Heel (calcaneal) stress fractures are a common cause of heel pain in the athletic population. They are seen most regularly in army recruits who all of a sudden take on high volumes of marching. They are also commonly seen in sports people such as runners and dancers who do excessive amounts of high volume weight bearing exercise.
Management of this condition, once successfully diagnosed, unfortunately necessitates a period of rest from activity. Manual therapy and joint mobilisations also form part of the treatment of the condition. Importantly underlying predisposing factors must be addressed prior to recommencing a graded return to weight bearing exercise. Cushioned heel pads may be used to reduce the load on the heel. However it’s important that weight bearing exercise is not recommenced until the heel is completely pain free on weight bearing.