all too familiar with.

Foot Structure

Your foot structure plays a significant role in heel pain. 

People with flat feet or high arches are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis because these conditions can lead to an uneven distribution of weight and added stress on the plantar fascia.

Podiatrists will always assess your foot structure along with other factors to work out how to treat your heel pain.

Other Contributing Factors

Diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis

It is important that you get the correct diagnosis for your heel pain as successful treatment choices rely on accurate diagnosis.

Your podiatrist will assess a range of factors in your life which could contribute to the condition including:

  • your lifestyle including the work you do, the sport and exercise that you engage in,
  •  your footwear and any orthotics you may be using,
  • your gait and stance alignment (biomechanics),
  • any traumatic incidents which may be relevant.
You may also need imaging to accurately diagnose which tissue is damaged.

 

Sometimes your heel pain might behave like plantar fasciitis but be caused by damage to another tendon or ligament in the area or even a stress fracture, or other fracture.

Irritation of the medial calcaneal nerve can also mimic plantar fasciitis so your poditrist may do some tests in the clinic to rule out nerve involvement.

Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis

Start with The Basics

When you first notice that sharp heel pain, hit it with the basic sports medicine techniques.

Rest and Ice are your best friends at the start of plantar fasciitis.

Strapping – if you are able to do some strapping yourself, or have a family member who can, then check out this video below.

Stretching and Strengthening

Once they have diagnosed your condition and the causes of it, your podiatrist will start you on a strengthening and stretching regime to help reduce the forces from injuring your plantar fascia and helping it to heal.

Whilst you cannot actually strengthen the plantar fascia, you can strengthen the intrinsic muscles that support it, helping to reduce the tensile forces which damage it.

To see some of the intrinsic muscle strengthening exercises that we prescribe click here.

We may also get you to roll your foot over a ball or a bottle at home to help to stretch out the plantar fascia and the muscles around it.

Physical Therapy

There are several physical therapies that podiatrists can use to help to settle down your heel pain. 

They include:

  • Shockwave therapy – this is a great technology that has been proven in clinical trials to reduce inflammation and pain. To learn more about how we use shockwave therapy click here.
  • Massage – massage of the intrinsic foot muscles and the fascia of the feet can help to bring relief,
  • Dry needling – dry needling uses very thin acupuncture style needles to target trigger points in the muscles and help to release them. They have also been found to have an analgesic (pain relieving) effect.
Shockwave Therapy machine being used on the bottom of a foot.

Orthotic Therapy

Custom foot orthotics are one of the most effective and quick ways of reducing heel pain, especially when caused by plantar fasciitis.

We complete an extensive gait and stance analysis including the use of a plantar force measuring treadmill to determine if there is a biomechanical cause of your condition.

A custom foot orthotic on a teal background


We then use highly accurate 3 dimensional laser scanners to capture the exact shape of your foot. These scans are then sent to the orthotics laboratory with a prescription, to make the exact custom foot orthotic to help reduce pain and help to keep it at bay.

To find out more about orthotics and plantar fasciitis click here.

Footwear Assessment and Advice

Sometimes this is the most important factor, and the only one you need addressing!

Some people are wearing footwear that is either not suited to their feet, their purpose, or are so worn out that they are actually doing them damage.

We ask that you bring in all of the shoes you are using for different activities so that we can get to the bottom of the problem and help you to get it sorted!

Conclusion

Heel pain, especially from plantar fasciitis, can be a debilitating experience that puts a damper on your daily activities. 

But with the right knowledge and treatment plan, you can overcome this discomfort and get back to doing the things you love. 

Whether it’s choosing the right footwear, performing daily stretches, or seeking professional help, taking proactive steps can make a world of difference. 

Don’t let heel pain hold you back. 

Embrace the solutions that work for you and start your journey to pain-free walking today.

 Remember, every step towards treatment is a step towards reclaiming your comfort and mobility. 

If you need further assistance, our expert podiatrists are just a call away, ready to help you every step of the way.

Call our clinic on 3351 8878 

or you can always book online below

The team at Dynamic Podiatry L-R Sarah, Matt, and Michaela
The Dynamic Podiatry logo orange and navy with a foot in the "D"