Heel pain is quite common and is often felt at the base of one’s heels, close to the arch of one’s foot, or just behind the heels.
The pain that occurs at the base of the heel is called plantar fasciitis while the pain that occurs just behind the heel is called Achilles tendinitis.
Common causes of heel pain include; wearing shoes with poor shock absorption or support, running too often, running on hard surfaces, tightness or stiffness on calf muscles, landing awkwardly or hard on the heels, sprains, fractures, injuries, pinched nerves, and being overweight.
Furthermore, as briefly highlighted above, numerous medical conditions could lead to heel pain. These medical conditions include; heel spurs, arthritis, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, bursitis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and gout.
Below are some tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with heel pain;
- Endeavor to wear shoes that fit properly. You could also support your heels by using heel cups, felt pads, or shoe inserts.
- Strive not to move around barefooted as this would put more strain on your feet.
- You could also use crutches to temporarily take the weight off your feet.
- When you experience heel pain, strive to rest your feet and heels as much as possible.
- If you are obese or overweight, strive to lose the excess weight.
Below are home remedies and natural treatments to relieve heel pains;
1. Oil Massage
Massaging the painful heels with warm oil will reduce stiffness and relax the muscles to relieve pain. Massage also increases blood circulation which promotes healing. Warm some oil of your choice, such as olive or coconut oil, and apply it to the painful area. Massage it gently while applying a little pressure. Also, massage the entire sole. Do this few times every day to get rid of heel pain.
2. Epsom Salt And Warm Water
Epsom salt is highly effective in reducing inflammation and relieving pain and swelling. Warm water increases blood circulation in tensed muscles and reduces stiffness while magnesium sulfate, of Epsom salt, aids in reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation.
For this remedy, prepare a tub of warm water and mix 2-3 tablespoons of Epsom salt to it. Soak your feet in it for 18-20 minutes. Remove your feet from the water, thereafter, and pat dry. Apply a moisturizer and massage the area for a couple of minutes. Do this remedy thrice every week until you see some improvement in the condition.
One of the best ways to get rid of heel pain quickly is to apply an ice compress. Ice has a numbing effect on the area which reduces pain effectively. If the pain is due to a medical condition such as bone spur, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis, an ice pack may help in providing relief. Crush some ice cubes and put it in a plastic bag. Then, wrap the ice-filled plastic bag in a towel and apply the compress to the affected area for 12-15 minutes. Reapply as needed.
4. Fish Oil
Studies show that fish oil is an effective home remedy for painful heels caused by a bone spur or arthritis. Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) which reduces pain and relieves stiff muscles. You may take fish oil having 30 % EPA, in doses of 3 grams, two times a day. It is recommended to check with your doctor before taking it, especially if you take medicines for diabetes or blood thinning.
Exercises that improve the flexibility of the feet is another great way to reduce stiff muscles. Such exercises help in strengthening the tendons and adjoining muscles, thus, relieving pain.
Remove your shoes and stand straight facing towards a wall. Now press your hands onto the wall while placing a foot forward. Lean slightly so that the back of your leg, as well as your heel, is stretched slightly.
Stay in this position for half a minute. Then, change your side and repeat the aforementioned procedure by placing the other leg forward.
Repeat this stretching exercise 10 times for each side to relieve the pain. You could also do the pushing tyre exercise.
Sage can be helpful in relieving a heel pain caused due to a sprain, strain or a cut. Take about a cup of apple cider vinegar in a pot and add a handful of sage leaves in it. Rub the leaves in between your fingers before adding it. Put it on heat and bring it to boil and then simmer it for 4-5 minutes. Take a cotton cloth and dip it in the solution. Then, place the moist cotton cloth over the affected area for a couple of minutes to relieve pain and inflammation.
7. Cayenne Pepper
The compound capsaicin, present in cayenne pepper, is highly effective in relieving pain. If the cause of heel pain is a lumbar pain, strain or a joint pain, cayenne pepper would bring great relief. For this remedy, warm a quarter cup of olive oil and add a tablespoon of powdered cayenne pepper to it. Mix well and apply it to the affected area. Let it stay for 15 minutes, then, rinse off with warm water. Do this remedy 2-3 times every day until you notice some improvement.
8. Clove Oil
The therapeutic properties of clove oil make it a widely used ingredient for treating various conditions such as joint problems, headaches, toothache, nail fungus and athletes foot. Clove oil may also help in relieving a painful heel. Clove oil works by improving the blood circulation of the area while reducing muscle stiffness. Take some clove oil and massage the affected heel using gentle strokes.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the compound curcumin, present in turmeric, makes turmeric a potent remedy for heel pain. For this remedy, put a cup of milk in a pot and add a teaspoon of powdered turmeric to it. Let it simmer on low flame for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add a small amount of honey. Mix well and consume this potion 2-3 times in a day.
In case edema is causing the heel pain, you may use asparagus to naturally treat a painful heel. Being a diuretic, asparagus aids in flushing out the excess fluid accumulated in your body. Asparagus also reduces inflammation in a great way. Eat slightly steamed asparagus to reap the benefits and reduce heel pain.
Chamomile has a pain relieving action that makes it another great home remedy to follow. It can bring down inflammation while relaxing the muscles to ease the pain. All you have to do is brew some chamomile tea and soak your heels in it for a few minutes. Do this as needed to get rid of heel pain.
12. Alfalfa Seeds
The seeds of alfalfa are high in calcium and selenium which aids in strengthening the bone. It also reduces inflammation that causes painful heels. Boil a cup of water and add a teaspoon of alfalfa seeds to it. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Then, strain the liquid and mix it with honey. Drink this tea 3-4 times in a day to relieve pain.
13. Apple Cider Vinegar
To relieve a painful heel you may use the anti-inflammatory properties of apple cider vinegar. Take half a cup of apple cider vinegar and add it to a tub of warm water. Soak your feet in it for 10-12 minutes. Remove it and pat dry. Repeat this process once every day for a couple of weeks.
14. Baking Soda
Baking soda contains crystals that help in reducing the excess calcium deposits from the heel bone, thereby treating the symptoms of a painful heel. Baking soda also reduces inflammation. Take some baking soda in a bowl and make a paste by mixing some water. Then, apply this resultant paste evenly on your heel and wrap it with a gauze. Do this remedy twice every day for a couple of weeks.
The compound zingibain, present in ginger, has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and pain. Include ginger in your food on a regular basis or just brew some ginger tea and consume it to relieve pain in a natural way.
16. Hot And Cold Treatment
An alternating hot and cold compress can be helpful in relieving the heel pain. The hot water will relax the muscles that become stiff and cause pain while a cold compress will reduce inflammation. Apply the hot compress for a few minutes followed by a cold compress. Repeat it a few times until you get relief.
Borax is high in minerals that are needed for healthy bones. Therefore, it can be used to treat heel spur. For this remedy, you would need 4 cups of chlorinated water and half a teaspoon of borax. Mix them together and soak your heel in it for 30 minutes. Do this before going to bed daily for a few weeks.
18. Alkaline Diet
An alkaline diet is useful in relieving inflammation. It balances the overall pH of the body thereby, reducing inflammation naturally. Avoid consuming too much of animal-based foods. Also, avoid processed and sugary foods as these create an acidic environment in the body. Consume lemon juice mixed with water to increase your body’s alkalinity. Furthermore, generally eating fruits and vegetables is beneficial for increasing your body’s alkalinity as well as reducing heel pain while boosting overall health.
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