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Heel and Arch Pain

Heel and Arch Pain

Painful feet are very debilitating. Pain in the heel area is especially common and may be associated with a calcaneal spur, usually referred to as a heel spur.

Our feet are made up of a series of small bones, known as the tarsal bones. These tarsal bones, starting from the calcaneus (heel) form an arch, which is supported by a strong band of sinew (plantar fascia) stretching across the sole of the foot below the surface of the skin.

Osteopath holding patient's foot

With repeated activity on our feet, this fascia causes persistent traction (tugging) on the attachment point into the bone, and inflammation and pain may develop at this site. This painful condition is known as plantar fasciitis. Sometimes a sharp ‘spur’ develops at the site of this traction on the bone and protrudes into the surrounding tissue. But the pain is usually due to the plantar fasciitis, rather than the heel spur itself.

Inadequate arch support from poor footwear is the most common cause of plantar fasciitis. As the arch is collapsing, the plantar fascia is placed under great stress and often other muscles of the foot and lower leg are utilised to help stabilise – the result being joint restriction, muscular tension and pain in the foot and lower leg.

Our Osteopaths will work on improving the mechanics of your foot and lower leg by increasing the range of motion in the associated joints and reducing the tension in the local muscles. They will also provide you with home exercises and information on footwear to help improve this chronically debilitating condition.

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