Do you currently or have you ever suffered from heel pain? Whether it is sore first thing getting out of bed in the morning or up after rest, aching at the end of the day, or throbbing late at night, it’s a very unpleasant condition to suffer with.
Yet most people put up with the condition for months, if not years thinking it will go away. Is it because some days aren’t as bad as others, or when you get up and get going it settles down? Whatever the reason heel pain is usually a complex condition and must be treated so accordingly.
We encourage those who are suffering from debilitating heel pain to see a podiatrist for a thorough assessment, advice and treatment regarding their condition. Before you make an appointment have a read through our 5 Steps to relieve Heel pain list and follow it to start feeling improvements in that ongoing debilitating heel pain.
1. Change Your Footwear
Heel pain can occur due to many reasons but most commonly the biggest factor is the shoes that you wear on a daily basis. You average around 10,000 steps a day and the majority of shoes that are worn place the feet in an unfavourable position resulting in abnormal loading on structures within the feet. We recommend supportive and accommodative shoes in the first month of treatment to reduce load and stress on the feet.
Icing the affected area is helpful in the early stages (first week of heel pain) but only at night. This helps reduce the swelling and resultant pain around the site while you rest and sleep. When the condition is chronic, heat should be applied regularly to the area. Heat promotes blood flow to the area which brings the appropriate nutrients to the site. It also helps with the removal of toxins within the area which assists with allowing the injury to heal.
3. Calf Stretching
Calf stretching is one of the easiest and most important exercises to do at home to help relieve tension on the heel. Tightness in your calf muscles results in a shorter stride and an increase in load being placed on the foot. This is why your heel pain sometimes feels better when you wear shoes with a raised heel as they reduce this tension. Continuing to wear these shoes, although comfortable doesn’t fix the underlying problem, which is the tightness in the calf muscle and so heel pain will not resolve. The calf muscles need to be stretched for a minimum of 3 minutes at a time for the stretch to be effective.
Massage is one of the most effective ways in reducing that first step pain you experience when getting out of the bed in the morning or up after rest. Massage of the heel and foot can be performed in a variety of ways with a ball, your thumb, a dowel stick or even with spanner in the morning and throughout the day. Perform after applying heat for best results.
5. Foot Mobilisation, Proprioception and Then Strength.
As the human race has evolved we have been made to wear shoes that don’t fit our feet more, sit down at desks more and walk on harder surfaces more. We have naturally adapted which has resulted in weakness and misalignment in the feet and throughout the body. As a consequence we are more prone to injuries and discomfort. By encouraging the body to function in it’s natural position along with making it strong we can properly rehabilitate from injury and prevent any recurrence. Simple foot movements and a structured exercise program are greatly beneficial in reducing heel pain and strengthening the feet.
If you would like more advice on relief from heel pain, please contact us for more information on 9753 6222