Not surprisingly, heel pain can have a debilitating effect on our daily lives making it painful to walk.
The most common cause of heel pain is something called plantar fasciitis.
What is it?
The plantar fascia is a thick strip of tissue running from the heel of your foot to your toes and helps form the arch of your foot. You can feel it on the soles of your feet quite easily. If the fascia becomes inflammed you have what is then called plantar fasciitis. Literally meaning that there is inflammation (-itis) of the plantar fascia.
Why does it become inflammed?
The plantar fascia can strectch so far but if it is subjected to excessive strain or perhaps a sudden increase in weight or exercise regime then an accumulation of micro damage in the tissue/fat can cause it to become inflammed.
It is possible to damage the fascia anywhere but most likely near the heel, hence why this type of injury is most associated with heel pain. The achilles tendon in the back of your calf is also attached to the heel bone and a problem with this can cause pain in the heel.
What makes it worse?
This type of problem causes heel pain that is worse in the morning when the plantar fascia is tight. After a while gentle stretches and walking loosen it up and the pain subsides.
- Walking with no shoes can stress the arches of the feet
- Walking up stairs
- Wearing the wrong shoes.
- Running and in particular sprinting (on balls of feet and putting lots of stress on plantar fascia). This is especially the case in the wrong training shoes.
- Being a woman! Though, this is due to the type of footwear commonly worn.
- Being overweight.
- Walking incorrectly.
What is a heel spur?
If the injury goes un-treated then small amounts of calcium build up around the heel and form a bony protrusion on the heel. This protrusion is called a heel spur.
Can it be cured?
Rest. Like many of these types of problems the ailment arises from overuse of the effected area. Resting that area allows it time to recover. However, this is not so easy with the foot if you want to get on with your life.
The usual pain killers and especially anti-inflammatory ones will help with the immediate problem especially if combined with resting the feet. However, if the cause of the problem is your current circumstances (work/shoes/posture) then unless these are addressed the problem will re-occur.
Stretching exercises can be very effective of preventing re-occurance of the injury. These stretches should target the sole of the foot and the calf.
Bowen will almost certainly help!