Heel pain is commonly referred to be its clinical name of “Plantar Fasciitis” but is also sometimes called ‘Policeman’s Heel’
How is it caused?
In some people, there is no obvious cause. Some patients have a family history of bunions. Some patients, such as those with flat feet, are at an increased risk of developing bunions.
Though not necessarily always the cause of bunions, tight or poorly fitting shoes can make the symptoms worse.
What are the symptoms?
The most common cause of heel pain is inflammation of the plantar fascia (plantar fasciitis).
However, there are a number of other sources of heel pain which are caused by other conditions such as:
- Insertional Achilles
- Tear of the plantar fascia
- Stress fracture
- Arthritis in the subtalar joint
- Irritation of the small nerves in the soft tissue of the heel
These are very specific conditions and would be treated using different methods than those listed in this section.
How is it diagnosed?
Clinical examination and either an Ultrasound or MRI to confirm the diagnosis.
How is it treated?
What can I do?
Use the RICE Principle (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation), which can help in the acute stages, as can anti-inflammatory medication.
If symptoms are more chronic, a combination of insoles to cushion and support the heel, and physiotherapy to rehabilitate the soft tissues to their correct length and strength, can help.
Laser therapy and acupuncture might be of benefit.
In persistent cases the following treatments may be considered:
- Steroid Injections
- ESWT, Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy
- PRP Therapy (Platelet Rich Plasma – sometimes called ACP)
It is important to understand why your symptoms are occurring and if isolated to the plantar fascia alone, then the following procedures man be considered:
TOPAZ Coblation – Uses radio frequency waves that gently cause microscopic “micro-trauma” to the damaged tissue, which is then stimulated to repair itself.
Endoscopic Plantar Fascia Release – During surgery, the plantar fascia is partially cut to relieve tension in the tissue.
If your symptoms are due excessive tightness in your Achilles tendon.
Achilles Tendon Release (Endoscopic) – is a surgical procedure that involves lengthening the Achilles tendon to allow for a greater range of movement in the ankle and /or foot.
It is preferred that these procedures are done using Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) techniques, to minimise surgical trauma and improve recovery time.