Heel pain is the type of problem that makes you want to stay in.
Perhaps it’s the dread of your feet hitting the floor when you get up in the morning.
Maybe you start your day at work and just know your heels will be aching and throbbing by the time you get home.
Or perhaps those jogs you used to love taking make you wince at the thought, knowing that you risk retribution in the form of sharp, shooting pain afterward.
Whatever your reasons for fearing heel pain, there are ways you can help yourself find comfort and relief—many of which can be performed right at home!
Before we go into it, though, we should make an important note: a lot of the things you can do at home can help you find relief from current pain or even make future pain less likely or less severe. If you have had heel pain for a while now, though, you will likely need help to find a more permanent solution.
So please do give these methods a try, but give us a call if you need more help!
Ice is a classic go-to for pain relief, and it can be effective in cases of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and other forms of heel pain, too!
Use a cloth-covered ice pack against the focus of your pain for 15-20 minutes, up to 4 times per day. Do not apply ice for any longer than this time and adjust the covering of the ice pack if you feel pain against the surface of your skin from the cold.
Now, an ice pack is a good staple to have, but we can get even more resourceful! Fill a Styrofoam cup with water (but not all the way!) and set it in your freezer. Once it’s frozen solid, take it out and roll the underside of your foot along it for up to 7 minutes. Now it’s ice with a bit of massage!
(If you are worried about meltwater getting on anything, you can achieve similar results with a frozen water bottle with a cap. We feel the Styrofoam feels better against the foot, though.)
Stretching before you know you might have pain is often a helpful way to reduce its impact.
If you have plantar fasciitis, much of the pain in the morning or after you’ve spent a long time inactive comes from how the soft tissue and surrounding muscles have become taut. Getting into a stretching regimen can help these areas warm up more easily and effectively.
Here’s a stretch you can do right in bed, but seated in a chair also works! You’ll want an exercise strap on your nightstand to prepare for it, but a towel folded lengthwise will also work (wasn’t there a book about how useful towels are?).
While lying down or seated, place the strap or towel beneath the arches of both feet. With an end of the strap in each hand, gently and carefully pull the tops of your feet toward you. Hold this for 15-30 seconds (based on your comfort level), then release. Repeat three times.
A second type of stretch will definitely require use of a chair.
First, cross one leg over the other. Grab your big toe and pull it gently toward you, similar to how the strap is used to pull back on the upper halves of your feet. Hold this as well for 15-30 seconds. Repeat three times, then perform again with the opposite foot.
A third stretch focuses on your calf muscles, which connect to the back of your heel bone. You will need a wall for this one, but we’re sure there are at least 4 available to you.
This exercise is a bit more complicated than the previous two, but it’s well worth it—especially if you are planning to run or move a lot.
A few small changes at home can make some additional difference to the comfort of your heels.
Putting your feet up whenever it’s proper to can help relieve pain and potential swelling in the long run. If you do stand or stoop somewhere for a good amount of time (at the sink, for example, or in the garage), placing a soft rug or mat where you plant your feet can help absorb extra shock.
As we note earlier, however, these plans can be helpful, but they might not be enough.
If you have suffered from heel pain for an extended period of time, a full solution might involve a combination of these steps, as well as additional help. Treatments such as custom orthotics have proven very effective. For some chronic soft tissue injuries, PRP injections or other therapies might the best route for taking care of a problem for good.
Ankle & Foot Specialist of N.J. has many years’ experience in helping patients manage and eliminate their heel pain. Just give us a call and we’d be happy to help you get to the root of your problem as well!
Also feel free to fill out our online contact form, if preferred, and a member of our staff will reach out to you.