Heel pain is seen as a very common foot problem that can interfere with your normal day to day activities. Pain may be felt on the bottom of the heel area , just behind the heel or even in the arch of the foot .Often, this type of pain comes on the gradual basis and is usually worsens in the morning upon the arising. Wearing the flat shoes also have been found to trigger this form of pain.
Understanding Heel Pain
Injuries, the sprains, fractures, the pinched nerves, and the regular wear and tear on the heel pad are common causes of the heel pain. Accidently the pounding of the foot on a hard surface, being overweight or even wearing poorly fitting shoes can also cause it to escalate.
Causes of Heel Pain
It may also be due to the several medical conditions, including the following:
- Achilles tendinitis,
- heel spurs,
- plantar fasciitis,
- tarsal tunnel syndrome, and
Those suffering from the heel pain are aware of the intensity of the pain and the discomfort that can come with it. However, it is rarely a form of health threat.
You can use some of the home remedies and incorporate certain amounts of the lifestyle changes to ease your symptoms. If your heel pain becomes too severe and you have difficulty even in taking a step, consult your doctor or even book an appointment with the podiatrist.
Applying the ice to the heel in a cold compress is one the best ways to actually relieve the heel pain naturally. The cold temperature has a sort of a numbing effect that controls the pain and inflammation. Furthermore, the ice is effective in reducing the pain associated with the foot tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and even a bone spur.
- Make a cold compress by putting some amounts of the crushed ice in a plastic bag, then wrapping it in a thin form of a cotton towel.
- Apply this pack on the painful area for about say 15 minutes.
- Repeat it for a few times a day or as may be needed.
- Another option is to freeze a bottle of the water and then roll it over the painful area for say 10 to 15 minutes.
- Repeat as needed.
Note: Never apply the ice directly on the skin, as it can cause the frostbite.
Massage is also another simple, natural treatment for the heel pain. While it is not a long-term treatment option, it provides for the quick relief from pain. Massage also will relax the muscles, release the form of pressure, reduce the stiffness and even improve blood circulation.
You can massage your painful heel any time of the day, and it is recommended that you do it particularly before going for a run, after exercising and also before going to bed. For massaging, you can use any kind of the oil, such as the olive, coconut, sesame or even the mustard oil.
- Apply some of the warm oil of your choice on the place or the affected area.
- Using both of your thumbs, gently apply the pressure on the painful area for say a few minutes.
- Massage the sole of your foot for about 10 minutes.
- Repeat a few times daily until the pain absolutely subsides.
- You can do the massage yourself or could even get the help from an expert.
In many cases, the stretching exercises can help reduce the pain and also can help to promote quick recovery. It even strengthens the muscles and the tendons in your foot to prevent any further pain.
One of the best stretching exercises for the heel pain is known to be the "standing wall stretch".
- Stand barefoot several feet away from and by facing a wall.
- Using both your hands together, press into the wall.
- Placing one of the foot forward, then slowly lean and feel the stretch along the back of your leg and the heel.
- Hold this position for about nearly 30 seconds.
- Switch the sides and then repeat.
- Do it for about 10 times on each side to get the relief from the heel pain.
Epsom Salt Soak
An Epsom salt soak can also bring the instant relief from the heel pain. The magnesium sulfate crystals helps to reduce the pain, swelling and also the inflammation. Furthermore, the heat of the warm water also promotes relaxation.
- Mix about 3 tablespoons of the Epsom salt in a tub of the warm water.
- Soak your foot in it for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Pat dry your foot and then apply some moisturizer.
- Gently massage your heel for about 5 minutes.
- Repeat 2 or even 3 times a week until the pain is actually gone completely.
When it comes to the natural treatment for pain, the turmeric is an excellent remedy. Curcumin, a component in the turmeric, works as a potent painkiller and also an anti-inflammatory agent.
I read a 2009 study which was published in The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology and this basically highlights the anti-inflammatory and the pain-relieving properties of turmeric.
- Put about 1 cup of milk and about 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a pot.
- Simmer it on low heat for say 5 minutes.
- Add a little bit of the raw honey.
- Drink it 2 or even for 3 times daily to ease pain.
- You can also opt to take a turmeric supplement of the 400 to 600 mg, 3 times a day.
