Heel pain is a big nuisance, isn’t it? Many people are suffering from it. It can happen to any people of any ages.
If you are suffering too then you know how we all hate it.
But, don’t lose hope, heel pain is totally treatable.
Check out my 9 amazing tips right below to see how to combat heel pain and achieve the happiness for your feet!
What causes heel pain?
We should learn a bit about heel pain to understand how and where our tips will tackle.
Heel pain is simply the hurt feeling in your heel. Although there are several causes that make your heel feel painful, the most commonplace cause is the Plantar Fasciitis.
The Plantar Fascia is the muscle stretching from the heel to the toes, which is far under your feet. The Plantar Fasciitis is what we call the inflammation of this muscle, Plantar Fascia.
Plantar Fasciitis commonly causes sharp pain, especially occurs after your first steps in the morning or after a long time sitting or standing (without changing your posture). As you get up and move more, the pain normally eases off. It comes back after a time non-moving.
Plantar Fasciitis usually happens to whom?
In theory, inflammation can happen to anyone’s feet’s fascia. In practice, people who often stand in a prolonged period (usually required by their jobs) will see the symptom. Overweight people and one who wear shoes with insufficient support are more likely to suffer.
In normal condition, the plantar fascia plays the role of a shock-absorbing bearing of your feet which supports your arch and heel. If that bearing is put under exceeding large tension and stress, it will be irritated or inflamed. That will lead to plantar fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis can be properly treated by undergoing a foot surgeon. Though true, many people do not have sufficient conditions to do that. So, I have come up with 9 simple yet amazingly effective tips for you. They are guaranteed to be able to soothe your heel pain, calm your feet or prevent heel pain to occur.
Are you tempted to know them?
Check them our right below for more details!
Heel pain treatment
1. Use ice or pain plasters
If you are really needing a very quick relief for your heel, use ice or pain plasters. They can help in the short-term with an immediate effect.
All you need is a small pack. You can use any plastic packs within your reach or buy some specialised packs at nearby pharmaceutical stores. Fill one-third of the pack with ice cubes (ideally small cubes but avoid using grinded ice). Add some water to cover the ice until the mixture fills just above a half of the pack. Use it on your sore heel.
You can keep using the ice until your heel feels better. It can help soothe the pain without any unexpected effects. Your skin might be a bit irritated but it’s totally fine.
Pain plasters are also good, maybe better. They can stick to your heel so that your hands will be free. Furthermore, their effects can last for up to 12 hours so you will not have to use ice every 20 minutes.
You should pay attention to 2 things when buying and using pain plasters:
- Components: Plasters are made from chemicals or natural materials. You should choose one that your body is not sensitive to.
- Effects: Some may last for 8 hours; some may last for up to 12 hours. Some cannot be used more than twice per day. You should be aware of this.
Though very effective, ice and pain plasters are not meant to be used for a long time. You can utilise this method for some days but not longer. Your skin might be seriously irritated or the heel pain can get worse and produce a complication if you overuse it.
2. Use over-the-counter medicines
Heel pain may respond to treatment with over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Aleve).
Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen and Naproxen are anti-inflammatory drugs. While inflammation is the cause of plantar fasciitis, such medicines can help out when you need to calm the heel pain hurriedly. They can also relieve pain, fever, swelling, and stiffness, which can make your feet happy for a moment.
Though they can be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription from doctors, you should certainly set a limit by consulting their usage instructions.
Nonetheless, a small amount of the chemicals can help relieve your heel pain immediately. You can feel the effect after taking one or two pills after a short time (normally 15 to 20 minutes).
You should know that the medicines bring will momentary effects, not a complete solution. The physical inflammation and swelling are still present. You should definitely seek for further persistent methods (check right below) or medical treatments (usually foot surgeon) to totally combat the annoying heel pain.
3. Choose right shoes
This should be the very first advice of every doctor. You should unquestionably wear shoes which are just right for your feet, especially when you are having pain in your heel.
“Just right” is normally understood as fit, not too loose, not too tight. But for ones with plantar fasciitis, it means more than that. It means proper support. Your heel can only be relieved from pain if you provide it good support.
