Having heel pain is a very common problem that can complicate your everyday activities. Pain may appear on the bottom of the heel, in the arch of the foot or behind the heel.
This type of pain very often accures on gradually and is usually stronger in the morning. Wearing flat shoes has also been found to be a cause for the pain. Common reasons for the pain are sprains, fractures, injuries, pinched nerves. Being overweight, wearing poorly fitting shoes and pounding the foot on a hard surface can also be the cause for heel pain. It may also appear because of several medical conditions like Achilles tendinitis, bursitis, gout, heel spurs, fibromyalgia, arthritis, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis and tarsal tunnel syndrome. People that suffer from heel pain are aware of the intensity of the pain and the discomfort that comes with it. However, it is not a serious health threat. You can try some home remedies and make certain lifestyle changes to treat your symptoms. If your pain becomes very intense and you have problems with taking a step, consult a podiatrist or a doctor.
Here are 10 natural ways to get relief from heel pain:
Putting ice on the heel in a cold compress is a great way to reduce heel pain. The cold temperature causes a numbing effect that reduces inflammation and pain. In addition, ice is very effective when it comes to reducing pain caused by foot tendonitis, bone spur and plantar fasciitis.
- Make a cold compress by applying crushed ice wrapped in a thin cotton towel for about 15 minutes and repeat this a few times a day.
- Another option is to roll a frozen bottle of water over the painful area for 10 minutes and repeat it as needed.
Do not apply ice directly on the skin because it can cause frostbite.
Massage is another natural and simple treatment for reliving heel pain. Massage is not a long-term solution to the problem, but it provides a quick pain relief. It also relaxes the muscles, releases the pressure, reduces the stiffness and improves blood circulation. It is recommended to massage the heel before going for a run, after exercising and before going to bed. For the massage you can use any kind of oil such as coconut, sesame, olive or mustard oil.
- Put some warm oil on the painful area
- Using both of your thumbs, apply pressure on the area for a few minutes.
- Massage the sole of your foot for about 10 minutes.
- Repeat few times a day.
You can get help from and expert or do the massage yourself.
- Stretching exercises
In a lot of cases, stretching helps reducing the pain and promotes a quick recovery. It also strengthens the muscles and tendons in your foot and prevents additional pain. The “standing wall stretch” is one of the best exercises for heel pain.
- Facing the wall, stand barefoot several feet away from it.
- Using both of your hands press into the wall
- Place on foot forward and slowly lean and feel the stretching along the back of your heel and leg.
- Switch sides and repeat.
- Do it 10 times on each side, so you can feel relief from the pain.
- Epsom salt soak
You can feel instant pain relief from an Epsom salt soak. The magnesium sulfate crystals reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. In addition, the heat from the warm water promotes relaxation.
- Put 3 tablespoons of Epsom salt in a tub of warm water.
- Soak the foot in it for about 20 minutes.
- Pat the foot to dry it and put some moisturizer on it.
- Gently massage the heel for about 5 minutes.
- Repeat this 2 or 3 times a week until the pain is completely gone.
Turmeric is a great remedy when it comes to natural treatment for pain. A component in turmeric, curcumin works as a potent painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent.
- Put 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1 cup of milk in a pot. Simmer it on low heat for about 5 minutes. Add a little raw honey. Drink it 2 or 3 times a day to reduce the pain.
- You can also take a turmeric supplement of 400 to 600 mg, 3 times a day. But, consult a doctor before starting any supplement regimen.
- Fish oil
If you suffer from heel pain due to a bone spur or arthritis, fish oil is a great option. Fish oil reduces pain because it is rich in eicosapentaenoic acid and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. In addition, it helps reduce stiffness of the muscle. A 2006 study published in Surgical Neurology explains that omega-3 essential acid is a safer option than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of arthritis pain. Two times a day, take up to 3 grams of fish oil that contains at least 30% EPA/DHA.
People that take blood-thinning or diabetes medication cannot take fish oil supplements.
If the cause to your heel pain is some king of a muscle strain, use ginger as a natural treatment. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Pain concluded that ginger can reduce muscle pain that is caused by eccentric exercise. Ginger is packed with pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing pain and inflammation. Its potent ingredients called gingerols prevent the production of hormones that trigger pain. In addition, it improves blood circulation.
You can use some of these remedies:
- Include raw ginger in your cooking or drink ginger tea up to 3 times a day. In order to make the tea, boil 1 cup of water, add 5 or 6 ginger slices in it and simmer for about 5 minutes. To improve its taste and increase its health benefits, add a little lemon juice and raw honey to it.
- Take 1 or 2, 500mg ginger supplements 3 or 4 times a day, but only after consulting a doctor.
- Massage the painful area with ginger oil a few times a day.
- Apple cider vinegar wrap
An effective treatment for heel pain is also an apple cider vinegar wrap. It contains antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties that help with reducing the pain.
- Pour 1 ½ cups of water and ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar together in a pan.
- Heat this mixture until it gets warm.
- Soak a clean washcloth in it and wring out the liquid.
- Put the washcloth on the painful area and cover it with a dry towel to retain the heat.
- Leave it like that for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Reapply 2 or 3 times.
- Repeat this as needed.
- Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a compound that relieves pain naturally.
It can treat heel pain as well as joint pain, muscle strain and lumbar pain.
- Put 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper in ¼ cup of warm olive oil. Apply it on the affected area and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. Rinse it well with warm water. Repeat this 2 or 3 times a day, until the pain is gone completely.
- Also, you can take an over-the-counter pain-relieving cream that contains capsaicin. Use the cream as described.
- Alkaline diet
Another good alternative to reduce pain and improve overall health is to eat a well-balanced alkaline diet. Alkaline foods help with maintaining a proper pH level in the body, which helps with reducing inflammation. In addition, it reduces calcium buildup, which is one of the leading causes of heel spurs.
- Add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet.
- Squeeze ½ of lemon in a cup of water and drink it once a day to boost alkalinity.
- Instead of using regular table salt, use pink sea salt.
- Drink 3 or 4 cups of green tea a day.
- Avoid excess intake of foods that are rich in calcium, especially dairy products.
- Limit the intake of animal-based foods, processed foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeinated drinks and refined grains.
- Rest when you are feeling tired or if your muscles hurt while exercising.
- Stretch your muscles before you begin to exercise.
- If you are overweight, try to lose some weight.
- If you have the need, wear a night splint, a device that stretches the foot while sleeping.
- Always wear shoes that fit properly. If needed, use shoe inserts and heel lifts.
- Avoid walking barefoot, because it will put undue strain and stress on your heels.
- Reduce the extended physical activities for a while to give your heel a rest.
- When you feel pain, rest your heels as much as you can.