My heel pain isn’t Plantar Fasciitis? What else could it be?

Plantar fascia issues are a common presenting complaint that is all too commonly seen in a Podiatry clinic. However, we often rely on Dr. Google to provide us with the answers (as is only natural!) to figure out the source of our pain. But could it be something completely different?

Whilst the plantar fascia is often the structure involved, we have many other structures which can become overused, inflamed or acutely injured which can masquerade as plantar fasciitis.

These structures include, but are not limited to:

Quadratus plantar muscle: This is a muscle located on the bottom of our foot within the 2nd layer of plantar foot muscles. It attaches into the heel bone and its purpose is to help to curl our toes. It can become strained/overused with repetitive load that it isn’t used to!

Heel Fat Pad: Our heels take a lot of load! We have a large fat pad which acts to protect our heel bone. This padding, unfortunately, can wear down as we get older, causing more stress on the very structures it is trying to protect underneath.

Baxter’s Nerve: Our heel also contains its own branches of nerves. Baxter’s nerve impingement can occur in
conjunction with plantar fasciitis and often presents in the same manner.
How will my Podiatrist help?
Podiatrists are experts at diagnosing and treating all kinds of heel pain. A few of the strategies a Podiatrist
may look at implementing include:

Footwear – Your Podiatrist will assess the fit, structure and support of your footwear to ensure
they are right for you!
Biomechanics – Your Podiatrist will assess the way you move and identify any potential
inefficiencies within your gait which could be leading to the problem!
Hands on work – Your Podiatrist will identify and mobilise any stiff joints or restrictions which may
be contributing .
Exercises – Your Podiatrist may look at implementing an exercise regime to help support and
strengthen structures around the foot and ankle, so they can cope with the load.
Flexible Foot Orthoses – An orthotic insole may be indicated. These are a customised insole that
aims to evenly distribute load throughout the foot to improve overall function of the foot.

Let’s not assume all heel pain is plantar fasciitis! Have an assessment by one of our friendly Podiatrists
and get on top of your heel pain once and for all.

If you have any further questions feel free to reach out to me via email or
book an appointment with myself (or any of our wonderful practitioners) here!

Ben Jose
Podiatrist at Blackburn, CBD, Hampton
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