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.
It may also be due to several medical conditions, including Achilles tendinitis, bursitis, fibromyalgia, gout, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, and tendinitis.
Those suffering from heel pain are aware of the intensity of pain and discomfort that can come with it. However, it is rarely a health threat.
You can use some home remedies and incorporate certain lifestyle changes to ease your symptoms. If your heel pain becomes severe and you have difficulty even taking a step, consult your doctor or a podiatrist.
Here are the top 10 ways to get relief from heel pain naturally.
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.
Note: Never apply ice directly on the skin, as it can cause frostbite.
Massage is another simple, natural treatment for heel pain. While it is not a long-term treatment option, it provides quick relief from pain. Massage also will relax the muscles, release the pressure, reduce the stiffness and improve blood circulation.
You can massage your painful heel any time of the day, and it is recommended particularly before going for a run, after exercising and before going to bed. For massaging, you can use any kind of oil, such as olive, coconut, sesame or mustard oil.
- Apply some warm oil of your choice on the affected area.
- Using both of your thumbs, gently apply pressure on the painful area for a few minutes.
- Massage sole of your foot for 10 minutes.
- Repeat a few times daily until the pain subsides.
You can do the massage yourself or get help from an expert.
3. Stretching Exercises
In many cases, stretching exercises can help reduce the pain and promote quick recovery. It even strengthens the muscles and tendons in your foot to prevent further pain.
One of the best stretching exercises for heel pain is the “standing wall stretch”.
- Stand barefoot several feet away from and facing a wall.
- Using both your hands, press into the wall.
- Placing one foot forward, slowly lean and feel the stretch along the back of your leg and heel.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Switch sides and repeat.
- Do it 10 times on each side to get relief from heel pain.
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.
- Mix 3 tablespoons of Epsom salt in a tub of warm water.
- Soak your foot in it for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Pat dry your foot and apply some moisturizer.
- Gently massage your heel for 5 minutes.
- 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.
- You can opt to take a turmeric supplement of 400 to 600 mg, 3 times a day. However, consult your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.
6. Fish Oil
If you have heel pain due to arthritis or a bone spur, fish oil is a good treatment option. Being rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, fish oil helps reduce pain. It even helps reduce muscle stiffness.
A 2006 study published in Surgical Neurology concluded that omega-3 essential fatty acid appears to be a safer alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for treating arthritis pain.
Take up to 3 grams of fish oil containing at least 30 percent EPA/DHA twice daily. However, it is recommended to consult your doctor first.
Note: People taking blood-thinning or diabetes medication should not take fish oil supplements.