Understanding and Treating Heel Pain

Identifying Your Heel Pain: Types of Heel Pain and How to Differentiate Them

There are different types of heel pain, such as tendon, bone, nerve or fat-pad pain. Identifying the specific type of heel pain you have is important for effective treatment, as each rehab is different. Remember, it is important that you get a proper diagnosis from your physio or doctor. Paying attention to the location, the activities that worsen the pain, whether you have pins and needles, as well as any accompanying symptoms like swelling or stiffness are all important. Sometimes, each of these things can occur at the same time, causing some confusion in the diagnosis.

Some of the more common diagnosis of heel pain are;

  • Plantar fasciitis – normally pain under the heel, with pain worse in the morning that ‘warms up’ with more movement. (See below for more information on this)
  • Fat pad damage – this pain typically presents as pain under the base of the heel, and when you push on the squishy-part surrounding your heel. This typically wouldn’t ‘warm-up’.
  • Bone damage – as the damage to the bone is more severe, it might present with pain at rest or throughout the night, and worse with impact movements such as hopping. Again, this wouldn’t be expected to ‘warm up’ with more movement.

Options for Self Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

You can take several steps at home to relieve heel pain, including

  • Taping your feet; See here https://momentumphysiogroup.com.au/blogs/foot-self-taping-techniques
  • Using gel heel cups such as these from Whiteley
  • Wearing supportive footwear
  • Stretching your feet in the mornings such as below

Benefits of Physiotherapy for Heel Pain: Why Seeing a Physiotherapist Can Help You Recover Faster

Physio can provide targeted treatment and customised exercise programs to help alleviate your heel pain. We can use a range of techniques like manual therapy to reduce pain, and prescribe exercises to improve strength and tolerance in your heel. We can also tailor advice to reducing your load such as running volume, sport participation or gym participation. During your first appointment, we will measure your ankle and foot joint’s mobility and strength, and assess whether there are other contributors to your pain such as your running technique. Based on the assessment, we will develop a customised treatment plan addressing these factors.

Some exercise options that may help with your symptoms include the following;


In conclusion, heel pain can be a debilitating condition that can significantly impact your daily life. By understanding the causes and symptoms of heel pain, seeking professional help when necessary, and implementing self-care strategies, you can effectively manage your pain and improve your quality of life. Physiotherapy, including advice on strengthening exercises, activity modifications, and stretching exercises can help to alleviate your symptoms, and get you back to your activity sooner!

Experience the Momentum difference today!

We believe that modern physio should offer you care across the entire treatment journey to achieve your goals, from pain relief, to strengthening and reducing injury risk. This is why we created our purpose-built facility with access to state of the art technology and equipment.