Every step we take, we put all our weight on our feet. This is a lot of stress day in and day out. This can push our feet to its limits. The most common problem on the ankle and foot is heel pain. Oftentimes, the pain goes away on its own without treatment. But if you keep continuing with the activity that causes it, it may turn into a chronic problem. To effectively treat heel pain, we have to know what is causing it.
Common Causes of Heel Pain
The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the band of tissue that attaches to your heel and your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. This can get inflamed, swollen and painful due to a variety of reasons, including: weight gain, trauma to the foot, sudden increase in weight bearing activity such as prolonged standing, walking or running, improper footwear or worn out shoes, flat feet or high arch and tightness in the calf muscle. A characteristic symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel especially the first few steps when they get out of bed or from prolonged sitting. The pain subsides a little as you continue to walk but can increase again when you walk or stand too much.
Another cause of heel pain is heel spur. A heel spur is calcium deposit on the heel bone which can cause pain with pressure. The spur can be caused by chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia which is attached to the heel bone or repeated trauma to the area over a long period of time causing bone to form in the area. X-rays are needed to see the bony protrusion. Heel spurs are common among people who does a lot of running and jumping.
Home Remedies For Heel Pain
Treatment for the two common causes of heel pain is very similar. Because of the close proximity of the structures, inflammation in one area can cause the other problem to arise. Treatment includes:
- Rest. Cut back on the activities that puts stress on your feet. This will give the body a chance to heal some of the inflammation.
- Ice. Putting ice or cold packs on the heel and foot area can help decrease the inflammation and pain.
- Splinting. Wearing a splint to sleep at night puts the foot in a neutral position and the plantar fascia in a stretched position. This has been found to be effective for mild to moderate plantar fasciitis.
- Proper footwear. Wearing shoes that give you a good arch support and soft cushion especially at the heel part can make walking or running more tolerable. It can also prevent further inflammation in the area caused by repeated stress from bring on your feet. If your shoes do not give you the proper support, you can use inserts instead. Arch support and heel pad are helpful.
- Stretching. Stretching the calf and plantar fascia several times a day especially in the morning. This can greatly decrease the pain that you feel when you first step in the morning.
- Standing Plantar Fascia Stretch– Stand with foot against the wall and the toes pointing straight up and slowly lower your foot to the ground maintaining toes pointing up. Bring your hips towards the wall until you feel the stretch in the bottom of the foot. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- Standing Calf Stretch– While standing and leaning against a wall, place one foot back behind you and bend the front knee until a gentle stretch is felt on the back of the lower leg. Your back knee should be straight the entire time. Keep both heels flat on the floor. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- Strengthening. Do marble pick-up or towel curls to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot thereby supporting the plantar fascia. This can help make the foot more stable.
- Marble pick-up– Sit with your feet flat in front of you. Place 20 marbles on the floor. Use your toes to pick up the marbles and place into a bowl. Repeat until you have picked up all the marbles.
- Towel curls– Sit with your feet flat in front of you. Place a small towel on the floor. Grab the center of the towel with your toes and curl the towel towards you. Repeat until you reach the end of the towel.
- Soft tissue mobilization. A simple way you can do soft tissue mobilization yourself is by using a tennis ball or golf ball and roll it under your foot. You can vary the pressure by adjusting the weight you put on that foot. This will help realign the scar tissue fibers on the healing plantar fascia.
Treatment For Heel Pain
If the above home remedies are not enough to correct your heel pain, Don’t Worry! We can design a specialized program that has shown great results at relieving your heel pain quickly. This program can consist of using different modalities including the revolutionary Laser treatment, manual therapy techniques and exercises. Call Restore Plus today for more information or to schedule an appointment! (800) 905-0513.
Restore Plus Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation
33-10 Queens Blvd. Suite 301
Long Island City, NY 11101