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Are you experiencing heel pain? I mean a stabbing pain in the middle of your heel when you step down on it? Learn potential heel pain remedies and steps to improve the bottom of heel pain.
Bottom of Heel Pain Symptoms
This pain may be worse in the morning and get better over time, or if you are like me the pain may continue throughout the day.
If you exercise, it will be worse after your workout or run.
If so, you are probably looking for relief so you can get back to walking without pain and continuing the exercise routine you were previously involved in.
Whether it was walking or running. Heel pain and plantar fasciitis will make it hard to enjoy any type of movement that involves your feet.
I first had heel pain several years ago when I purchased a pair of shoes that didn’t fit my feet well, but I wore them anyway. At least, I believe that this is what may have caused the heel pain.
I’m really not sure.
The heel pain started out of the blue. One day I just noticed it was there. Like I had stepped hard on a rock and bruised my heel. This was especially true when I first got up in the morning, but for me, it also continued throughout the day.
I was perplexed.
I couldn’t pinpoint an injury that I could attribute to the pain. All I knew is that I could barely walk on my left foot.
This went on for a week and didn’t improve. I went to my local pharmacy and I bought a gel heel insert for my shoes. This provided little improvement. It felt like I had badly bruised my heel, but that bruise was not healing.
Heel Pain Causes
I googled “heel pain” and came up with over 1 million results.
Obviously I was not the first person to experience heel pain.
For a specific diagnosis for your heel pain, you need to see a physician or podiatrist.
I learned that heel pain can be a result of:
- a bruise to the heel pad from stepping on a rock or maybe a stray pencil or Lego piece left in the floor,
or it, may be plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the fascia, a thick band or ligament of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot and connects your toes to your heel, becomes inflamed and causes the heel pain.
- or a heel spur, which occurs when plantar fasciitis becomes chronic and a calcium deposit forms where the fascia tissue connects to the bone.
Treatment for heel pain typically involves:
- rest and staying off the sore heel,
- decreasing the inflammation with ice to improve swelling and medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, etc),
- and cushioning the heel with inserts.
I was on the right track with the gel heel pad, but I had little improvement in the pain.
Heel Pain Relief
When you search for heel pain treatments, you will find a lot of products marketed to treat heel pain. Compression socks, braces, massage balls, taping, etc. These may work, but I was leery of trying these options, so I looked for other treatments.
I tried a variety of topical products, as well as drinking Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar seemed to improve some of my pain and discomfort, but I didn’t like the taste. I tried to take at least one tablespoon daily mixed in water.
Many sites recommend taking
For people who can't or prefer not to take these over the counter medications pain, there are a couple of supplements to consider.
If you aren't familiar with these products, please consult your physician prior to starting any new supplement.
Boswellia is an herbal extract that has been used for a variety of anti-inflammatory conditions. Taken from the Boswellia serrata tree. It has been studied for its anti-inflammatory effects in conditions such as
One note is that it should not be used in pregnant women. For more information on
Turmeric/Curcumin is a cooking spice we often associate with Indian cooking and curry. Curcumin is the active ingredient in Tumeric that is thought to have anti-inflammatory effects. It has been used to treat a variety of conditions including arthritis.
One note is that it should not be used in pregnant women. For more information on
Other supplements I included were collagen to support tendons and joints. I found the Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate is easy to work with because it immediately dissolves in hot or cold beverages and has a mild flavor.
Chances are if you are having pain from plantar fasciitis, you may also be having joint discomfort or other tendon inflammation. So it’s a reasonable supplement to consider.
Heel Pain Stretches
I also started a program of gentle stretching because I have chronically stiff heels and calves. You can see some of my stretches in my post Stretching Exercises to Increase Flexibility.
Under the Lower Body Section, I include some key exercises to stretch and loosen the plantar fascia as well as other tendons of the foot, ankle and, calf.
