At one point or another, most of us have dealt with heel pain. Sometimes it comes and goes over the day, for others it can be chronic and debilitating.
While it may feel like an inevitable consequence of having to use our feet, heel pain isn’t something to suffer in silence. To help you deal with your pain, we’ve outlined what causes heel pain and how to treat it easily.
Heel pain: what’s causing it?
Heel pain can come from a wide range of issues, but there are some more likely than others. The two main causes are plantar fasciitis and Achilles strain, each one affecting one of the main tendons the runs from your heel in either direction. Usually caused by excessive strain or stress on the tendon (often from exercise or poor footwear), this can result in heel pain that strikes with each step.
These are by no means the only causes, with the following all issues that lead to heel pain.
- Fracture in the heel area
- Improper gait
- Activity on hard surfaces (concrete, asphalt etc)
- Heel spurs
While the pain normally occurs when you’re on your feet, especially at the end of the day, it is often symptomatic of an underlying issue. So if you’re dealing with heel pain, don’t ignore it.
Three easy tips for treatment
With heel pain affecting so many people, often stopping them from exercising or socialising, being able to care of that pain quickly and easily is one of the most useful things you can know about your body. We’ve outlined three key ways you can treat, manage and prevent heel pain to get you back on the right foot.
When it comes to taking care of your heels, this is arguably the most important factor. When looking at footwear to treat and prevent heel pain, there are two different things to focus on; Shoes and insoles. Here’s what to look for in each to best take care of your heels.
Shoes: Whether it’s your joggers for exercise or an old pair of work shoes, a cushioned sole with some kind of arch support is ideal. Check the sole on the underside of the shoe. If you’ve worn it out, get a new heel put on the shoe by a cobbler or get a new pair of shoes. Ankle support in the shoe itself is also important.
Insoles: Insoles work to reposition the foot and redistribute the force of each step properly across the foot. Whether it’s a full heel insole like the Redux Heel 2 or a simpler cushion like the ViscoSpot, Bauerfeind have an excellent range of insoles for any shoe and heel.
There are several lifestyle factors that can lead to increased heel pain and other joint issues. Some simple changes that can help with this pain include
- Dropping excess weight to reduce the strain and stress on the heels.
- When running, exercising or walking longer distances, avoid hard surfaces like concrete, asphalt and pavers.
- Focus on low impact exercise like swimming, cycling and yoga
This is the core of physical recovery. Rest, ice, compress and elevate. Each of these can be applied to heel pain to treat it and stop it getting too painful.
Rest: If you’re going for a run or exercising, try and break it up into smaller bursts between hard and soft surfaces. Make sure you sit or lie down afterwards to let the heels recover.
Ice: When there’s pain in the heels, particularly after exercise, get a gel ice pack and press it against the heel, 20 minutes on, 20 off. This will help reduce any swelling and inflammation to relieve the pain and discomfort.
Compress: Normal compression isn’t as effective on the heel as it is elsewhere, but cushioning can give a similar effect. Wear thick socks, keep the foot rested on a cushion or gel heel support to soothe the tissue in the heel and gently massage it to promote blood-flow.
Elevate: Kick your heels up and relax. Getting the blood to circulate more effectively reduces any inflammation and swelling and takes pressure off the heels inside and out for quick relief.
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Bauerfeind products are developed at our innovation and manufacturing facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.
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