Health Q&A: Heel pain

Dr Mark Porter / 07 June 2019

Dr Mark Porter responds to a reader’s query about heel pain.

Q: I have had a painful heel, particularly in the morning, ever since coming back from a holiday in the Caribbean before Christmas. My GP has diagnosed plantar fasciitis and put me on anti-inflammatories, but it is not getting any better. Would an injection help?

A: Plantar fasciitis is bit like tennis elbow of the foot and is caused by inflammation where tissues underlying the sole attach to the front of the heel bone. Doing a lot of barefoot walking on sand can trigger it, and the pain is characteristically worse first thing in the morning.

Anti-inflammatory tablets can help, but physical treatments work better in my opinion. Stretching the sole of your foot and your calf muscles is the best therapy and there is lots of advice online if you search for ‘stretches for plantar fasciitis’. For at least four to six weeks, wear impact-absorbing shoes (such as trainers) or put special insoles in your normal footwear, and avoid going barefoot. Cortisone injections can help too, but are a last resort.

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