The right shoes for you are ones with some special features. I believe the most needed ones are shock-absorbing and flexible soles.
The shock-absorbing sole, mostly using rubber or air pockets, can reduce both the effort you make when moving (stress from above) and opposing force from the ground (stress from underneath). Without being put too much pressure on, the fascia can move and act as if it does naturally. Thus, it will not be getting worse even if you walk a bit too much.
The flexible sole, rubber or memory foam, for example, can provide a good support to the whole foot. Your heel, arch, ball and toe will be cushioned with a soft and flexible layer underneath. The plantar fascia, stretching from the heel to the ball, can be relaxed without being kept stretched or contracted for too long.
You should also be aware of your foot shape. It might be a bit narrower or wider, thicker or thinner than the average foot, for example. Shoe sellers are offering many shoe models, addressing almost all types of foot. You should choose the right model that can fit and relax your foot. It is to let all parts of your foot pleased, including the plantar fascia that is our biggest problem here.
4. Use additional insoles
If you cannot find a good pair of shoes that both fits you and heals your heel (which is mostly not the case), no worries, I have a solution. First, you choose the shoes that fit your feet, maybe one or a half size larger for better comfort. Then, you buy some soles to add on the shoes. Sounds good?
The added insoles should feature shock-absorbing ability or made from memory foam. Usually, the insoles are slip-resistant so that they can provide a good grip to your feet inside the shoes. You don’t want to slip your shoes off, especially with a sore heel, do you?
It should be the best if you buy the insole just right for your foot size. As I already recommended you to buy slightly larger shoes, the insole will be smaller compared to the shoe’s insole. This is for you to adjust the insole the way you want. You can put it a little forward or backward as long as your feet feel good. Also, larger shoes offer more space to your toes when you add a layer inside.
5. Create healthy habits at work
You should start curing your heel pain everywhere because you are nearly always on your feet no matter where you go. And if your jobs require standing a lot (i.e. restaurant servers, warehouse workers and such), I strongly suggest you start creating healthy habits at your workplace to alleviate your heel problem.
During your working hours, you sometimes have to do one task for a long time. You should remember to change your standing posture every 20 minutes (better followed with 1 or 2-minute walking around).
By doing that, you can avoid creating a prolonged pressure on your feet. The plantar fascia, thus, can enjoy some short breaks rather than withstanding all the time.
If your jobs require walking here and there, congratulations, your feet should be treated better. Nonetheless, you should rest every hour and elevate your feet. You can sit somewhere and lift your feet, preferably put them on something as high as your sitting ground.
This is to let the fascia return to its relaxation phase and the blood cells can circulate through your feet easily. If you can take off your shoes during the break and stretch your feet by lifting your toes, it will be the best.
You may think walking a bit during your task or resting for 2 minutes are unproductive and interruptive, but I state that they are worth doing. Particularly after 3 or 4-hour working, every small break and stretch is helpful.
Your feet’s “happiness” will be replenished a little. So, you can maintain it during the working period, keeping your feet survive through the day rather than torturing them.
After getting used to the new habit, you will find it easy and enjoyable. Your feet will be much healthier and thus you will become much more active and productive!
6. Do specialised exercises
You can also be your doctor at home. You should cut out half an hour from your leisure favourites every day such as watching TV or playing video games to try these new exercises. They are well-researched and designed by scientists who study about foot pain and treatments.
All you need is to grab a chair and start stretching the plantar fascia. Remember to sit up straight to prevent any other pain in your back or hip.
First, roll your foot back and forth on any rolling object like a bottle or a tennis ball. Do this for one or two minutes then switch to the other foot.
Second, cross your leg and grab your toes (if your hands are not big enough, you can grab your big toe). Pull the toes toward you gently until you find a tense feeling under the arch. It’s the fascia being stretched to its normal maximum. Hold your hand for 30 seconds before releasing your toes. You can do it for 3 to 5 times before moving to the other foot.
