Heel pain getting you down? Try these home remedies

Heel pain, or plantar fasciitis, is usually the result of an inflamed or irritated plantar fascia ligament. This important ligament connects your heel with the rest of your foot and acts as a shock absorber – cushioning your heel every step you take.

Stress, injury, or overworking your plantar fascia can result in soreness and stabbing pains, especially when you first stand up in the morning.

The effects of plantar fasciitis can be wide-reaching, impacting your everyday life and routine and causing pain and discomfort.

If you’re tired of limping around, or just sick of the pain, try these simple home remedies.

Rest

If you’re playing sports regularly, or find yourself running around a lot for your job – it could be that your heels need some rest. And it almost goes without saying, but resting your feet, or at least giving the affected heel some time off from the daily grind, is worth every minute. By resting your heel, you give the ligament time to repair itself before applying any further pressure.

Apply ice

If you’re finding that swelling is increasing, applying an ice pack to the affected heel can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. If you find the ice pack is too cold, wrap it in a cloth and apply it for 10 minutes a few times daily until you notice the swelling subside. You can also use a frozen water bottle and roll your foot over the top of it in the affected area until you start to feel some relief.

Massage

A foot massage, apart from being utterly delightful, can also be a great help if you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis. You can use your thumbs, or take a spiky ball or any other small ball you can find lying around that will fit under your foot and move your foot over it to massage the arches.

Do light stretches 

Stretching your feet out is a great way of relieving pain and allowing your feet to relax. Tight foot muscles can exacerbate inflammation, making your symptoms to worse. Make sure you take it slow and seek advice from your physiotherapist, who can assign you targeted stretches to help ease swelling and pain.

Change/upgrade your footwear

If you find that symptoms are slightly worse at the end of the day, it could be time to have a look at what shoes you’re wearing and whether they’re providing enough support.

Old sports shoes that are worn down or high heels that put your arch under pressure should be avoided and replaced with more comfortable, supportive footwear. If you start to notice tears, worn down soles, or you begin to get blisters, make sure you replace your shoes as soon as possible.

Try shoe inserts

If you’re sporting a pair of brand new kicks, but are still suffering from plantar fasciitis symptoms, you might want to consider heel cup shoe inserts. These soft pads sit under your heel in the shoe to mimic the cushioning effect the plantar fascia has on your foot. If you’ve got particularly high arches you might find this can help. Speak to your physiotherapist about getting access to shoe inserts.

Use a night splint

A night splint can help people suffering from plantar fasciitis by mechanically stretching your calf and foot muscles while you’re asleep. For anyone who has been suffering for more than a  few months, this treatment can be very effective at calming the ligaments and other soft tissues over a long period. If deemed necessary, your physiotherapist will be able to help you find the right device and demonstrate how to use it.

Stop walking barefoot for a while

It may seem tempting, perhaps almost intuitive, to lose the shoes and start walking barefoot once you start feeling foot and heel pain. But this could be a mistake, as walking barefoot – especially on hard surfaces like slate or marble – can actually worsen plantar fasciitis symptoms and make your recovery time longer.

Watch your diet

Eating a balanced diet and watching your weight can also help long-term with plantar fasciitis. Extra weight on the body can put pressure on the heel, worsening symptoms. Therefore, losing weight can prove very helpful for anyone wanting to ease the pain.

Pain won’t budge? Visit a Physio

Plantar fasciitis can quickly become debilitating, painful and can throw your routine out of whack. Getting ahead of the symptoms early is best. And if you can manage to stave off the worst by using the above methods, then keep up the good work.

However, if symptoms persist or you notice the pain worsening, it’s a good idea for you to visit a physiotherapist for plantar fasciitis treatment.

A qualified physiotherapist will be able to create a personalised treatment plan that suits your lifestyle and needs. Don’t wait for symptoms to worsen – get in contact with your local Perth Physio today.