18 July 2013

Step away from heel painVolunteers who suffer from heel pain are being sought by a University of South Australia research team who are aiming to understand more about the causes and treatment of a condition that affects one in 10 people during their lives.

Recruits to the research program will have the opportunity to wear and keep footwear designed around a cast of their feet, as part of a randomized control trial which is designed to find ways to minimize heel pain.

Researcher and podiatrist, Chris Bishop, at UniSA’s School of Health Sciences, said that plantar heel pain was the most common condition that he had seen while working as a clinical podiatrist in Adelaide over the past seven years.

“The usual complaint is of a pain underneath the heel (especially when first getting up in the morning) and people can’t necessarily recall one particular event that caused the pain," Bishop says.

“What made me want to research this common problem is the confusion that exists in the medical community about what plantar heel pain actually is, what causes it and what is the best way to treat it.

“Despite undergoing treatment, patients often continue to suffer symptoms in excess of 6-12 months.

“Although we don’t know why some patients get better and others don’t, what we do know is they are all more comfortable when wearing shoes.”

A total of 50 volunteers are expected to take part in the three month trial, with research centred around what types of footwear are most effective in improving patients’ symptoms.

“We hope that by researching people with plantar heel pain and looking at the interaction between the foot and shoe design features, we can begin to have a better understanding of how best to treat this condition,” Bishop adds.

For further information and to volunteer, contact Chris Bishop.

Chris Bishop office: (08) 8302 1312 email Christopher.Bishop@mymail.unisa.edu.au

Media contact: Will Venn office 8302 0965 email Will.Venn@unisa.edu.au

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