If circumstances are causing you to spend a lot more time at home than you usually do, you’re certainly not alone. So why is your heel pain persisting—or even starting to bother you for the first time?
You do not have to be running around at work or exercising for heel pain to become a problem. There are a multitude of possible reasons why heel pain can develop, ranging from shoe gear, to abnormalities in foot structure, to overuse. No two cases are exactly the same and finding the best treatment plan for you, involves not only a thorough professional evaluation, but also considers your physical condition, activities, goals, and lifestyle.
If you are living with persistent heel pain, regardless of its severity, this is never normal, and absolutely worth contacting us about! In the meantime, there are a few simple steps you can take at home that may help provide some pain relief. We certainly can’t guarantee that every method below will be effective in every situation, but it’s worth trying.
Keep Your Shoes On
Do we mean inside the house? We do!
You might feel your mother cringing in horror at this advice but bear with us for a moment.
If your previous routine had you spending all day at the office or worksite, odds are you were spending a lot of that time in shoes. If they were good shoes, they were more than likely providing your feet with support and shock absorption throughout the day.
Shifting to more of a barefoot lifestyle, around the house, might sound enticing at first, but your feet may begin to suffer without that added support. If you’re spending time on hardwood floors, the chances rise even higher.
So, give your shoes a good cleaning and try wearing them in the house for at least several hours each day. If that helps your symptoms, it’s a good indication that further and more intentional support may be needed.
Give Yourself Some Rolling Time
Massage can help soothe aching heels, and rolling is an easy way to get some satisfying support underfoot.
A foam roller is effective, but you can also use a soup can, water bottle, golf ball, or tennis ball. As long as it is firm and rolls, it will work!
For an added benefit, if your heel pain has been present for more than three days, give yourself some heat therapy prior to rolling. Use an electric or microwaveable heating pad, checking the temperature with your hands before setting your foot on it for ten minutes. Heat increases blood flow to the tissues making the massage more effective.
Take a Moment to Stretch
One of the most common manifestations of heel pain is a sharp jolt as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. This often happens because the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the underside of the foot, has contracted, and cooled down over night with rest. When the fascia is irritated and enflamed, putting weight on the foot forces it to stretch out quickly, causing pain until it has a chance to “warm up.”
By taking some time in the morning to lightly stretch and warm up the fascia, you may be able to reduce this initial shock as you begin your day. Here are a couple of easy, in-bed exercises you can try. For the first exercise, you will need either a towel, a belt, or a resistance band.
While sitting up in bed, with one leg out in front of you, take your towel/belt/band and loop it around the upper half of your foot and toes. Make sure one end of whatever strap you are using is in each hand.
Gently pull back on the strap with both hands, flexing the toes and upper half of the foot towards the ankle using your arm strength. You should feel a stretch. If you feel pain stop immediately.
Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, repeating 2-3 times per foot.
While sitting up in bed, bend your knee and your hip, place your foot flat on the bed in front of you.
Grasp your big toe with one hand and gently pull it toward your ankle.
Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, repeating 2-4 times per foot.
There are many other stretches that can focus on specific areas in need of conditioning. We can help you find a daily routine that will have a positive effect on your comfort.
Get the Help You Need for Heel Pain
We hope some of these tips provide relief. But if your heel pain persists please do not hesitate to contact us! There is more that can be done, with advanced forms of treatment we can provide a permanent solution.