When your heels are sore, you might find that every step you take throughout the day causes you discomfort. Heel pain can be the symptom of several different foot-related issues, but a common culprit is plantar fasciitis. This foot issue is widely prevalent – more than one million people visit their doctors each year because of this form of heel pain. If you suspect that you're dealing with plantar fasciitis, your best bet is to schedule a visit at your nearest podiatry clinic. The foot doctor will be able to determine the cause of your heel pain and help you through it. If you have a few days or weeks until the appointment but are eager for immediate relief, here are some ways to manage this discomfort.
Ice Your Heels
Applying ice to your painful heels can be an effective way to reduce your discomfort. You can use an ice pack or simply wrap some cubes of ice in a cloth. Limit your exposure to the ice to no more than 20 minutes; beyond this timeframe, you risk irritating your skin because of the extreme cold. Another idea is to use a bag of frozen vegetables, such as peas, as they'll effectively wrap around your heel to provide relief – just be sure to set the bag in a designated area of your freezer so no one eats it. You can apply cold to your heels as many times as you need to throughout the day.
Loosen Up Your Calf Muscles
When your calf muscles are tight, they can lead to tight fascia and result in heel pain. Fortunately, you can loosen up your calves and plantar fascia with a simple stretch. Stand on the edge of a stair with your heels hanging off; grab the railing or hold the wall for support. Then, allow your heels to drop off the edge of the stair until you feel a comfortable stretch in the soles of your feet and in your calves. Hold the pose for up to 30 seconds and then return to the starting position. Perform this exercise up to four times.
Keep Your Feet Properly Supported
Try to avoid walking anywhere in bare feet, even inside your home. Wear comfortable shoes with proper arch support outside and inside. Going barefoot or wearing shoes with a lack of arch support can worsen the problem. Even with proper footwear, try to limit the amount of time that you stand throughout the day.