However, you should always consult your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.
- If you have the heel pain due to the arthritis or a bone spur, then the fish oil is a good treatment option. Being rich in the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, the fish oil helps reduces the pain. It even helps reduce the muscle stiffness.
- A 2006 study which I read as published in Surgical Neurology concluded that the omega-3 essential fatty acid appears to be a lot better and safer alternative to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for treating the arthritis pain.
- Take up to around 3 grams of fish oil containing at least say 30 percent of the EPA/DHA twice daily. However, it is recommended to always consult your doctor first.
Note: People taking the blood-thinning or the diabetes medication should not take the fish oil supplements.
If your heel pain is caused by some kind of the muscle strain, try the ginger as a natural treatment. A 2010 study that I read and which was published in the Journal of Pain found that the ginger reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise.
Ginger contains the much needed anti-inflammatory and the pain-relieving properties that can help combat pain and also the inflammation. Its potent compounds called the gingerols prevent the production of the pain-triggering hormones. Plus, it also improves the blood circulation throughout the body.
You can use any one of these remedies:
- Drink ginger tea up to 3 times a day or even you could include the raw ginger in your cooking.
- To make the tea, boil about 1 or 11/2 cup of water, add around 5 or 6 ginger slices in it and then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
- To improve its taste as well as the health benefits, you can also add a little bit of the lemon juice and the raw honey in your ginger tea.
- Take 1 or even 2, 500-mg ginger supplements 3 or even 4 times daily, but you should only take this after consulting your doctor.
- Massage the painful area with the ginger oil for a few times daily.
Apple Cider Vinegar Wrap
Another effective treatment is an apple cider vinegar wrap. It has the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that work as an easy and also effective pain management regimen.
- Pour about 11/2 cups of the water and about 1/4 cup of the apple cider vinegar into a pan.
- Heat the mixture until it is completely warm.
- Soak a clean washcloth in it and then wring out the excess liquid.
- Place the washcloth on the painful area and don't forget to cover it with a dry towel to retain all the desired heat.
- Leave it on for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Reapply it 2 or 3 times.
- Repeat as and when needed.
The Cayenne pepper is rich in the capsaicin, a compound that has the natural pain-relieving properties. It can ease the heel pain as well as the muscle strain, the joint pain and even the lumbar pain.
- Mix about 1 tablespoon of the cayenne pepper in the 1/4 cup of the warm olive oil. Apply it on the painful area and then allow it to sit for about 15 minutes.
- Rinse it off with the warm water.
- Repeat it for 2 or 3 times daily until the pain is gone.
- Alternatively, you can use an over-the-counter pain-relieving cream containing the capsaicin.
- Use the cream as has been directed.
The Balanced Alkaline Diet
- Another good way to reduce the pain and improve your overall health is to eat a good and well-balanced alkaline diet.
- Alkaline foods helps to maintain a proper pH level in the body, which in turn reduces any form of the inflammation.
- It even reduce the calcium buildup, one of the main causes of the heel spurs.
- Include more and more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Mix the juice of the 1/2 freshly cut lemon in a cup of water and then drink it daily to boost alkalinity.
- Instead of the regular table salt, use the pink sea salt, also called the pink Himalayan sea salt.
- Drink 3 or even 4 cups of green tea daily.
- Avoid excessive intake of the calcium-rich foods, especially the dairy products.
- Limit intake of the animal-based foods, sugar, the processed foods, the varied caffeinated drinks, alcohol and even the refined grains.
- When experiencing the pain, rest your heels as much as is possible.
- Cut down on the extended physical activities for a while to give your heel the much required rest.
- Avoid going barefoot, as it will put the undue strain and the excessive stress on your heels.
- Always wear the shoes that fit properly.
- If needed, use the heel lifts and the shoe inserts.
- If needed, wear a night splint, a special form of a device that stretches the foot while you are asleep.
- If you are in the overweight category, you must try to lose weight gradually.
- Always stretch your muscles before going for exercising.
- Rest when you feel too tired or if your muscles start to ache while exercising.
Apart from the aforementioned remedies you could also go for these homeopathic remedies that are recommended by many doctors. Some of these are listed below, but before consuming them always take the opinion of your doctor :