Heel pain or plantar fascia can occur due to a number of reasons-arthritis, neurological, infectious, autoimmune, and other systemic conditions could trigger it. The best thing to do is get complete diagnostic tests run for it. In addition, you can use the following home remedies to treat heel pain at home.
1. Reduce wear and tear of the heels
Heel pain could occur due to wear and tear of the foot and heel area. If possible, determine the heel pain cause- could it be improper footwear, poor posture, or excess activity that is causing it? If yes, stop the activity immediately. Sometimes, heel pain can stop as suddenly as it came on. Resting the foot is the best thing you can do in such a case.
2. Wear protective shoes
It is very important to use the right shoes that provide comfort to the bottom of the heel. If you are experiencing pain in only left or right heel, then very likely the cause is improper footwear. If needed, change your shoes. Try on different shoes and walk in them before you purchase them. Avoid very loose shoes since your feet will automatically try and over the gap caused while walking. Also, you must use proper shoes for gym, sports, walking or other activities. Typically sports shoes or sneakers from good companies can help. These are designed to reduce pressure off your feet when you indulge in activities like cycling, spinning etc.
3. Do not walk barefoot
Heel pain is more common in people who walk barefoot. Sharp stones, rocks or other objects could cause trauma to the heel causing the pain. You must also get special shoes or slippers for home use. Look for padded, soft rubber shoes or slippers and if needed, use socks indoors. This is the best and easiest heel pain treatment to implement as part of your home remedies.
4. Use cushioning supports and shoe inserts
Cushion supports and inserts can prevent worsening of the heel pain. You must use heel cushion support on hardwood floors, in the bathroom, in tubs and showers etc. You could even use heel cups or arch supports that are readily available in the market.
5. Wear a heel splint at night
A heel splint or brace is readily available in the market and you must especially use it at night to brace the foot. These can prevent swelling and inflammation of the heel and provide you with much needed comfort if the pain is not letting you sleep.
6. Ice the pain away
The big chill can reduce swelling and is the best heel pain treatment for instant relief. Wrap the ice in a thin cloth and apply gentle pressure on the affected heel. Make sure you ice for at least 15 minutes. Repeat application of this cold compress every 2 hours. This is a great heel pain remedy for athletes experiencing heel pain.
7. Stretch the calf muscles
Weak calf muscles can sometimes lead to unnecessary pressure on the heels. So do exercise these muscles by doing some lunges, seated calf muscle-stretch etc. Calf flexibility is an invaluable tool to get rid of heel pain at home.
8. Stretch arches and hamstrings
Any kind of pain indicates weakness in the associated muscles. Stretching the arches and hamstrings can relieve pressure from the heel area. Stretching the arches of the feet can also make them limber and flexible. Hamstring stretches can also be done in two ways- the modified hamstring stretch and supine hamstring stretch. The figures below show you how to do these stretches to stop heel pain naturally.
9. Relieve morning stiffness
The main reason for pain in the heel in the morning is stiffness that comes on during the night. Wearing a heel brace or splint can help; additionally, you must do some stretching in the morning to reduce inflexibility of the heel. Sit on the bed and do some feet rotations, stretches of the calf muscles etc. This will make a huge difference in heel pain levels through the day.
10. Take up cycling or swimming
Cycling is one of the best exercises you can take up for eliminating heel pain. The movements in this exercise are concentrated upon the arch of the feet and strengthen the ligaments and muscles to relieve heel pain. The same is true with swimming. The water provides gentle resistance to the feet and strengthens the muscles of the calves and the arches.
11. Go easy on the walking
Walking is a great exercise but for people with heel pain, it is extremely important to do it right. Use good posture and form when walking. You will also need to vary the intensity and duration of walking. Keep a diary: on the days you walk more, does the heel pain increase or decrease? Also, does brisk walking aggravate the pain or reduce it? All these answers can help you modify your exercise accordingly.
12. Stay hydrated
There is a deep connection between the amount of water you drink and inflammation. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily to heal the body from the inside. Sensible hydration has also been recommended as a part of the heel treatment in Ayurveda-the ancient Indian medicine.
13. Eat ghee
This is another of the heel pain treatment as recommended in Ayurveda. Ghee is clarified butter which you can easily make at home by boiling organic, grass fed butter. The heating process separates the water and the residue left behind is the ghee. Eat a teaspoon of ghee daily to keep joints flexible, prevent arthritis and reduce inflammation.
Therapeutic massage can help relieve foot and heel pain caused by trauma. Warm up some coconut oil or olive oil. Use sterile cotton wool to apply the oil on the heel. Apply gentle pressure and use circular motion on the heels to alleviate the pain. Repeat this self massage twice-once in the morning upon waking up and again at night. You can also get foot massage done at a spa or salon. Reflexology massage can help reduce heel pain and also benefit your body in numerous other ways. You can also buy the heel balls or use filled water bottles to roll under the foot and massage the pain away.
15. Sleep with your feet elevated
This is the best thing you can do when experiencing pain of any sort. Elevate the part having the pain especially while sleeping and see the difference it makes to the pain’s intensity. This is a great remedy for preventing heel pain in the morning.
16. Avoid dangerous surfaces
People prone to heel pain should stay away from icy surfaces, sharp rocky, mountainous terrain, uneven, slippery surfaces or even hard concrete areas. These tend to add up to the cumulative stress on the heel aggravating the pain.
17. Eat right
Consume plenty of antioxidants to fight free radical damage and inflammation. Avoid refined foods, sugar as well as food rich in saturated fats. Eat plenty of organic fruits, vegetables and greens.
18. Reduce weight
Obesity is a leading cause of heel pain. Know your BMI and make efforts to lose weight slowly and steadily. Exercise daily.
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19. Avoid jumping back into activity after the pain reduces
Start slowly instead of rushing into strenuous exercise as it could bring the pain back. Proceed with caution but do continue the exercises that bring relief.
20. Use the power of the mind
Positive visualization and affirmations do help in healing. So meditate and focus on feeling better. Think about healing and healthy thoughts instead of thoughts about what you cannot control. Also try to reduce stress through mind body practices since stress is the leading cause of all kinds of pain and inflammation.
Use these 20 home remedies to get to the bottom of heel pain.