Heed Your Heel Pain

Have you woken up in the morning, swung your feet over the side of the bed, and felt a stab of pain as you transfer your body weight to your feet for the first time that day?

Or maybe you feel stabbing heel pain, numbness or tingling throughout the day when you get up and take the first few steps after you’ve been sitting for a while?

If this sounds familiar, you could be suffering from plantar fasciitis, which is the technical name given to pain caused by strain of the plantar fascia tissue in your heel.

Functional Sports Podiatrist Benjamin Hodgetts says it’s a common problem that he and his colleagues at Sportsmed Murdoch see regularly.

“Many people just ‘live’ with this pain – but you don’t have to!” says Mr Hodgetts. “Most of the time, plantar fasciitis can be treated effectively without surgery.”

“We use medical imaging, such as x-rays band ultrasound, to help us find out the exact cause and then work towards alleviating the pain.”

The plantar fascia is a thick, broad band of tissue, which attaches to the heel bone, fanning out and attaching to the metatarsal bones in the ball of the foot. It’s a ligament that helps keep the bones and joints of the bottom of our foot in position and also allows us to push off from the ground, mostly when we move forward or upward.

Common causes of pain are often foot structure, gait abnormalities, lower limb muscle weakness or imbalances or tight posterior chain.

“When we bruise, or overstretch this ligament, it can cause pain in our heel,” Mr Hodgetts says.

“It’s sometimes nicknamed policeman’s heel or jogger’s heel because of its prevalence among people who are on their feet a lot.”

There are various treatment options,depending on the individual needs of the patient.

Podiatrists will also often create an exercise rehabilitation program to gain mobility, improve strength and function in the foot, ankle and lower limb

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