If you are experiencing heel pain, then you are one of many people who may have a condition that is known as plantar fasciitis or heel spur syndrome, if a spur is indeed present. There are other factors to consider when it comes to heel pain like tendonitis, nerve irritation, stress fracture, arthritis, and even cyst.
Since there are many potential causes of heel pain, it is of the utmost importance that it be diagnosed by a qualified physician to get the correct treatment and identify the underlying cause of the problem. You must keep in mind that heel pain no matter how slight should never be taken lightly. Here are practical ways to deal with heel pain.
Limit Your Level of Physical Activity to Eliminate Heel Pain
It is important that you realize that the longer you are on your feet, the more pressure you put on it. As a result, the more tearing it will experience in your fascia. The resulting tear in the fascia can lead to inflammation and more heel pain. When you feel heel pain you must try and avoid activities like running, biking, brisk walking, or swimming.
Use of equipment like Stairmaster or treadmill either in the gym or at home is another definite thing you must avoid. Using the stairs has the same effect on the fascia and can lead to heel pain. This is why you must minimize going up and down the stairs.
One of the keys to avoiding heel pain is to keep yourself from carrying heavy objects including your kids. Try to keep this routine for at least two weeks or until the heel pain subsides.
Ice Massage Therapy for Heel Pain
The preference for ice is based on the premise that the heel pain originates from an inflammation of the fascia. In order to effectively deal with the inflammation you need to place an ice pack on your heel for about 20 minutes several times a day or every time you feel pain. This will reduce the amount of inflammation in your heel and minimize the amount of heel pain that you feel.
Make sure that you place a thin towel between the ice pack and your heel so that it does not come in direct contact with your skin. It is never advisable to apply ice pack directly to your skin especially for extended periods.
Another way that can help reduce heel pain is to freeze a medium sized sports water bottle and roll your arch over it while it is placed on the floor. This will help relieve the heel pain that you are currently feeling.
Stretch Your Calf to Relieve Heel Pain
Normally, people experiencing plantar fasciitis experience pain when waking up in the morning as well as late in the day. For others, the pain suddenly occurs any time of the day without warning.
Stretching your calf is an effective way to deal with heel pain. To do this, place a belt or towel on your dresser. Before you get up in the morning, wrap the belt or towel around the ball of your foot.
What you need to do is to pull your foot towards you while keeping that leg straight. There should be some tension that you will feel in your calf. Hold this position anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds and repeat. Stretching your calf this way will minimize the heel pain when you get off the bed.
Keep on with this exercise for about 5 minutes in the morning and the evening. This should be done 10 times at 30 seconds for every repetition. Alternately, you may use a runner’s stretch to minimize heel pain.
Anti-inflammatory Pain Medications for Heel Pain
As their name suggests, these medications are formulated to relieve inflammation which is causing heel pain. There is no doubt that taking these types of medications will relieve the inflammation in the fascia brought about by the tearing. Consistent with other ways of dealing with the inflammation, once it subsides, you can expect the heel pain to go away.
Keep in mind though that too much dependence on medications can mask the pain instead of relieve it. Do not over exert yourself just because the heel pain has subsided. Combine this solution with the first three steps to gain optimum results. Reintegrate your old routine slowly after two weeks or until the pain has stopped manifesting itself. Consult a certified physician before taking any type of medication.
Opt for Shoes with More Heel Support
Some would think that this should not be included in this list since it is pure common sense. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes just how poor the support their shoes have for their heel which contributes to heel pain. Supportive shoes are designed to bend only at the area where the foot bends naturally, which is at your toes. This means that shoes that bend elsewhere cannot be considered providing optimum support.
To test how supportive the shoes are, take one piece and flip it over. Grab the toe area with one hand and the heel with your other hand. Try to fold the shoe and observe where the bend lies. If the shoe can be bent in half, this shoe does not have very good support. Keep in mind to wear only supportive shoes at all time if you want to relieve heel pain.
Almost as equally important as wearing supportive shoes is to never walk without shoes. Whenever you walk barefoot, undue stress and strain is placed on the plantar fascia which may lead to inflammation and heel pain.
Remember that walking or running shoes are not automatically good for your feet. Most of these are designed to be lightweight allowing them to easily breakdown in the middle portion after a few months. Test all your shoes to be sure.
All of these are practical ways to deal with heel pain because they effectively eliminate surgery from the picture. However, if the heel pain continuous to persist, it would be wise to consult your physician and look at a surgical option if necessary. Use these tips on how to deal with heel pain in the order they have given to get the best results possible.