Heel pain is a very common issue that many people suffer from, and can be caused by injury - such as sprains, pinched nerves or torn heel pads - or lifestyle issues like poorly fitting shoes, obesity or overuse. There are also a number of medical conditions that can be responsible for heel pain, including Achilles tendinitis, gout, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, or arthritis.
Heel pain can range from mild to severe and isn't usually a serious threat to your health, but it can be extremely uncomfortable. You can take over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories to manage the pain, and in the meantime there are a number of home remedies you can use to try and solve the issue.
1) Wear supportive footwear. It is important to wear shoes that have adequate arch support and heel cushioning. If you have special requirements due to fallen arches or other issues, try using orthotics (special inserts). You can have them fitted for you especially, but there are also a number of quality generic inserts made of plastic, rubber or felt that can raise the heel and support the arch, according to WebMD.
2) Apply ice. This is one of the best ways to relieve heel pain naturally, according to Healthline, and it controls inflammation. Icing your feet is useful in the case of many heel issues, but particularly with sprains, plantar fasciitis and bone spurs. If you don't have an ice pack in your freezer, you can put ice cubes in a plastic bag and then wrap it in a thin cotton towel or t-shirt. http://www.healthline.com/health/plantar-fasciitis#treatments5
3) Try an epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are made of magnesium sulphate and have a number of uses, including reducing pain, swelling and inflammation. You should use the epsom salts as per the pack instructions but a general rule of thumb is to mix three tablespoons of epsom salts into a whole tub of warm water. Top 10 Home Remedies recommends soaking for at least fifteen minutes.
4) Take fish oil capsules. This is a good treatment option in the case of arthritis and bone spurs, which are small growths on the heel bone. Top 10 Home Remedies explains that fish oil is rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and studies have shown that it helps to reduce pain and muscle stiffness.
5) Stretch your feet. Heel pain is commonly caused by plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of the band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. Prevention explains that the best way of healing this condition is by stretching your feet every day. Try these stretches to relieve your heel pain.
6) Wear night splints. WebMD advises that specially made night splints can also stretch the plantar fascia ligament and Achilles tendon, to stop them from getting tight overnight.
7) Practice R.I.C.E. In the case of sprains and strains, Healthline recommends that you remember RICE and practice these four easy steps. Rest the affected body part, Ice the injury, Compress the injury to decrease swelling, and Elevate the injured body part above the level of the heart.
8) Enjoy a turmeric latte. Turmeric is a wonderful spice and home remedy. Top 10 Home Remedies explains that curcumin, a component in turmeric, is a scientifically proven painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent. It's easy to make a turmeric latte - heat a cup of milk with one teaspoon of turmeric and sweeten with a little raw honey. Turmeric has a ton of other health benefits, too.
9) Heat it up. Try using a heat pad on your feet to relax the muscles and ease stiffness. You might find that heat alone is painful, depending on the injury, and it can be very useful to alternate between heat and cold - so have an ice pack handy!
10) Massage. Home massage provides effective pain relief at home, as well as relaxing the muscles, reducing stiffness and improving circulation. You can massage your feet as often as you like, but it is particularly useful before and after exercising, last thing before you go to bed at night and first thing when you wake up. Top 10 Home Remedies recommends using any kind of oil, such as olive or coconut.
If your foot pain persists for more than a few weeks despite home treatment, or if it becomes too painful to walk, you should seek the help of a doctor or a podiatrist. In the meantime, try these home remedies for a more natural fix.