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The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis (heel spur syndrome).
However, a range of other conditions can also cause heel pain including, but not limited to the following, nerve entrapments, heel bursitis, and more systemic causes such as sero-negative arthritides. A correct diagnosis is vital for successful treatment.
Treatment protocols for plantar fasciitis have evolved, and focus is now on diagnosing and eliminating the causes of the symptoms.
A lot more is now known about the mechanical properties of the heel fat pad and its ability to absorb the impact of ground force in gait.
Orthotics can be used to assist the fat pad to absorb this force and with wedging and cut outs on the orthosis, help reduce the force required to establish the windlass mechanism (tightening of the plantar fascia at the propulsive phase of gait) which offloads the injured tissues, and improves the rate of healing.
Other treatments that may be needed are stretching and strengthening exercises, strapping, footwear assessment, night splints, and physical therapy.
For the cases that resist all conservative treatments and are more chronic in nature, there is Shockwave therapy, which increases blood flow and metabolic activity around the site of pain, kick starting the healing process.
City Podiatry Dunedin is the only practise in Dunedin to offer extracorporeal Shockwave therapy. The therapy is noninvasive, with a probe held against the skin allowing highenergy sound waves to spread into the tissue.
Treatments generally last 5-10 minutes, and you will be asked to stretch the injured area after the treatment. Depending on the area being treated, 3-5 sessions are usually required. These are undertaken one week apart, with a follow-up six weeks later.