Heel pain refers to the pain felt behind the heel, on the bottom of the heel, or in the arch of the foot. It’s quite common and can significantly interfere with your daily activities. If you are one of the many with heel pain, you’ve probably noticed that it’s gradual and usually worst in the morning.
This pain is usually caused by sprains, injuries, pinched nerves, fractures, and wear and tear on the heel pad. Other possible causes are being overweight, accidentally pounding the foot on a hard surface, wearing poorly fitting shoes, and certain medical conditions.
Some of them are bursitis, Achilles tendinitis, fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, gout, tarsal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and tendinitis. Although not a serious health threat, heel pain can be really painful and uncomfortable.
To relieve the pain try some of the following home remedies or incorporate some of the mentioned lifestyle changes. However, if your heel pain is constantly increasing to the point of not being able to walk, consult a chiropodist or doctor.
The following 10 ways can help you relieve your heel pain naturally.
1. Ice Pack
One of the best ways to treat your heel pain is applying an ice pack on the aching heel. The numbing effect of the cold temperature will soothe the inflammation and pain. In addition, ice is a great treatment of plantar fasciitis, foot tendonitis, and a bone spur.
- Place some crushed ice in a plastic bag to make a cold compress. Take a thin cotton towel to wrap it up and then apply it on the aching heel. Let it stay for 15 minutes. You can do this treatment several times a day, or as many times as needed.
- As an alternative, you can roll a frozen bottle of water over the affected area for around 15 minutes. Repeat this as many times as needed.
Note: to prevent frostbite, don’t apply ice directly on your skin.
Although massage is not a long-term solution for your heel problem, it’s still an effective way to reduce your pain quickly and naturally. It will relax the muscles, release the pressure, improve the blood circulation, and reduce the stiffness.
Massage your heel anytime you want, especially after exercising, before going for a run, and before bedtime. Use any oil for the massage, such as coconut, olive, mustard, or sesame oil.
Warm the oil a bit, and apply it on the aching heel. Massage by gently pressing the area with both thumbs, for several minutes. Then, massage your foot’s sole for ten minutes. Massage your heel few times a day, or until the pain reduces.
3. Stretching Exercises
Stretching exercises are excellent way to get relief from heel pain. What’s more, they will help strengthen your foot’s tendons and muscles, thus preventing further pain. The “standing wall stretch” is one of the best exercises for quick heel pain relief.
Be barefoot for this exercise. Stand in front of a wall, few feet away from it. Press into the wall using both hands. As you move one foot towards the wall, gently lean, feeling the stretch along the back of your heel and leg. Stay here for half a minute, and repeat with the opposite side. Repeat ten times on each side.
4. Epsom Salt Soak
The magnesium sulfate crystals in Epsom salt will help you get a quick heel pain relief by reducing the inflammation, pain, and swelling. What’s more, your foot will relax due to the heat of the warm water.
Soak your affected foot in a tub of warm water with three tablespoons of Epsom salt. Let it stay for 15-20 minutes, and then pat it dry. Apply some moisturizer and massage your aching heel for few minutes. Do this treatment two or three times weekly, until your heel pain is gone.
Another great remedy for natural treatment of heel pain. The active compound in turmeric – curcumin, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and painkiller. In 2009, the International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology published a study which focuses on the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric.
- Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a cup of milk and simmer for five minutes on low heat. Add a bit of honey, and drink two or three times a day to relieve your pain.
- As an alternative, you can take 400-600 mg of turmeric supplement daily, but first consult a doctor.
6. Fish Oil
Fish oil is a great heel pain reliever if the pain is caused by bone spur or arthritis. Thanks to its high levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), it can ease the pain and reduce muscle stiffness.
The Surgical Neurology published a 2006 study according to which omega-3 essential fatty acid is a safer alternative to NSAIDs when it comes to treating arthritis pain.lthough a daily dose of 3 grams of fish oil which contains a minimum of 30 % EPA/DHA should be fine for a heel pain treatment, it’s better if you consult a doctor.
Note: Don’t take fish oil supplements if you take diabetes or blood-thinning medication.
Use ginger if your heel pain is due to some type of muscle strain. The Journal of Pain published a 2010 study which states ginger can relieve muscle pain and inflammation caused by eccentric training, thanks to its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, ginger improves the overall blood circulation.
Here are several ginger remedies to use for reducing your heel pain:
- Add raw ginger in your cooking, or prepare ginger tea by adding 5-6 slices of ginger in 1 or 1½ cup of boiled water, and simmering for 5-10 minutes. You can add some raw honey or lemon juice for a better taste and improved health benefits.
- You can massage the aching heel with ginger oil several times a day.
- Another option is to take 500mg ginger supplement, three or four times a day, provided that you’ve consulted your doctor first.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar Wrap
ACV wrap is another great heel pain treatment due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Heat ¼ cup of ACV and 1 ½ cup of water until warm. Soak washcloth in the solution and squeeze the excess liquid. Place it on the affected area and use a dry towel to cover it in order to keep the heat. Let it stay for 15-20 minutes. Repeat two or three times, or as needed.
9. Cayenne Pepper
The compound capsaicin in cayenne pepper provides pain-relieving effects. Not only that relieves heel pain, but it also eases muscle strain, lumbar pain, and joint pain.
- Apply a mixture of ¼ cup of warm olive oil and a tablespoon of cayenne pepper onto the affected area. Let it stay for about 15 minutes before washing it off with warm water. Repeat this treatment two or three times a day, or until the pain is completely gone.
- Another option is to use over-the-counter pain-relieving cream whose content includes capsaicin. Use it as directed.
10. Alkaline Diet
Following a well-balanced alkaline diet is one of the best ways to not only relieve your heel pain, but to also improve your overall health. This type of diet will keep the body’s pH levels balanced, thus reduce any inflammation. It can even reduce buildup of calcium which is one of the main culprits of heel spurs.
- To boost alkalinity, drink a solution prepared from cup of water and juice from half a lemon
- Add more fresh veggies and fruits in your everyday diet
- Limit the consumption of sugar, animal-based foods, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and refined grains
- Replace regular table salt with pink Himalayan sea salt
- Avoid consuming excess amounts of dairy products and other calcium-rich foods
- Try to drink three or four cups of green day every day
- To rest your heels you should also reduce extended physical activities.
- Rest your hells as much as you can when feeling pain.
- Don’t go barefoot since this will only increase the stress and strain on your heels.
- Try to lose some extra pounds if you’re overweight.
- Always choose well-fitting shoes, and for that purpose use even shoe inserts or heel lifts if necessary.
- Don’t forget to warm up with some stretches before exercising.
- Rest when your muscles start aching during exercising or whenever you feel tired.
- Rest when you feel tired or if your muscles ache while exercising.