Heal Your Heel
Heel pain is a very common ailment that podiatrists treat on a day-to-day basis. It can be really debilitating and affect your everyday life. Although not always the case, more often than not the plantar fascia is the culprit with a condition called plantar fasciitis. Often the pain can be simply addressed by some home simple interventions.
Top tips for treating heel pain:
1. Self-massage – keep a golf ball close by as a cheap, effective massage tool to provide comfort and relief throughout the day. Use it while sitting at your desk or when taking a quick break by rolling it beneath the affected foot applying steady pressure. A rolling pin or tennis ball can also be quite useful when rolling the affected heel on it.
2. Orthotics – custom orthotics are not necessarily required for plantar fasciitis. An off the shelf insole with a firm arch to support the plantar fascia can do wonders if you’re on your feet all day.
3. Heel raises –simple heel raises to your running and work shoes relieves tension from the plantar fascia and can be a good temporary measure to allow the fascia to heal. Remember that if you do use them, you need them in both shoes so that you do not affect alignment and cause other issues such as back pain.
4. Icing – get creative with a small round water bottle. It is the perfect shape when frozen to apply pressure and ice to the arch of your foot and is a fast way to relieve inflammation. Do not apply it directly to your skin but first wrap the bottle in a towel and then roll the bottom of your foot on it for at least 10mins twice a day.
5. Shoes – wear shoes that provide good arch support and shock absorption. Try wearing shoes that are not too flexible while the foot is painful, as this will cause more strain on the plantar fascia.
6. Relative rest – although being off your feet is not an option for most of us, avoiding long periods of standing, high-impact sports or activities that requires repetitive “push-off” action is recommended to allow the inflamed structures to rest.
7. Stretch the fascia – Prop your toes up against a wall, keeping your arch and heel flat so that the toes stretch. Hold in this position for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times three times per day.
8. Night splint – a night splint can be very handy. It is a device that hold the ankle at 90 during the night when sleeping so that the plantar fascia is not allowed to tighten up when sleeping. It has proved time again to be very effective in treating heel pain.
It is important to note that there are many different other causes of heel pain and if it is persistent, further investigation and diagnosis by a podiatrist is recommended.
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