Heel Raises

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Single Heel Raise

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What are heel raises?

Heel raises, or lifts, are a piece of high density EVA material which is used to aid particular presenting complaints. They may seem small and unassuming, but they can play an important role in taking the pressure and load off your feet and lower limb.

As the name suggests, they lift the heel of your foot off the ground to reduce the weight placed on your tendons, muscles and bones and to also readdress your gait. These heel raises can be stuck underneath the innersole of your shoe or if you would like to transfer them between shoes, it is not necessary to stick them to the shoe.

To wear a heel raise, it is best to either stick it to the shoe underneath the innersole using the adhesive backing, or do not remove the adhesive backing for easy transfer between footwear.

What kind of heel raises are there?

The most common types of heel raises are either medium (4mm) or high (6mm). However at Foot Centre Group, if we believe that if you need a different height of heel lift, we are also able to assist you through designing a customised heel raise. If this is the case, we recommend that you have an in depth biomechanical assessment with one of our Podiatrists who will be able to determine what height of heel lift you require.

How can heel raises help?

There are many different ways that a heel raise can be beneficial for you.

Limb Length Difference:

Having one leg longer than the other is very common, however can lead to secondary issues and pain in areas such as your back, neck, hips and ankles. Moreover, it can also lead to poor posture and balance which can therefore lead to other degenerative issues. These include; joint problems, stress fractures, soft tissue overuse injuries in the foot and ankle and increased risk of falls and tripping.

Most people who have minor limb length differences between their legs don’t usually have issues and can adapt and compensate for this. This is usually the case of people if their limb length is less than 5 millimetres. However, a difference above 5 millimetres can lead to issues as it can have a significant effect on an individual’s gait, biomechanics, foot and ankle alignment.

Limb length differences can be classified as either structural limb length difference or functional limb length difference.

Structural limb length difference (SLLD) or anatomical: Differences in leg length results from inequalities in bony structure that is usually genetic or hereditary.

Functional limb length difference (FLLD): Unilateral asymmetry of the lower extremity without any shortening of the bony components of the lower limb.

The most accurate method to identify limb length difference is through a thorough assessment.

Achilles Tendonitis:

Heel lifts are very common amongst individuals suffering from Achilles Tendonitis. This painful condition occurs when the band starting from the back of your leg that connects your calf to your heel bone becomes overused. The tissue becomes irritated and inflamed, leading to an aching sensation that can be accompanied by stiffness and added tenderness in the area. Even though Achilles Tendonitis is not life threatening, if not treated properly it can lead to severe pain and lack of mobility. It can also become weakened over time and can also become susceptible to rupturing. There are plenty of things you can do to relieve the symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis, including investing in a sturdy heel lift  to be placed in your footwear. When placed at the back of the shoe either on top of underneath your innersole, the raise will help to take the tension away from the heel, giving your tendons the chance to heal while you continue to go about your daily activities.

Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs:

As explained previously, because heel lifts are used to take away force placed on the structures leading from the calf to the foot, they are also able to aid individuals suffering from Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs.

Sever’s Disease (Calcaneal Apophysitis):

Sever’s disease or Calcaneal Apophysitis, commonly affects children between the ages of 9 and 13, especially in active boys. It is characterised as pain in one or both heels. During this phase of life, fusion of the growth plate at the back of the heel with the heel bone is taking place at a faster rate than the tendons and ligaments. Activities such as running or jumping, cause the Achilles tendon to pull on the growth plate. This results in inflammation at the back of the heel where the Achilles Tendon inserts into the heel bone.

Treatment recommendations include the use of heel lifts to take the load away from the calf and Achilles Tendon, as well as mobilisation, strength and conditioning and orthotics. However, a full biomechanical assessment is recommended in order for the best management plan to be advised.

Heel lifts and Orthotics:

If an assessment by the Podiatrist has determined that a heel lift is recommended, it may also be recommended that an orthotic may be necessary to increase the efficiency of the foot and lower limb. A heel lift can be added externally or internally to an orthotic whether this orthotic is custom made or off the shelf. It is important that other components of the foot and lower limb are considered and properly assessed just in case more is needed other than just a heel lift.

Heel raises and increase ankle joint range of motion:

It is recommended that more than 90 degrees of ankle joint dorsiflexion (upward movement of the ankle) is needed in order for a gait pattern to be efficient. Limited ankle joint range of motion may be caused by anterior ankle impingement or tight posterior muscles such as the calves or Achilles Tendon. When there is limited ankle joint dorsiflexion, more pressure is put through the ankle, forefoot (ball of foot), knees and hips.

Heel lifts aid in increasing the range of motion at the ankle through taking the load off the calf muscles, Achilles Tendon and forefoot. However, other treatment modalities are also recommended to increase ankle joint range of motion. For example, addressing the foot posture, mobilisation, manipulation and strength and conditioning of the lower limb and foot.

Want to see someone?

At Foot Centre Group we believe that each and every client is different and will respond differently to treatments. Your podiatrist will take a thorough history of your pain, as well as assess you biomechanically to diagnose your condition as well as assess whether heel lifts are appropriate for your presenting issues. We assess each and every case individually and decide upon a treatment plan that is specific to our client’s needs.

Make an appointment

Make an appointment by clicking on this link: https://www.footcentregroup.com.au/book-online/ or by calling our Moorabbin clinic at 03 9553 0044, Edithvale at 03 9772 9579 and Malvern East at 03 9021 2067.

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