Heel soreness can result from a number of different factors, including improperly fitted shoes, overdoing sports and exercise, or lack of flexibility in the foot muscles. The most common cause of heel soreness is plantar fasciitis, or heel spurs. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the connective tissue that stretches from the heel, through the arch of the foot, to the toes. As a result of severe trauma or injury, the foot stretches unnaturally and develops small tears that result in inflammation of one or more of the ligaments.
Things You'll Need
- Heel seats and arch supports
- Ice or gel packs
- Wooden floor roller
- Footwear with adequate heel support
Causes and Treatment for Heel Pain
Visit a podiatrist if your heel soreness is severe. She can rule out more serious conditions that could be causing the pain such as sciatica, lower back nerve or disc compression, IBS, Reiter's disease, ankylosing spondylitis, calcaneal stress fracture, lateral plantar nerve or arthritis.
Use heel seats and arch supports in your footwear. Heel seats provide structural support to the foot and relieve the pain while your feet heal. Arch supports are foot wraps that support weak arches and offers excellent shock absorption
Ice your heel every 15 minutes with 10-minute breaks, and then repeat, up to twice daily. Other options that work equally well are a gel pack or even a frozen bag of vegetables. Apply to the painful heel following the same regimen.
Do calf-stretching exercises. This helps to reduce the backward pull on the heel bone and effectively reduces heel pain. To strengthen the muscles in your arch, perform toe curls three times in succession by placing a towel on the floor, and then curling the toes and pulling the towel toward you.
Massage your foot with a simple wooden foot roller designed to help stretch your foot and relieve heel pain.
Tips & Warnings
- Wear footwear designed to give adequate heel support. Avoid and replace any shoe that bends before the ball of the foot or in the center of the arch, since such poorly designed footwear will further stress your foot.
- Don't wear flip flops, open-back shoes or sandals that are open in the back without a place to attach your heels for proper support.
- Anti-inflammatory creams such as Mineral Ice and arnica rubbed directly into the heel can provide long-lasting relief from heel soreness and pain.
- Try alternative treatments such as acupuncture and magnet therapy for heel pain.
- Physical therapy has a high 98% success rate in treating heel pain
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