Tips for Helping Your Heel Pain at Home
It’s common for routines to get disrupted now and then, often due to changes in career, moving, or other personal factors. It’s rare that something like the COVID-19 pandemic comes along and throws so many people’s definitions of “normal” into a tailspin.
And when there are changes to lifestyle and routine, there can often be changes within your feet, too. Perhaps your heel pain is flaring up more than you expect, or you’re even starting to get heel pain for the first time in quite a while—or ever.
Persistent heel pain is absolutely a matter that is worthy of calling us about at this time—as is any other form of foot or ankle pain you may be experiencing. We are still accepting in-office appointments for urgent matters, and are taking many cautionary measures to provide as safe, disinfected, and low-risk an environment as possible for you.
But we also understand if you are currently unable to make it to us. Here are a few tips you can follow to try to take the edge off your heel pain at home. We only humbly ask you don’t wait too long to contact us for help and advice if your pain keeps continuing.
Keep Your Shoes On
Very likely, your “out-of-home life” involved wearing shoes for a much longer percentage of the day than you do remaining homebound.
If your shoes are providing support to your feet—and especially if you have been using custom orthotics—that extra time away from them can add up to negative effects on your feet, including heel pain. This can ring especially true if you are walking on hardwood floors for much of the day, since they provide very little shock absorption to help you.
If you have supportive footwear, consider keeping them on inside the house for at least part of the day, to see if that helps your discomfort. You will, of course, want to make sure those shoes are clean to prevent any dirt getting trailed through your living room.
Give Yourself Some Rolling Time
Ice and massage can both have beneficial effects on relieving pain and inflammation. So why not combine them with one of our favorite tricks?
Take a plastic water bottle, fill it about three quarters full of water, and leave it in your freezer to ice up. When you want a cold massage, simply take the bottle out and roll it beneath your foot while sitting down.
There are a couple caveats to keep in mind with this:
- Do not roll your bare foot against this very cold object. You might damage your skin! Keep your socks on to provide a protective barrier.
- Make sure you conduct your rolling somewhere that can safely get a little wet, just in case. That means nowhere with electrical cords or other potential hazards.
Work Stretches into Your Daily Routine
Stretching your feet and ankles not only feels great, but can condition and strengthen the connective tissues within. This can help take the edge off of pain from plantar fasciitis and other conditions.
Here are a few stretches to try. Just remember that you should always move within your range of comfort and ability. If something starts to hurt, stop what you’re doing immediately!
This is a great stretch to do first thing in the morning, before getting out of bed. You can also use a belt or resistance band, if you have one.
- Sit up, with your legs out in front of you.
- Take the towel and place it beneath the upper arch of your foot. You should have an end of the towel in each hand.
- Gently pull back on the towel, flexing the top of your foot back toward you, until you feel a stretch. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, repeating three times for each foot.
Tight calf muscles can pull on your heel bone and plantar fascia, contributing to heel pain. This can help loosen and condition them.
- Stand in front of a wall, pressing your hands flat against it.
- Step back with one foot, keeping that knee straight, and bend the other knee in front. Bend until you feel a stretch in the lower part of your back leg, but try to keep your front knee from going out past your toes.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds, repeating 2-3 times with each leg.
Towels are very useful tools. This exercise focuses on stretching the foot and calf muscles.
- While sitting in a chair, place a towel on the floor in front of you, and place both feet flat on the towel.
- Grasp the center of the towel with your toes, and curl it toward you.
- Relax your toes and repeat several times.
Don’t Overwork Yourself
While some might be experiencing more sedentary lives while staying at home, others might be getting out and exercising more than ever—and that’s great!
However, suddenly taking a lot more daily steps than you’re accustomed to (without slowly building your way up to it) can lead to strain and pain in your heels, as well as other areas of your feet. This can happen even if you are losing weight and feeling great, so it pays to be cautious.
We recently wrote a blog about getting into spring sports, and plenty of the advice there applies perfectly well here, too.
Find the Heel Pain Help You Need in Colorado Springs
We remain here to help, and are always happy to hear from people who need it.
Call us at (716) 266-5000 to schedule an appointment, or to ask us any questions you may have about our safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your health and well-being have always been our top priorities, and always will be.