I have had more than a few patients come in recently with heel pain/discomfort. I have had my own journey with heel pain. Twenty plus years ago I was standing on a ladder when it slipped on the concrete floor it was on and I went down with it. My feet were almost ten feet off the floor and I stayed with the rung and landed standing straight up. Ouch! It knocked the wind out of me, but I was young and did not break anything (that I knew of). I shook it off. I thought I was OK with no issues. I did not got to the doctor (and did not even know that osteopaths existed). By the time I started osteoapthic school, my feet, but especially my right one, were NOT right. They could lock up and bring me to my knees. I could treat them and find relief in a few seconds, but it would not stay gone. My walking would have issues sometimes. So, to sort myself out, I have had to learn the feet well. That way I can talk to my colleagues and instruct them on how to treat my feet.
In keeping it simple, the foot has three main parts. The forefoot (where the toes are), the mid foot (where the arch is) and the hind foot (where the heel is). The mid and hind foot are supposed to MOVE in relation to one another. This is one of the mechanisms that allows you to adapt to uneven ground. There are a multitude of ligaments here (like rubber bands) that allow movement while maintaining stability. When trauma occurs (no matter where) the effected ligaments tighten. If that trauma is in the foot, the ligaments that surround the heel can tighten and restrict the motion of the heel area.
This is fairly easy to treat if you understand the anatomy. Unfortunately, most don’t. If the trauma was simple (like using your heel to dig in the dirt), then a simple release of the ligaments should return you to normal and require no follow up. If the trauma was severe (like falling off a ladder) then the ligaments likely received some damage and simple release is not enough. They need to be addressed with either surgery by a competent physician or podiatrist OR they need prolotherapy (the route I chose). After a few injections, my heel was on the mend and feeling much better.
Now when one of my patients comes in and gives a similar story to mine, I am much better prepared to help them due to my journey.
I know I did not cover plantar fasciitis or heel spurs here, but that was part of the learning journey as well. So, yes, I know about them and can successfully treat them as well.