What is Heel Pain?
Heel pain affects thousands of Americans every day. In fact it is the most common condition treated by orthopedic surgeons and podiatrists in the US. Heel pain can make it impossible for you to do even basic tasks like walking or playing sports. In this article, we reveal the symptoms, causes and treatments for heel pain and how to prevent its re-occurrence.
Symptoms of Heel Pain
- There is sharp pain in the heel when you apply body weight on it.
- This pain is more pronounced after taking rest and getting up in the morning.
- The stabbing pain reduces with walking and becomes duller gradually.
Causes of Heel Pain
- Stress fracture
- Paget’s disease
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Plantar fascia inflammation
- Over-pronation of foot
Treatment for Heel Pain
The first step is to provide complete rest to the aching heel by refraining from activities like prolonged walking, running or jogging. You can also apply an ice pack on the heel. Take over-the-counter medications to relieve inflammation and pain. Effective self-treatment can be enough to heal heel pain and you need not take recourse to expensive treatments like surgery.
Self-treatment for Heel Pain
Stretch the Plantar Fascia
Stretch the painful heel up and down for a few seconds, and repeat it for four times. You can also roll your heel on a tennis ball or rolling pin to stretch the plantar fascia. Then, gently massage the affected heel to get relief from pain.
Hot and Cold Therapy
You can dip your heels in tubs of hot and cold water alternately. Another option is to apply hot and cold gel packs alternately on the affected heel. Roll the heel on a cold can or bottle to improve the flexibility of the plantar fascia and relieve inflammation.
You can use padded splints while sleeping at night to ensure the plantar fascia is flexed. This will prevent it from tightening and causing more pain.
Tape the painful heel to relieve stress and ease the pain. You can leave the tape on overnight to gradually cure the heel pain.
Medications for Heel Pain
You can take aspirin and ibuprofen for temporary relief. Cortisone injections can also be effective, but may cause some side effects. Ensure to get permission from your doctor before you take any medications to relieve heel pain.
Orthotics to Relieve Heel Pain
Orthotic inserts inside the shoes can effectively correct over-pronation and provide relief. Orthotic devices help to release tension and stress on the plantar fascia. They help to distribute body weight evenly on the foot so that less weight is placed on the painful heel.
For more information on heel pain and how to treat it, please watch this video: