Heel Pain can stop you from getting back to exercise!
Pain on first step out of bed, pain in the ball of your heel, gets better after time on your feet only to get painful at the end of a day! Pain often doesn’t have a reason or incident. The horrible thing is this pain is often described to me months or even years after it first appeared and frequently after seeing a number of health care practitioners GP’s, Physios and including Podiatrists!
Many treatments Podiatrist’s and Physios prescribe DON’T WORK and sadly deep down they know this but in an effort to work with you, their patient, they persist not knowing what else to try. Sadly as a patient this doesn’t assist you, and leads only to frustration.
I see literally 8 to 10 people a day, with heel pain! I have been focusing on heel pain for over a decade, honing my skills to work through this complex problem. I see people from ALL over NSW and now have begun to see people travel to see me from interstate. I’d like to share with you some points I have learn't seeing literally thousands of patients.
So in an effort to help EVERYONE, I thought I would write a few of my Top Tips (maybe secretly frustrations). So you can get a better idea of why possibly you are NOT getting any better despite you seeking help.
Orthotics probably won’t work on their own.
This is probably the most common mistake in treatment I see on a day in day out. Orthotics are commonly used by Podiatrists and I use them also ALL the time! However they are not the only answer. I definitely see them having a role to play. We will prescribe so to provide a support or a “balance” to a foot, but you need more! The tissue is damaged and it’s VITAL that it is rehabilitated! Orthotics cant and won’t do this alone, you must rehabilitate the tissue, using therapies such as deep connective tissue massage and shockwave and muscular stretching exercises!
Stretching won’t help 90% of people.
“I have been stretching for months and I am not getting any better” I see endless amounts of hard working people who have been given stretching exercises and sent on their way and told “Let me know how you go” by their well-meaning therapist. I also see patients who present to me who have never had any treatment and I test their muscle tightness, only to find they have no tightness at all! Not all heel pain is from tight muscles and not all heel pain is Plantar fasciitis, so we need to break the mold and look elsewhere to help you, our patient.
Great footwear is a key to treatment Yet lots of practitioner focus on this with their patients! Make sure you review your footwear!
You can’t wear any shoes you’d like and your love of Thongs/flip flop/ Jandals is harming you.
Sorry I am going to give you a hard time about shoes! Thongs, flip flops, yes even the special ones with arches etc etc are all footwear that maybe adding to your pain. I know they make you feel good while you are wearing them. However over years of recommending more appropriate footwear and seeing significant changes in outcomes for the time it takes you to get better we keep you out of these. You can return when the foot is better and full recovered!
Hard rigid orthotics won’t only not fix it they may actually make things worse!
I will start by acknowledging I am not a fan of rigid orthotics, I have never prescribed them and would not wear them myself. I know many many physios feel the same and are concerned about these actually irritating the structures of the base of your foot! I am sceptical at best around these rigid, hard, harbour bridge like devices in shoes.
Again I feel orthoses work however I believe the foot needs some of its natural motion and this is why our clinic has always used soft soft pliable orthotics that are custom made to your foot. These cup the heel and support the arch only where necessary and DON’T irritate the very area we are trying to fix! We make all our orthoses in our own onsite orthotic lab, we use the latest 3D technology and computer aided design, then milling them precisely to fit you foot, a mix of comfort and cushioning.
Heel pain - Is it your Orthotics causing you more pain?
You need more than a rub!
As I mentioned above most patients need soft tissue rehab HOWEVER I also see that without supporting the tissue around the foot and correcting some of the poor walking patterns that may have contributed to the problem slowly developing, patients often DO NOT get better! Have your walking pattern assessed and see improvements develop quickly
How to get better?
I think the key is to looking at treatment as NOT having one silver bullet that will fix everything. As you will see from my extended notes, just focusing on one element seems to be where people fall short. Looking at heel pain as if it is more than just the one condition, “Plantar fasciitis”, is also necessary to ensure that you get the right treatment. Heel pain can be and often is more than “Heel spurs” or “plantar fasciitis” and so to treat it you need to identify exactly what it is.
When you have established a good idea what’s going on, its time to look at treating all the contributors that made it sore in the first place. Structure, poor foot wear and then looking at treating the soft tissue.
Can you get better?
YES I hope you can see from this that there are very obviously MANY options available. As a practitioner one of the very nice parts of my day are seeing patients who have had this for months or years get better! Patients that don’t just get better they can now kick a ball with their kids, run with the kids in the park, keep up with the grand kids!
Can we help YOU?
Yes, if you would like our help back to a healthy happy lifestyle, we most definitely can and would LOVE to help! Unlike other podiatrists who focus on treating your Nan's toenails or dry hard skin on their feet, we focus on these more complex running and walking problems! We priorities patients just like you as we understand how important it is to get you back to pain free. Please give our very friendly front desk team a call, not only are they helpful but after having helped literally hundreds of patients each year they are really good at leading you in the right direction back to pain free.
You can contact us on 96732987 or 47322007 we look forward to helping you.
A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle care
BB to the right, with out the yellow skirt