The Safe Guide to Heel Pain : Save yourself money – Stop self-diagnosing your sore heel
Heel pain is a very complex condition with many causes. Many people do a google search and self diagnose with a condition called plantar fasciitis. Your heel pain may not be plantar fasciitis so you should continue reading to find out more about your sore heel.
The best way to think about a sore heel is it from a Local (your heel) condition or is the pain from a much bigger Body wide (systemic) condition such as gout. For your podiatrist to come up with a treatment plan for your sore heel we need to find the cause or causes.
Can you prescribe something for my sore heel?
Hervey Bay Podiatrist Colin Power is an endorsed prescriber of scheduled medicines and is able to prescribe for acute painful conditions. He works with your GP on prescribing suitable medication and removes the painful wait to see your GP that may have been required if your saw a non-prescribing podiatrist and then needed to make an appointment to see the GP for medication.
Your sore heel may be due to a few different things that causes your heel to have stabbing or burning pain, it may even be red and swollen and require prescription only medication.
Pain in your heel can be from a number of different conditions or even a combination of conditions so to avoid wasting money on expensive treatments that may not fix your sore heel make sure you understand what is causing your sore heel.
Where does my Heel hurt?
We learnt long ago that not everybody knows anatomy as well as we do. It is so much easier to have you point to where your heel is sore and let us do all the work about finding the most likely cause of your sore heel. Knowing what part of your heel is sore helps greatly to narrow down the cause.
- Bottom of heel
- Inside (medial)
- Outside (lateral)
- heel and into the arch
- Back of Heel
- low on heel
- higher up where the Achilles attaches
- In between both
- Side of heel
- Inside (medial)
- Outside (lateral)
- All over heel pain with swelling and heat
It takes many years of experience to narrow down the cause of pain in the heel. A google search for “Heel Pain” will most likely bring you to articles on planar fasciitis or heel spurs. What about other things like gout or arthritis?
Many people spend months trying to fix their sore heel with web-remedies and quick fixes that are guaranteed to work. Please if your sore heel doesn’t get better within a very short period of time see your local podiatrist…it is too complicated to self-diagnose.
Help your Podiatrist help you with sore heel
You can help your podiatrist by knowing:
- Where your heel is sore
- When it started getting sore (did you have a recent injury)
- What makes your heel worse
- Have you increased your activities or exercise
- Have you changed the shoes you wear (bring them to the visit)
- If you are on any medication
- If you have a history of gout
Why Do I have a Sore Heel
Heel Pain can be from a number of many causes and we will break them down into two main areas. A sore heel from a Body wide (systemic) condition or from a Local (heel) condition. Heel pain from a local condition is more common but we shouldn’t forget about the more rarer body wide (systemic) conditions because it can save a lot of pain and suffering if we head done the right path sooner than later.
This is not a complete list of conditions that cause sore heels but we have to start somewhere.
Body wide (systemic) Conditions that may cause heel pain
- Inflammatory disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Ross River Virus
- Other viruses
Local (heel) Conditions that may cause heel pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Heel Spur
- Intrinsic muscle overload
- Calcaneal Apophysitis (Sever’s disease)
- Pump Bump (Haglund’s deformity)
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Trapped Nerve (Baxter neuropathy)
- Stress fracture
- Soft tissue bruising
- Foreign body
So you can see that your podiatrist has a lot on their mind when you ask about your sore heel. Every condition requires a different approach and many require a team effort from other health professionals. Don’t think heel pain is simple and it should not be taken lightly by you or your podiatrist.
Do I need orthotics for a sore heel?
Many people are prescribed orthotics for local causes of sore heel and it may not be the correct treatment. Recent research has shown that plantar fasciitis, a common form of heel pain may not benefit from orthotic therapy as much as previously thought. They are still an effective treatment for some forms of sore heel but may be over-prescribed for plantar fasciitis.
This is an area that requires more research as expert opinion varies on the use of orthotics for plantar fasciitis. It may turn out that a more cost effective orthotic customised by an expert podiatrist to treat resistant cases of plantar fasciitis is all that is required in these cases…not custom orthotics.
Orthotics may be beneficial for some causes of heel pain. Some causes of pain in the heel respond to cost effective orthotics such as customised pre-fab orthotics just as well as more expensive custom orthotics. For calcaneal apophysitis (Sever’s disease) a heel pain condition that occurs in children a pre-fab heel raise in their shoes along with other conservative treatment may be all that is required. Orthotics are a useful tool when used for the right condition but you have to take into consideration the cost of orthotics.
Orthotic design and How much you wear them: It is important
You will find some people love orthotics and some people don’t but did they give them a fair go? Orthotics need to be designed for your particular condition and you need to wear them for the recommended amount. You wouldn’t really listen to someone who said that they went for a walk and didn’t loose any weight so exercise is no good for loosing weight.
You need the right design of orthotic for your condition and that doesn’t have to be expensive. We use pre-made orthotics that we then customise for your foot and that brings the price down considerably.
You need to wear your orthotics for the recommended amount or it is a waste of time and money. If you can’t or won’t wear them then we have to come up with another treatment plan for you that doesn’t rely on orthotics.
Is Shockwave therapy good for my sore heel ?
Shockwave therapy for heel pain has been used more commonly by podiatrists and physiotherapists over recent times. The literature supports its use in some painful muscular and bone conditions but we are still not convinced of its wide spread pain benefit.
We are concerned about the ease of over-prescription in clinics that seem to be applying it to all types of painful conditions . We believe it could benefit some patients that have chronic (long-term) pain from local heel conditions rather than body wide (systemic) condition where other treatment has failed to solve the problem. If the cost keeps coming down as it has over the last few years we may consider adding this treatment for the few patients that may benefit.
What treatment do you offer for my sore heel ?
Power Podiatry uses many ways to treat your sore heel depending on the cause. For example for a diagnosed condition such as plantar fasciitis we may use one or more of the treatments listed below:
- Needling (Dry Needling and Western Medical Acupuncture)
- Soft Tissue mobilisation
- Spray & Stretch
- Foot mobilisation
- evidence-based exercise prescription
- low cost orthotics
We work on the long term foot function and health of the lower limb to aid in your recovery. Giving you the tools and knowledge to manage your foot health now and in the future.
Yes we still prescribe orthotics for some foot pain conditions if the evidence supports their use. Often we test orthotic therapy with a cost effective customisable off the shelf version that will last a considerable time with patients often opting to replace these with a similar product when they wear rather than progressing to a more expensive custom orthotic.
Orthotics are often temporary in our management of your sore heel. With education and a program to increase your general foot health we often find that we can progress you out of your orthotics as your sore heel gets better.
For effective treatment your podiatrist needs to first make a diagnosis of the cause of your sore heel. Then they need to educate you on this cause so that you could explain it to your best friend when they ask.
Heel treatment checklist
- Why your heel is sore (cause)
- Education of heel condition
- Treatment options for a sore heel that centre around your concerns
- Treatment plan and cost for sore heel