Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)

Heel or arch pain can be a debilitating condition that significantly affects an individual’s mobility and overall quality of life. There are various causes of heel and arch pain, with the most common being plantar fasciitis. Other causes can include achilles tendinitis, heel spurs, fat pad inflammation, baxter nerve impingement and flat feet. My Podiatrist Canberra takes a comprehensive approach to evaluate the underlying causes and develop effective treatment plans.

What are the treatment options for heel and arch pain?

  • Custom Orthotics: We often prescribe custom orthotic devices to provide support and alleviate pressure on the affected area. These inserts can help distribute weight evenly, reduce strain on the plantar fascia or Achilles tendon, and correct foot abnormalities.
  • Strapping: We may use strapping techniques to provide additional support to the affected foot, particularly in cases of conditions like plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis.
  • Physical Therapy: Podiatrists at My Podiatry Canberra may recommend specific exercises to strengthen the muscles in the foot and ankle, improving flexibility and reducing strain on the affected area.
  • Footwear Recommendations: Podiatrists may suggest appropriate footwear with good arch support and cushioning to reduce pressure on the heels and arches.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Dry needling: Dry needling is a minimally invasive procedure where fine needles are inserted into specific points in the foot, targeting trigger points or tight bands of muscle. This technique aims to release muscle tension, improve blood flow, and promote the body’s natural healing processes.

In cases where conservative measures are insufficient, advanced interventions such as immobilisation, corticosteroid injections or surgical procedures may be considered. Our podiatrists work closely with patients to tailor treatment plans, emphasising long-term relief and improved functionality.

Is plantar fasciitis the most likely diagnosis, or could it be another condition? 

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain, but other conditions such as heel spurs, Achilles tendinitis, or nerve impingements can also contribute. A thorough examination and, if necessary, diagnostic tests can help confirm the diagnosis.

How did I develop plantar fasciitis? 

Are there specific risk factors or lifestyle choices that contribute to it? Factors like excessive weight, improper footwear, prolonged standing, high-impact activities, and tight calf muscles can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.

What are the typical symptoms of plantar fasciitis? 

Symptoms include sharp, stabbing pain near the heel, especially during the first steps in the morning or after prolonged periods of inactivity.

What diagnostic tests might be necessary to confirm the diagnosis? 

A podiatrist may diagnose plantar fasciitis based on a physical examination. In some cases, imaging studies like X-rays, ultrasound or MRI may be recommended to rule out other potential causes.

Are there specific types of shoes or footwear that can help with my condition? 

Supportive shoes with good arch support and cushioning can help alleviate symptoms. Avoiding high heels and shoes with inadequate support is essential.

Do I need custom orthotics, and how will they benefit me? 

Custom orthotics can provide additional support and help correct foot mechanics, reducing strain on the plantar fascia and promoting proper alignment.

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Will plantar fasciitis resolve on its own? 

No, plantar fasciitis typically does not resolve on its own.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition characterised by inflammation of the plantar fascia, and without intervention, it can persist and potentially lead to complications. Also if left untreated, plantar fasciitis can lead to the development of a plantar fascia tear. Continuous strain on the plantar fascia without adequate care and treatment can weaken the tissue, making it more susceptible to tears. A tear in the plantar fascia can cause severe pain, swelling, and may significantly impair foot function.

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