Heel Pain

While repetitive musculoskeletal injury stands as the most prevalent cause of heel pain in Singapore, it's essential to recognise that there are serious conditions that can present with similar symptoms.

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Michael
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Michael

Overview

Heel pain is a common and prevalent foot ailment that can affect individuals of all ages. It can cause soreness and discomfort, ranging from mild to severe. Heel pain can be caused by various factors, including inflammation of the plantar fascia (plantar fasciitis), Achilles tendonitis, heel spurs, stress fractures, or other underlying medical conditions.

Types of heel pain

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is a foot condition characterised by the inflammation of the plantar fascia - a thick connective tissue band stretching across the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes.

Overuse or activities that involve repetitive stress on the plantar fascia can lead to inflammation and swelling. This inflammation results in pain, particularly during weight-bearing activities like walking. While plantar fasciitis commonly affects one foot at a time, it can also manifest in both feet simultaneously. The condition is often characterised by discomfort near the heel, and the pain is typically most acute after periods of inactivity, such as when first stepping out of bed in the morning.

It is crucial to address plantar fasciitis in the early stages as it may progress to a more severe condition. In advanced cases, a tear in the plantar fascia may occur, making interventions that target acute inflammation less effective or ineffective for chronic heel pain. Timely podiatric intervention is key to managing and preventing the progression of plantar fasciitis, minimising the risk of complications and aiding in more effective long-term relief.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendonitis is the inflammation of the achilles tendon (the large band of tissue connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone). Caused by repetitive stress or overuse, this inflammation causes pain, swelling and stiffness along the back of the lower leg.



Achilles tendonitis is often caused by activities that involve sudden increases in intensity or duration, such as running, jumping or high-intensity sports. Common symptoms include pain and discomfort, especially during physical activity, and morning stiffness.

Heel Spur

A heel spur is a bony outgrowth that develops on the underside of the heel bone. It often forms as a result of long-term inflammation of the plantar fascia. As the plantar fascia pulls on the heel bone, small calcium deposits may accumulate over time, resulting in the formation of a heel spur. Heel spurs are not usually painful, however they may feel uncomfortable.

The presence of a heel spur indicates an extended period of plantar fasciitis in the individual, emphasising the importance of addressing underlying inflammation for comprehensive foot health.

Stress fractures

Stress fractures are small cracks or fissures in a bone, commonly occurring due to repetitive stress or overuse, particularly in weight-bearing activities such as running or jumping. These fractures often result from the accumulation of repetitive force on a bone that surpasses its natural ability to repair itself. While stress fractures can affect various bones, they frequently occur in the weight-bearing bones of the lower extremities, such as the shinbone or metatarsals. Individuals engaged in high-impact sports or those with sudden increases in physical activity are more susceptible to stress fractures. Symptoms typically include pain, swelling, and tenderness, and diagnosis may require imaging techniques like X-rays or MRIs. Rest, reduced physical activity, and gradual return to exercise are common ways to manage stress fractures, allowing the bone to heal and preventing further injury.

Can I just wait for the pain to subside?

We have seen patients who have lived with severe heel pain for years. In most cases, they have altered their walking patterns to cope with the pain. This may include walking on tip-toes in the morning until the pain wears off or adopting a more sedentary lifestyle to avoid the pain. Not only does this lead to a decline in optimal fitness levels, it also encourages the development and progression of other conditions. With the right diagnosis and management, heel pain and other associated conditions can be minimised. Left unaddressed, heel pain can significantly impair your walking and everyday life. While rest and home remedies may provide temporary relief, they do not address the root cause.

How can heel pain be managed?

Seeking consultation with a podiatrist is advisable for an accurate diagnosis, ensuring appropriate and timely management tailored to the specific underlying cause of the heel pain.

Our podiatry clinic focuses and specialises in conservative solutions, leveraging advanced technology and custom orthotic insoles specifically designed for your foot type and heel pain condition, encouraging long-term relief.


There are a variety of conservative solutions available, including the use of foot orthotics, shockwave, EMTT, sports taping, and focused stretching exercises. With the right care and patient adherence, most patients will see significant improvements.

Surgery may be advised if the condition is severe and resistant to conservative solutions. Our podiatrists work closely with proficient orthopaedic surgeons specialising in foot and ankle procedures. They frequently handle post-operative rehabilitation for lower limb surgeries, including wound care, foot orthotics, and orthopaedic footwear.

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Common Symptoms

Swelling
Stiffness
Reddish discolouration
Warmth
Limited motion

How It Looks Like

No items found.

Related Conditions

FAQs

What is heel pain?

Heel Pain is a feeling of discomfort or pain in or around the back of the foot. There are many possible causes for heel pain, but some of the most common causes are plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and tendonitis.

What causes heel pain?

Heel pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including injuries to the foot. These injuries are typically divided into three main categories – Acute, Overuse, and Chronic. Acute injuries are those that are caused by a single traumatic event such as sprains, falls or fractures. Overuse injuries share some similarities with chronic injuries, and are caused by repeated actions that affect a particular group of soft tissues, such as muscles and joints. If left unaddressed, overuse injuries can often become chronic, meaning they last for more than three months and may not heal on their own.

What are some symptoms of heel pain?

As there are numerous conditions responsible for heel pain, the symptoms also vary widely. Some of the symptoms include swelling or stiffness around the back or underside of the heel, discolouration (typically red), warm skin, limited or painful movement, or discomfort when pressure is applied around the heel.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis, which involves an injury to the plantar fascia, is one of the most common causes for heel pain. The plantar fascia is the band of tissue that connects the front of your foot to the heel. It is responsible for supporting the arch of your foot and much of the weight of your body when you are on your feet. As the plantar fascia acts as a shock absorber during movement, they are frequently injured over time. Plantar fasciitis may also be caused by factors such as having a flat or high arched foot, excessive exercise and being overweight.

Will heel pain go away on its own?

While heel pain may subside after some rest, the underlying issues that cause it typically persist until it’s resolved. Aggravating factors, such as exercise or being on your feet for long periods of time, can easily trigger the injury once more. Over time, these injuries can result in permanent damage to the plantar fascia, such as a rupture which can only be resolved through surgery.

How do you manage heel pain?

Heel pain management can be divided into two main approaches: pain relief and addressing the underlying cause. Pain relief can be achieved through a variety of methods including: Analgesics, rest, shockwave therapy, physical therapy and other therapeutic modalities. The second approach is addressing the underlying cause of heel pain. It involves a variety of solutions, depending on specific cause to find out if orthotics or surgery is needed. Therefore, it is critical to seek help as soon as possible to prevent the pain from becoming worse.

Have a question?

East Coast Podiatry offered outstanding service, rehab treatment and advice for our 10yr old son who suffers from sever’s disease. After months of basketball and soccer, our son struggled with heel pain and sore feet which impacted his ability to compete. After a few sessions with ECP, our son’s pain subdued significantly and he was able to play sports without pain. Additionally, we were given great advice to help manage his pain at home through stretches and recommended movements. Thanks ECP!!

N. Jennings
Reviews

Our Podiatry Care Strategy

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An ankle specialist, such as a podiatrist, will be able to perform a thorough foot assessment using diagnostic tools, such as a musculoskeletal diagnostic ultrasound to determine the source of your ankle pain. If surgery is required, your podiatrist will refer you to a trusted foot and ankle doctor for surgical solutions.

A thorough assessment of your ankle

Immobilising the area with splints

Utilising technological therapies

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