A consistent weekly routine is important in maintaining the flexibility of your tendons so that they do not become irritated and inflamed.
I started to see more improvement in heel pain.
Then I read about a shoe line called Vionic that is made with built-in arch support. I learned that arch support is important in treating heel pain or plantar fasciitis. Arch support helps with pain because a common cause of the condition is over-pronation or rolling in of your feet as you walk.
Over-pronation can occur for a variety of reasons:
- from being overweight,
- wearing flat unsupportive shoes,
- having increased physical activity,
- to having tight calf muscles.
When reading this information, I realized I had several of these risk factors.
The Vionic shoe line was moderately priced so I scoured for reviews. There were so many reviews from men and women who had similar complaints. These people reported pain improvement after wearing the Vionic shoes.
It's incredible that many people report improvement in heel pain from regularly wearing Vionic slippers and shoes. Check out the super comfy Relax Plush Slippers.
I decided to try a pair of slippers that I could wear in the house. My first pair of Vionic slippers were the Vionic Women’s Indulge Relax Slipper in Tan Leopard. I picked these slippers because they had an open toe so my feet wouldn’t be hot. They also had a velcro strap for adjustment.
While I was still a little skeptical that these slippers would improve my foot pain, I had nothing to lose. I was determined to get rid of this pain.
So the slippers came and they were just as they looked in the picture. A little clunky because they have a solid rubber shoe base for support. The tan leopard reminded me of “Cave Woman” slippers.
Then I slipped them on and my feet were so happy.
The pain soon improved. I wore them all the time I was in the house. We have hardwood floors and I have learned that while hardwood floors are sleek and easy to clean, they are not good for people who suffer from heel pain.
I wore the Relax Slippers at all times when I didn’t wear other shoes.
From the moment I stepped out of bed until I tucked in for the night. In fact, I wore them out. Now I have moved on to the Indulge Relax Plush Slipper. They are a little cushier than the Relax slipper but still provide the same great arch support.
I also ordered Vionic athletic inserts to wear in my Nike tennis shoes. The gel insert I was already using provided little improvement in pain. I decided that I needed to add arch support.
The Vionic Atheltic inserts are simple to use. You remove the insole of the tennis shoes and replace them with the Vionic inserts. Between the slippers and the inserts in my tennis shoes, my heel pain eventually went away.
My heel pain faded, but I continue to order a variety of shoes in the Vionic shoe line because the built-in arch support makes my feet feel great.
I currently own a pair of pale blue Splendid Midi Perf Slipons in light blue. I get so many compliments on these shoes and no one is aware that they have built-in arch support.
Vionic also has dressier shoes. I have a pair of Caballo Ballet Flats. Honestly, these took a while to get used to. Because they are flats, the support is a little different than with the slip-on versions. But, I recently wore them on an interview with slacks and my feet felt great.
A couple of years ago my mom bought me a pair of ankle boots. I wear them with slacks or jeans. They are easy to dress up or down.
This year I bought a pair of suede loafers called Honor Virginia Leather Loafer in Greige. They are super comfortable and I believe they will soon be my go tos for a dressier shoe.
Managing Heel Pain
So this is how I managed my bottom of heel pain. It was not a quick process. It probably took about 3 months of:
- stretching, massaging my foot, ankle, and calf with coconut oil,
- taking supplements and
- wearing Vionic shoes and arch supports.
While I no longer have the heel pain, I have over time experienced other tendon pain in my ankles and knees. I still have chronically stiff calves. This pain seems to occur when I stray from my routine and don’t routinely stretch, wear shoes without support, and fall off my regular supplementation.
I can’t guarantee that my suggestions will help everyone, and recommend any lingering heel pain for more than a few weeks be evaluated by a physician.
if you have heel pain you might want to try the Vionic slippers.
I also think it is important to start a routine of massaging, stretching, exercising, and supplements and to keep at it. Especially if you start to experience hints of heel pain.
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