Heel pain is a very common foot problem that can interfere with your normal activities. Pain may be felt on the bottom of the heel, just behind the heel or in the arch of the foot. Often, this type of pain comes on gradually and is usually worse in the morning upon arising. Wearing flat shoes also have been found to trigger the pain. Injuries, sprains, fractures, pinched nerves, and wear and tear on the heel pad are common causes of heel pain. Accidently pounding the foot on a hard surface, being overweight or wearing poorly fitting shoes can also cause it.
Top remedies to reduce heel pain
1. Rest and stretch
If overuse is the likely cause of your pain, rest is one key to recovery. And, it’s a good idea to couple that with daily stretching exercises. Foot exercises allow you to keep the plantar fascia from pulling and tightening up, so it’s better able to bear your weight when you get moving again.
Applying ice to the heel in a cold compress is one the best ways to relieve heel pain naturally. The cold temperature has a numbing effect that controls pain and inflammation. Furthermore, ice is effective in reducing pain associated with foot tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and a bone spur.
• Make a cold compress by putting some crushed ice in a plastic bag, then wrapping it in a thin cotton towel. Apply this pack on the painful area for about 15 minutes. Repeat a few times a day or as needed.
• Another option is to freeze a bottle of water and roll it over the painful area for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat as needed.
3. Wear proper footwear
Make sure you get a good fit and avoid flat shoes that lack support. “Find proper shoes to match your actual foot and biomechanics,” Dr. Torzok says. “Arch supports might help some people.” He also advises people not to walk barefoot around the house. “This can stress the tissue in the bottom of the foot even more. Instead, wear running shoes or sneakers something with natural arch support so they don’t deform that tissue and chronically stretch and irritate it,” he says.
4. Epsom Salt Soak
An Epsom salt soak can bring instant relief from heel pain. The magnesium sulfate crystals help reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. Furthermore, the heat of the warm water promotes relaxation.
1. Mix 3 tablespoons of Epsom salt in a tub of warm water.
2. Soak your foot in it for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Pat dry your foot and apply some moisturizer.
4. Gently massage your heel for 5 minutes.
5. Repeat 2 or 3 times a week until the pain is gone completely.
When it comes to natural treatment for pain, turmeric is an excellent remedy. Curcumin, a component in turmeric, works as a potent painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent. A 2009 study published in The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology highlights the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of turmeric.
• Put 1 cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a pot. Simmer it on low heat for 5 minutes. Add a little raw honey. Drink it 2 or 3 times daily to ease pain.
6. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is the new super food. It can cure anything from skin and stomach problems to pain. Apple cider vinegar is known to pull out the excess calcium from the bone and bring relief. You can either soak your feet in a tub of warm water with few drops of apple cider vinegar or wrap a wet towel drenched in it around your heel for few minutes.
7. Ice your feet
Roll your foot over a frozen water bottle for 5 minutes, or hold an ice pack over the bottom of your foot for 15 minutes, three times a day. Also use the ice treatment after any strenuous activity or extended periods of standing or sitting, Dr. Torzok says.
8. Baking soda
You’ll be surprised to know the number of things this humble kitchen ingredient can be used for. From giving you beautiful skin to whitening your teeth, baking soda offers a lot of benefits. It works directly on the calcium crystals deposited in the heel. Make a paste by mixing half teaspoon of baking soda in water and apply this on your heel. Baking soda also helps in balancing the pH levels.
9. Wear a splint
For more severe cases, a night splint can brace your foot and ankle in the proper position as you sleep. “Night splints will help stretch the plantar fascia and alleviate the pain,” he says.
10. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is rich in capsaicin, a compound that has natural pain-relieving properties. It can ease heel pain as well as muscle strain, joint pain and lumbar pain.
• Mix 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper in ¼ cup of warm olive oil. Apply it on the painful area and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse it off with warm water. Repeat 2 or 3 times daily until the pain is gone.
11. Choose supportive shoes
Buy shoes with a low to moderate heel, thick soles, good arch support and extra cushioning. Don’t wear flats or walk barefoot.
12. Don’t wear worn-out athletic shoes
Replace your old athletic shoes before they stop supporting and cushioning your feet.
13. Flaxseed oil
Flaxseed oil is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a form of omega-3 fatty acid, which attacks inflammation. Pour some flaxseed oil in warm water and dip a towel in it. Wrap the towel around your heel and place a heating pad over it. Leave it on for at least an hour and avoid moving during this period.
14. Have anti-inflammatory foods
Certain ingredients like turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper and cumin seeds are known for their strong anti-inflammatory properties. These foods contain natural antioxidants and polyphenol that act as protective compounds and can help reduce levels of inflammation. You can make a decoction with 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger, turmeric or pepper and warm water