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Heel Pain

How can I treat and prevent heel pain?

Rest and icing the heel can often be enough to provide heel pain relief. Wearing comfortable shoes, supportive shoes, or foot supports can also help to lessen the stress of everyday activities on your heel.

However, if your pain is the result of plantar fasciitis:

  • Wear supportive shoes:

    Choose shoes that absorb shock, with good arch support and low heel. Worn-out athletic shoes will no longer provide the cushioning and support you need, so make sure to get new shoes as needed.

  • Avoid going barefoot:

    This can put additional stress on your plantar fascia.

  • Reduce the impact on your feet:

    By maintaining a healthy weight and practicing low-impact sports (such as swimming or bicycling), you can limit the stress on your plantar fascia. Heel pads in shoes can also help to lessen the impact and absorb shock.

  • Use ice:

    Ice your heels for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day, or after activity. This can help to reduce pain and inflammation.

  • Do arch stretches:

    Calf stretches and stretches using a towel. Place the towel under the ball of your feet, and pull gently the towel toward you, and hold a few seconds. Do this several times a day, especially when first getting up in the morning. Stretching the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel is especially important before sports, but it is helpful for non-athletes as well.

  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers as needed.

  • Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy, padding, taping and strapping, night splints, a removable walking cast and/or orthotics for your heel pain treatment, depending on your case.

If you’re experiencing heel pain:

  • Rest:

    Taking a break from any physical activities that may be aggravating your condition.

  • Stretch and exercise:

    It’s often recommended to try strengthening and stretch exercises to strengthen and improve the flexibility of your Achilles tendon and supporting structures. One helpful stretch can be leaning forward against a wall with the foot flat on the floor and the heel slightly elevated, and using an insert beneath your heel

  • Use ice:

    Place ice on the back of the heel to reduce inflammation and pain

  • Try shoe inserts or orthotic devices prescribed by healthcare professionals:

    Stress on your heel can be reduced by an insert that elevates the heel and cushions the force felt by the Achilles tendon

  • Use an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed