Do you feel pain every time you put a bit of pressure on your heel? Has walking become a painful and taxing ordeal? Heel pain can be quite painful and irritating at the same time.
Pain in heels is quite common and might occur at different locations around the heel area.
You can do a personal examination at home but certainly, a professional diagnosis is recommended to find out what might be causing the pain and treat it accordingly.
We will first explore the major causes of heel discomfort.
Common Causes of Heel Pain
The most common kind of heel pain is caused by Plantar Fasciitis.
It is a common culprit of pain usually on the inside of the foot just below the ankle.
It normally occurs or is worse in the morning or after a period of rest. If you sit down for a while and then get up and your heel hurts, that is plantar fasciitis.
The second common cause of pain is nerve entrapment. This pain is usually worse at night or occurs when you have been walking for a long time and then sit down. Your heel throbs and is painful for a while.
Some people also say it feels like an electric, sharp, or burning pain.
Another common cause of pain in the heel is Achilles tendonitis. This condition occurs when the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed, most often in the morning.
It can be a difficult condition to treat so it’s wise to see a doctor as soon as you experience symptoms.
In the meantime, there are various ways to help relieve the pain.
The first treatment to help alleviate heel discomfort and inflammation is ice therapy.
For this first step, you’re going to need a towel and a frozen bottle of water. Lay the towel on the floor and use the frozen water bottle to roll out your foot in your heel area.
This ice therapy is a great way to get a good stretch as you put pressure on it and have that ice on the heel for that cooling effect.
Your heel might be what’s hurting the most, but it could be plantar fasciitis that is causing the heel pain. Roll out the whole foot to get that plantar fascia too.
Go all the way to the ball of your foot and then back down to the heel.
You can do this for one to three minutes depending on how long the frozen water bottle lasts before it starts melting.
The next best practice is to massage your whole foot, from the heel, plantar fascia, all the way up to the ball of your foot.
A great way to massage your foot area out or mobilize that tissue is to start off pretty gentle just to get that fascia moving around.
You can start in the middle with both thumbs either on bare skin using an oil or with some socks on.
Taking your thumbs, start in the middle and then fan them out as you go. This helps to start loosening up the fascia.
Then, work your way all the way up your foot and down in the heel. You can even do it back behind the heel and the Achilles tendon area.
A foot massage is a great way to get everything loosened up before you really go into some stretching exercises.
Therefore, take about a minute or three to give your foot a good massage focusing on the hurting area.
Runner’s Stretch Exercise
The next way to help relieve heel pain is exercise the runner’s stretch.
This involves stretching the calf and the Achilles tendon area which all come down to that heel.
If you are experiencing pain in the heel, you really want to keep those stretched out.
For a runner’s stretch, you need a chair or a wall or a countertop or something steady to hold on to or push into.
Put the foot that you want to stretch back behind you in a running position.
Make sure your toes are pointing forward, keeping your feet straight not out.
Keep your heel down. If it’s coming up, you won’t get that stretch.
You are going to have your knee bent on the leg in the front.
Once you’re in a good position, you need to bend the front leg knee forward, still trying to keep that heel down the whole time. As soon as you get to the point where you feel a nice stretch, you’re going to hold that for 30 seconds.
Do the runner’s stretch three times on both sides as you alternate back and forth. This will help reduce the pain.
Plantar Fascia Stretch
The last way to help relieve heel pain is a plantar fascia stretch.
The best way to do it is on a step or curve.
You need to step up on the step and then the side that you want to stretch, you’re going to put the ball of your foot right on the edge of the step, and then drop your heel down.
This not only stretches the plantar fascia underneath that might be really tight, it also stretches the Achilles tendon and the calf muscles which are all connected at the heel.
Therefore, if you’re having heel discomfort or heel spurs or plantar fasciitis, this is a great way to stretch that area in the whole foot in general.
Since this is a stretch, you want to hold it for 30 seconds and do it three times on both sides, even if they’re both not hurting.
Using Heel Inserts
Another way to relieve heel pain is by using heel seats in your shoes.
Heel seats or heel inserts are smaller than whole shoe inserts. They focus on the heel and arch, getting your foot in a neutral position.
They also add cushioning for the heel.
Therefore, if you have a lot of pain and irritation on your heel, it acts as a good shock absorber.
Heel inserts also provide some fascia support too. That’s good because you don’t need the whole arch supported. Yet, you want to ease the pressure on an inflamed fascia or if you have plantar fasciitis.
It is very easy to put into the shoe and make sure it is on top of the insert that’s already in the shoe.
Since it’s something different than what you normally have, you want to build your foot up to it.
If you wear it for all day long the very first time, it’s probably going to be a little uncomfortable, so take it slow till your foot gets used to it fully and feels super comfortable.
Look into purchasing the heel seats/inserts to help alleviate heel pain.
You Are on Your Way to Happy Feet
Discussed above are some suggestions to help you if you are suffering from heel pain.
In summary, to best help relieve hurting heel ensure you take as much rest as possible while walking.
Also, massage your feet to loosen up the muscles and release the tension on your heels.
Perform ice therapy, do stretch exercises and also try out products like My Happy Feet to alleviate the pain.
However, if these methods do not seem to work for you, seek medication treatments to treat heel pain.
Use these home remedies only after proper research and guidance. Consult a healthcare professional.
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