When doing this exercise, you should let your foot relaxed totally, don’t try to hold it. Otherwise, you cannot feel your fascia is being stretched and the exercise will lose its influence. Don’t try to pull your toes too far or too violently neither because the plantar fascia is the one being exercised.
Finally, grab a towel and fold it to make a strap. Place the middle part of the towel under your arch or a little up to the foot’s ball. Pull two strap ends gently toward you. Hold the strap 30 seconds when the fascia reaches its maximum tension before releasing it. Do this for 3 – 5 times then switch to the other foot.
I strongly recommend you to do this before your workout. This can help warm up your feet before they get trained intensively. You can also do this at home before taking a bath. The exercise will help soothe the stiffness in your feet by putting them into stretch – relax – stretch phases.
7. Do Yoga
Yoga is considered to be a low-impact activity that can provide the same benefits as any well-designed exercise program that can promote relaxation, reduce stress and improve some medical conditions.
To fight heel pain, Yoga is strongly recommended. Though true, it is particularly promoted as a physical therapy routine rather than a short-term treatment with immediate effects.
There are various Yoga positions which are easy enough for you to start with. The followings are the most common ones which directly address your heel pain.
Sit straight on a chair. Hold your leg straight and roll the ankle gently drawing circles. First 30 second clockwise then 30 seconds counterclockwise. Do this for 3 – 5 times with each foot.
You start with down on all fours. Gradually straighten your elbows and knees until your arms and legs totally stretch. Hold that position for 30 seconds while trying to stretch your heels and ankles. Do it for 3 – 5 times.
Starting from the plank, lower your body until your shoulders and elbows are levelled. Slowly reaching forward and backwards while you are on your tiptoe all the time. Do it gently for 30 seconds and repeat 3 – 5 times.
Standing on one foot flat on the ground and tiptoe on the other feet. 70% of your weight should be put on the flat feet. Keep your tiptoe still, loosen the ankle and draw circles clockwise and counterclockwise. Do it for 30 seconds with each foot, 3- 5 times.
Sit straight on the ground and try to reach your toes while keeping your arms and legs completely straight. Hold your position for 30 seconds when you can touch the toes. Repeat 3 to 5 times before switching to the other side.
This pose requires an extremely good stretching ability so you should practise it slowly unless you are very flexible. Despite that, this position will force you to reach your best with rewarding healthy effects.
In fact, Yoga positions usually have multiple healthy impacts on many body parts simultaneously. So, even when you are practising the above Yoga poses to relieve your heel pain, the benefits are for all your body.
8. Use hot and cold water or Epsom Salt
Using hot- and cold water is the classic home therapy. It is a very simple yet effective in treating your heel pain. Although you can actually use different materials for hot and cold treatment, water seems to be the easiest and most economical.
Hot treatment promotes blood flow in order for a better blood circulation within the feet. Cold treatment calms the inflammation and swelling, thus resulting in a pleasant feeling.
To utilise this method, you need one bucket of hot water (preferably 50 – 60 degree) and one bucket of cold water (water with ice). You first soak your feet in hot water for 3 minutes. Then, you dip your feet in cold water for at least 10 seconds up to 1 minute. Repeat it, hot water then cold water, 2 or 3 times and end with cold foot bath.
You can add some materials to the hot water bucket for better effects. These can be vinegar or clove oil but the most well-known is Epsom Salt. Epsom salt can help soothe your feet, giving you instant relief from foot pain.
9. Kitchen tonic for heel pain
This is an extremely good remedy to your sore heel. The receipt contains fenugreek seeds, carom seeds and onion seeds; all are grinded and mixed into a fine powder.
Take 1 tablespoon of this powder every morning and bring your heel the contentment.
Similar to any other healthy types of food, this helpful powder will not give you any fast effects. However, after having it for some months, you can compare your heel’s performance to itself now. I guarantee that you will see a huge improvement.
The pain will be soothed away or at least it will not come frequently and severely.
I hope you have found some good tips to try on. Many people have already tested those and they confirmed that the tips work.
I strongly advise you to try multiple tips at once to see which will suit you the most. If you love them all then consider doing them all. They all benefit.