top of page

Healing Heels: Injections for Foot Pain Relief

Heel pain is a frequent and frustrating issue that can disrupt your daily life, making even simple activities a challenge. We dive into the world of injection therapies that offer new avenues of relief for those affected by persistent heel discomfort. Understand heel pain, its causes, and the injection treatments reshaping the journey towards a pain-free lifestyle.

Common Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain often stems from overuse or degenerative conditions. The most frequent cause is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation or degenerative tear of the band of tissue connecting the heel to the toes. Other causes include Achilles tendinitis, heel spurs, and bursitis. Certain lifestyle factors like prolonged standing, obesity, and wearing ill-fitting shoes can also contribute to the development of heel pain.

Symptoms: More Than Just Pain

While pain is the most evident symptom, its nature can vary. Some may experience a sharp, stabbing sensation, especially in the morning, while others might have a dull, chronic ache. The pain typically concentrates under the heel or just behind it, where the Achilles tendon connects to the heel bone. Swelling, redness, and warmth in the heel are other common symptoms, indicating inflammation.

Identifying the Pain

Accurately identifying the type of pain is essential for diagnosis and treatment. For instance, pain under the heel might suggest plantar fasciitis, while pain behind the heel could be a sign of Achilles tendinitis. Understanding the specific characteristics of your heel pain is a critical step in seeking the right treatment.

When to Seek Medical Attention

It's important to consult a healthcare professional if heel pain persists or worsens, especially if it starts to interfere with daily activities. Medical advice is also necessary if the pain develops after an injury, is severe, or is accompanied by swelling and numbness.

The Role of Self-Care

In many cases, initial management of heel pain can be done at home. This includes rest, ice application, proper footwear, and over-the-counter pain relievers. However, if these measures don't provide relief, it's time to consider professional medical interventions, like injection therapies.

Exploring Injection Therapies for Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Insertional Pain

Injection therapies offer significant relief for two common heel pain conditions: plantar fasciitis and Achilles insertional pain. The primary treatments in focus are corticosteroid injections and Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. Here's an in-depth look at how these treatments help.

Corticosteroid Injections: Immediate Relief for Plantar Fasciitis

Corticosteroids are known for their powerful anti-inflammatory properties. For plantar fasciitis, injecting corticosteroids around the inflamed fascia provides rapid pain relief by reducing swelling and inflammation. This treatment is often recommended when conservative measures like physical therapy or orthotics don't yield desired results.

PRP Injections: Promoting Healing in Achilles Insertional Pain

PRP therapy is gaining traction as an effective treatment for Achilles insertional pain. By injecting a concentration of the patient's own platelets into the affected area, PRP injections encourage tissue repair and regeneration. This method is particularly beneficial for chronic cases where the body's natural healing process needs a boost.

Mechanism of Action: Targeted and Specific

Both corticosteroids and PRP offer targeted treatment. While corticosteroids quickly reduce inflammation and pain, PRP gradually promotes long-term healing. This specific approach ensures that the underlying causes of plantar fasciitis and Achilles insertional pain are effectively addressed.

Comparing Corticosteroids and PRP

While corticosteroids offer immediate pain relief, their effects are generally short-term. PRP, on the other hand, aims for longer-lasting healing but takes time to show results. The choice between these therapies depends on the severity of the condition, patient preference, and medical advice.

Consultation and Customised Treatment Plans

A thorough consultation with a healthcare professional is crucial. They can assess the specific condition and recommend the most appropriate injection therapy, whether it be corticosteroids, PRP, or a combination of treatments.

Procedure and Aftercare: What to Expect from Heel Pain Injections

Understanding the procedure and aftercare for heel pain injections, specifically corticosteroid and PRP treatments, can help alleviate concerns and ensure optimal recovery.

Preparation and Procedure

Before the injection, the area around the heel is cleaned and sterilised. For corticosteroid injections, the doctor may use an anesthetic to numb the area. In PRP therapy, blood is drawn from the patient, processed to concentrate the platelets, and then injected into the affected area. Both procedures require precision and are usually quick. The utilisation of Ultrasound guidance ensures precision and reduces the risk of injury to other structures.

Immediate Aftercare

Post-injection, it's normal to experience temporary soreness or swelling. Resting the foot and applying ice can help alleviate these symptoms. Avoid strenuous activities for a few days to allow the treatment to settle.

Follow-Up and Monitoring

A follow-up appointment is essential to monitor the healing process. In some cases, additional injections may be necessary, especially for PRP therapy, which might require a series of treatments for full effectiveness.

Long-Term Care and Lifestyle Adjustments

Long-term care includes maintaining foot health through proper footwear, stretching exercises, and possibly custom orthotics. These measures, along with a balanced lifestyle, can prevent future heel pain.

Understanding Potential Risks and Complications

While generally safe, it’s important to be aware of potential risks like infection, nerve damage, or tissue atrophy, especially with repeated corticosteroid use. Discussing these risks with a healthcare provider ensures an informed decision.

Comparing Injection Methods to Alternative Treatments

Understanding how injection methods for heel pain, such as corticosteroids and PRP, compare to alternative treatments is crucial for making informed decisions about care.

Injection Methods: Direct and Targeted Relief

Injection therapies like corticosteroids and PRP provide direct treatment to the affected area. Corticosteroids are known for quick relief of inflammation and pain, while PRP focuses on long-term healing by promoting tissue regeneration.

Physical Therapy: Strengthening and Flexibility

Physical therapy is a cornerstone of heel pain treatment. It involves exercises to strengthen the foot and improve flexibility, addressing the root causes of pain. This non-invasive approach is often recommended before considering injections.

Orthotic Devices: Support and Alignment

Custom orthotics are specially designed shoe inserts that provide support and correct alignment issues in the foot. They play a key role in distributing pressure evenly and can be highly effective for conditions like plantar fasciitis.

Lifestyle Changes: Prevention and Maintenance

Lifestyle adjustments, such as weight management, proper footwear, and avoiding overuse, are preventive measures that can alleviate heel pain and prevent its recurrence.

Balancing Treatment Approaches

Often, a combination of treatments is the most effective approach. While injections offer immediate relief, incorporating physical therapy, orthotics, and lifestyle changes ensures long-term management and prevention of heel pain.


In the journey to overcome heel pain, a multitude of treatment options presents itself, each with its own merits. Injection therapies, particularly corticosteroids and PRP, have emerged as powerful solutions for conditions like plantar fasciitis and Achilles insertional pain. They offer targeted, effective relief and, in the case of PRP, promote long-term healing. However, it's essential to remember that these treatments are part of a broader spectrum of care. Physical therapy, orthotic devices, and lifestyle adjustments remain integral to a comprehensive approach to managing heel pain. Balancing these methods, tailored to individual needs and circumstances, provides the best pathway to lasting relief and recovery.

If you are feeling heel pain, contact us or book an appointment and get the help you need

About the Author: Dr. Mustafa Alnaib MBChB, MRCS, MSc, FEBOT is an orthopaedic surgeon, musculoskeletal doctor and Clinic Director at ACTIVATE Musculoskeletal Clinic in Kent

bottom of page