Tips for Coping with Heel Pain

6 min read

avoid high heels

Lots of people experience heel pain at some point in their lives.  In many cases, that heel pain is caused by plantar fasciitis.  There are other foot conditions that can contribute to heel pain, as well, such as sports injuries or heel spurs.  You don’t have to continue to suffer, though.  Check out these tips for coping with heel pain.

Footwear Advice

Many of the things that will help to relieve heel pain are simple, common sense measures that will make your entire body feel better.

To start with, be sure that you are wearing good, supportive shoes.  Far too many people experience foot pain because they are wearing shoes that, while they may be attractive to look at, are damaging to their feet.

avoid high heels

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Avoid wearing high heels.  If you must wear high heels, choose a heel that is two inches or less, and try to wear them for no more than two hours a day.  Also, a wider heel provides more support and tends to be more comfortable than a stiletto.

Be sure that your shoes fit properly.  You should have your feet measured by a professional at least once a year.  Many of us are wearing the same size shoes that we have worn since high school, no matter how long ago that was.  You may have stopped growing, but your feet haven’t necessarily stayed the same size.

Feet often go up a size or two as the result of pregnancy, weight gain, or just the normal process of aging.  Get measured yearly, and be sure to have both feet measured.  It is not uncommon for the feet to be two different sizes.  If that is true for you, buy a pair of shoes that fit the larger foot comfortably or order custom shoes that will fit both of your feet well.  Don’t forget about the width of the shoe, too.  A shoe that is too narrow can be just as uncomfortable, if not more so, than a shoe that is too short.

The shoes that you select should provide plenty of support, particularly in the arch.  If you have plantar fasciitis, you may benefit from wearing arch support inserts or custom orthotic devices.  These devices can be custom made to fit your feet and are worn inside your shoes.

Walker ShoesChoose footwear that is appropriate for whatever activity you are doing.  For example, wear walking shoes for walking, running shoes for running, and basketball shoes for basketball.

Each of these types of shoes has different characteristics for its intended purpose, and it will make a difference in how your feet feel.  Don’t wear dress shoes or heels for extended periods of time; keep a pair of walking shoes handy in case you need to walk a long distance.

If you notice that your shoes are worn on the soles or the heels, it’s time to throw them out and replace them.  Continuing to wear them when they are worn down will affect your gait and can result in foot pain.


Fitness Tips

Once you are fitted with proper shoes, you can start exercising. Before you run or work out, be sure to warm up and stretch sufficiently. Also, pace yourself with your workouts. Runners should not increase their distance by more than 10% per week. Overdoing it, or failing to stretch adequately, leads to injuries.

If you are carrying any extra weight, consider trying to lose a few pounds.  Even a small amount of weight loss can make a big impact on how your feet and body feel.  Your feet are under a massive amount of pressure every day, and a weight loss of just 10 pounds can significantly decrease the pressure on your feet.

You can achieve foot pain relief and weight loss by eating a healthy diet.  Choose foods that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants.  Be sure to get plenty of rest, as well.  Aim for eight hours of sleep per night.

If you have an injury or are currently struggling with a foot condition, give yourself permission to rest the affected area until the pain subsides.  While it is important to be fit and active, sometimes an injury is a sign that you need to let the body rest and heal.  Don’t train through the pain.  Many injuries need six to eight weeks to fully heal.

Even if you feel like you can continue training and tolerate the pain, doing so can actually make the injury worse.  If you have an injury that isn’t resolving after a few days of at-home care, you should see your doctor and get checked out.  If there is a more serious injury that you aren’t aware of, it is best to find that out as soon as possible so that you can get treated quickly and get back to normal.

Practical Tips

It’s also important to know your own limitations.  If you are starting an exercise regimen, start with a small goal and increase it slowly.  You don’t need to run five miles your first day out; in fact, you’ll probably end up with an injury if you try this.

Just try a walk through your neighborhood, and build up slowly as your body allows.  If you don’t normally exercise but expect to be spending some time on your feet for a vacation or other special circumstance, pace yourself.

You may need to stop and take breaks in order to care for your feet.  Wherever possible, walk on sidewalks or paved roads rather than on uneven surfaces like gravel or grass.

These unstable surfaces can aggravate your foot pain and are more likely to encourage trips and falls.  It’s a good idea to do some stretching exercises before you go out, as well.

Ask your doctor for some suggestions. There are simple foot exercises, like placing a towel under the arch of the foot and pulling the foot toward you, that can help.  After the end of a long day, you can soothe your feet by rolling a golf ball or a cold water bottle under the bottom of your foot.

You can also use ice or over-the-counter medication to reduce inflammation.  You can make your own ice pack by combining a bag of crushed ice with a few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol.

The rubbing alcohol lowers the temperature of the ice, which helps to numb the pain and reduce the inflammation in your feet.  Elevate the feet, with the feet higher than the heart, and place the ice pack on your painful heels.

These tips for coping with heel pain will help you to live an active, full life despite your foot condition.  If you experience heel pain, you should pay a visit to Foot Solutions UK.

We are a specialized shoe store.  We can measure your feet and help you find the perfect pair of supportive shoes.  If we don’t have exactly what you need in stock, we can order it for you.  We also offer over the counter arch supports and  we can also make custom arch supports that are designed to fit your individual feet.  Come in to Foot Solutions UK today to learn about all the ways that we can relieve your heel pain.