Our heels bear at least 45 kilograms of pressure every time we walk or run. Naturally, heel pain is a common complaint among those who are active - those in sedentary jobs or those who spend hours sitting down (or lying down) daily are unlikely to experience this as they put little weight on their feet. Women who wear high heels on a regular basis are also more prone to heel pain.

Heel pain is not a disease but a symptom. It is caused due to various reasons but the most common ones are:

  • Bruises
  • Osteomyelitis (infection in the bone)
  • Arthritis (inflammation of the joints)
  • Plantar fasciitis (damage to the elastic band called fascia band, which connects the heel bone to the toes)
  • Calcaneal spur (calcium deposition in the fascia band)
  • Bursitis (inflammation of the bursa, a sac which lines the tendons and muscles for easy movement) 
  • Pump bump (abnormal bony growth at the back of the heel)
  • Achilles tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the back of the heel)
  • Nerve entrapment (compression of nerves at the heel area) 
  • Bone tumours

You must seek medical advice if your heel pain is continuous and you are not being able to walk. Some of the treatment protocols involve:

  • Raise your heel and rest it on an elevated surface.
  • Avoid wearing high heeled shoes. 
  • Wear shoes with a soft sole. You can also insert insoles or heel pads in your shoes.
  • You can wrap a bandage around your heels and ankles to support them.
  • Over-the-counter medicines like paracetamol and ibuprofen may also be used for pain relief.

You can also manage heel pain at home with the help of some simple home remedies given below:

  1. Ginger for heel pain
  2. Cayenne pepper for heel pain
  3. Fish oil for heel pain
  4. Turmeric for heel pain
  5. Essential oils for heel pain
  6. Cold therapy for heel pain
  7. Yoga poses for heel pain

Many studies have compared ginger to ibuprofen which is a potent pain killer. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties which relieve the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis.

What you will need:

  • About four cups of drinking water
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • A saucepan

How to use it:

  • Boil the water and add the ginger in it.
  • Now add one teaspoon of honey to improve the taste and strain the water. Drink this water twice or thrice a day.

Alternatively, you can also add half a teaspoon of ginger to your regular cup of tea.

Cayenne is a type of chilli pepper which contains capsaicin. Capsaicin has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

What you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

How to use it:

  • Add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper in three tablespoons of olive oil. Mix it well and apply on the affected area.
  • Let the mixture stay on the affected area for 15 minutes and then wash it away with warm water.

Alternatively, you can use capsaicin creams or patches available over-the-counter.

Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 which helps in preventing inflammation in the body. It also helps any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs, like aspirin) that you take to work effectively. 

What you will need:

  • 3-4 drops of fish oil or fish oil cream

How to use it:

  • You can apply the fish oil on your feet and massage them well.
  • You can also apply fish oil creams that are made especially for plantar fasciitis.

Turmeric has been used in ayurvedic medicine for a long time. The yellow curcumin pigment in turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties which help in relieving the pain and inflammation seen in runners due to plantar fasciitis.

What you will need:

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder or grated fresh turmeric
  • 1 cup milk
  • Honey (optional)
  • A saucepan

How to use it:

  • Heat the milk. Add one teaspoonful of turmeric in warm milk and drink it.
  • You can add half a teaspoon of honey for better taste.

Alternatively, you can add 1 teaspoonful of turmeric to your regular tea.

Essential oils like tea tree oil and lavender oil have anti-inflammatory properties that can help in relieving heel pain.

What you will need:

How to use:

  • Mix an essential oil - either tea tree or lavender oil - in any carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil.
  • Now massage the sole of the feet and the heels with this oil using your thumb pads and palm of the hand.

Cold therapy, also called cryotherapy, helps in reducing oedema, inflammation, pain and muscle spasm in the entire feet. 

What you will need:

  • Three or four ice cubes
  • A small towel
  • Alternatively, you can also use a cooling gel pack or coolant spray

How to use:

  • You can apply ice cubes wrapped in a towel to the affected area.
  • You can also get cooling gel packs and place them over the affected area.
  • Non-medicated coolant sprays can also be applied to help relieve the swelling.
  • Just like a blood pressure cuff, a cryo cuff can be wrapped around the affected area.

Yoga asanas for feet like Goolf Naman and Goolf Ghoornan are beneficial for improving the flexibility and strength of the feet. To perform these asanas, you have to sit on a flat surface with your legs outstretched and your feet three inches apart.

Steps to perform Goolf Naman correctly:

  • Try to move both your feet backwards and forwards, by bending them from the ankle joints. 
  • Now stretch your feet forward to touch the floor and then draw them back towards the knees.
  • Repeat the asana 10 times.

Steps to perform Goolf Chakra correctly:

  • Start rotating your right foot from the ankle in a clockwise direction 10 times.
  • Then repeat the same ankle 10 times in an anti-clockwise direction.
  • Now repeat the same action with your left foot.
  • Now, slowly rotate both the feet together in the same direction, 10 times clockwise and 10 times anticlockwise. 
  • Your knees should be straight while rotating the feet.
  • Lastly, slowly rotate both your feet together but in opposite directions. Do 10 rotations in each direction.
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