Heel pain is one of the most common ailments in modern society. It has a lot to do with the way our feet are designed and how we use them, but you don’t have to suffer every day of your life just because you’ve developed Achilles tendonitis, heel spurs or plantar fasciitis. You can find the relief you need.
There are a number of steps you can take right now to get yourself on a pathway toward less foot pain, better foot health and better overall health too.
Here are five specific things you can do to ease your heel pain:
1. Be good to yourself for a while if the problem is new.
Icing aching or painful heels usually helps, as does soaking in Epsom salt, staying off your feet for a few days and getting plenty of sleep so your body can find the energy to repair itself. If you can’t stay off your feet completely, at least reduce the amount of time you spend standing. Use a stool, if possible, and rest at every moment possible when you don’t have to be standing. Every little bit of pampering and extra rest helps.
2. Get some moderate exercise if the problem is chronic or recurring.
While rest is great for a newly injured foot, moderate exercise can do more good for chronic or recurring heel pain. Stand, walk around and stretch when you can. As you sit, muscles, ligaments and tendons tighten and become less flexible, leading to increased pain. Light to moderate activity as often as possible can keep you loose, keep the structures in your feet moving and prevent pain and swelling from setting in.
3. Eliminate bad shoes.
One of the most important things to do if you want to eliminate heel pain is to get rid of bad shoes. That means you need for forget wearing flip-flops (try orthopedic sandals instead) and do away with shoes with little or no support. In addition, don’t wear shoes that are too big because this can allow your foot to shift from side to side, creating pain. Shoes that are too small can generate pain from the moment you put them on.
4. Shed a few pounds.
It’s easier said than done, of course, but losing some weight can dramatically improve foot problems. As many as 70 percent of Americans are overweight, so there’s a good chance you could lose a few pounds. When you do, your feet will thank you with less pain because they’ll be subjected to less stress, stain and pressure. And your overall health could improve too, so you get benefits of all sorts.
5. Try good-quality orthotics products.
Skip the drug or discount store and order high-quality shoe insoles, orthotics and other cushioning products to relieve symptoms and help your feet maintain the best possible position when walking and performing athletic activities. Be sure you replace orthotics as often as recommended by the product maker — and wear shoe inserts in all your shoes, even dress shoes.
Heel pain can be a thing of the past when you take these five positive steps toward better foot health.