5 Ways to Treat Heel Pain

Jan 25, 2022

Are you one of five adults in the U.S. experiencing chronic pain in your back, hip, knee, and foot? If so, we are here to help. At InStride Crystal Coast Podiatry, we see a variety of patients with different types of foot ailments. One of the most common disabling conditions of the foot is heel pain. 

It might strike as a heel spur or as plantar fasciitis, a condition where the thick connective tissue (plantar fascia) running along the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed and tender from overuse. The onset may be triggered by your foot structure and a biomechanical imbalance, a tight Achilles tendon, or by wearing inappropriate shoes for your level of activity. Regardless of the cause, you have probably been advised by family and friends on how to alleviate this pain.  Some forms of physical therapy and or massage therapy are the most common initial treatments. If this does not work, perhaps you have tried RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), acupuncture, shoe inserts, arch supports, or custom orthotics. If none of these interventions have worked for you, have you heard of MLS Laser Therapy?  

Let’s take a look at five treatment options for your heel pain to see what’s best for you.

woman ache feet  in street


One of the most popular treatments for heel pain is RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) because it is easy to do at home. As it implies, reduce your activity level and discontinue your vigorous exercise running or walking routine until the pain resolves.  Keep the foot elevated as much as possible and ice the heel three to four times a day for 30 minutes at a time for the first 48 hours. After 48 hours use a combination of heat and ice (contrast bath therapy) at the end of the day. When you are not icing, use a fascial sleeve or a compression sock to reduce swelling and improve circulation.  This combination will reduce inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament and Achilles Tendon. 

Custom Orthotics

If RICE is not resolving your heel pain, you may want to investigate custom-made foot orthotics. These special shoe inserts are made on a case-by-case basis.  They are designed to provide optimal support for your foot and to correct any biomechanical faults. These devices are prescribed to address the cause of your specific heel pain, reduce pressure points on and around the heel, and provide ample support for the rest of your foot. Custom orthotics should help alleviate heel pain if your plantar fasciitis is due to high arches or flat feet.

Heat Therapy

Patients with chronic heel pain find heat therapy is more beneficial than ice in reducing their symptoms. Like RICE, it is effective, affordable, and easy to apply in the privacy of your own home. All you need is an electric or microwaveable heating pad to create a warm consistent temperature to dilate the blood vessels. While this is a common method for treating plantar fasciitis, heat should only be used if you are experiencing a deep dull aching pain and not a throbbing pain.  The later form of pain is better addressed with a contrast bath.

Supportive Shoes

For the long-term care of heel pain, patients find switching from an old pair of shoes to a new running or orthopedic style shoe alleviates pain. There are a wide variety of supportive and running shoes on the market, it helps if you have someone with experience and knowledge to assist you in making this decision.  Work with a professional to choose the right shoe for your foot shape and structure to make sure you get the appropriate arch support and cushion for the heel area.  Most patients will notice a dramatic decrease in their heel pain when they consistently wear a good supportive shoe with adequate heel cushion.

MLS Laser Therapy

One of the newest therapies for heel pain is MLS Laser Therapy. Short for “Multi-Wave Lock System”, MLS is a patented technology that can resolve your heel pain without surgical intervention. This FDA-approved Class IV technology utilizes a combination of dual wavelengths with continuous and pulsed emissions that are synchronized to work together. These lasers penetrate 3-4 cm deep into the body tissues, without generating heat. This unique feature provides more accurate therapeutic dose delivery, and our patients see consistent and repeatable results. With high levels of safety and consistency, MLS Laser Therapy has an 85% – 90% efficacy rate in relieving pain and inflammation. 

Heal Your Heel Pain Today​

At InStride Crystal Coast Podiatry, we urge you to make an appointment for your heel pain. We’ve found that in more than 9 out of 10 cases, Dr. Bobrowski can resolve your heel pain issues without surgical intervention. Your foot is an incredibly important structure that needs to be well cared for. There are many options to choose from in this area and Dr. Bobrowski will devise and offer an effective and comprehensive treatment plan for your particular heel pain. Request an appointment at our New Bern office today by calling (252) 638-4700, or connecting with us online.