Plantar heel pain - how we can help

Steph Howard27th of September / blog / patient-education / heel-pain

Pain underneath the heel is the most common thing our patients present with at SA Podiatry Centre.  

And the good news is not every person has the dreaded 'plantar fasciitis". And even is the plantar fascia is symptomatic, the treatments we can provide are highly effective in reducing pain and improving function!



So what is the cause of plantar heel pain?

Research suggests 1 in 10 people will suffer from plantar heel pain in their life. Despite how common it is, we still don't know exactlly what causes the pain. Sudden weight increase, higher body mass, and large increases in physical activity are known to be associated with the pain, but they aren't always the cause.

Our approach is that pain presents when the load applied to the heel (causing compression) is more than the heel can handle. This may purely be the amount of load, but also the way the foot moves when the said load is applied. 


So how do we treat plantar heel pain at SA Podiatry Centre?

Firstly, we need a diagnosis. Is the plantar fascia actually the problem?

In our experience, only 60-70% of the time is the plantar fascia actually the problem. Given nerve, bone and muscle can also cause pain in the plantar heel, it is important to get the diagnosis right so we can prescribe the most approrpiate treatment. To often we see patients prescribed a recipe of treatment without an actual diagnosis being made. Sometimes imaging is required to confirm exactly what the problem is.


Second, we need to establish the cause of your plantar heel pain. 

A positive long term outcome is not just reducing your symptoms, but also ensuring your symptoms do not return. We identify the cause of your pain. We get to the cause of the problem and address that to ensure your problem does not return. We also educate you so that you understand your problem. What likely caused it, what you can and can't do, and how long it may take to get better. Only once you understand the whole situation are you empowered to make change for the better.


Only now do we prescribe an individualised management plan to set you on the right track. 

The most effective treatment plans for plantar heel pain focus on both immediate symptom relief (within days to a few weeks) and long-term positive outcomes.

In other words:

  1. "how can we get you more comfortable as quickly as possible"?
  2. "how do we ensure you stay pain free?"

We look to build capacity of your bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons to build strength, condiitoning and resilience. We focus on control of movement, biomechanics, lifestyle factors that can be modified to improve long-term prognosis. And we can engage a multi-d team of physios, exercise physiologists, dieticians and psychologists that we work closely with as required to help ensure all facets of ill-health are adressed.


We monitor your progress and outcomes.

Just because you may not be in the clinic, doesn't mean we aren't thinknig about you. We are driven by continued improvement, and will stay in touch to ensure you are tracking in the right direction.


This is our difference.


If you are experiencing plantar heel pain and would like to discuss how best to manage it with us, then please reach out and and make an appointment:

Steph Howard B.Pod