How Do I Treat Foot and Heel Pain?

B. Miller
B. Miller
Shoe insoles are one of the most common treatments for foot pain.
Shoe insoles are one of the most common treatments for foot pain.

The way you treat foot and heel pain largely depends on the cause of the pain. If you have an actual injury to the foot, a visit to the doctor may be in order to be sure it's not broken or sprained, after which rest and ice packs are generally recommended until the injury heals. Plantar fascitis, or heel spurs, are another common cause of foot and heel pain. Treatment recommendations for this issue generally include shoe inserts to take pressure off the heel, as well as stretching exercises to loosen the calves and tendons of the foot. Some people may actually need to tape the foot as well.

Soaking the feet may help with pain.
Soaking the feet may help with pain.

Foot and heel pain is often caused by an injury, or by placing too much stress on the feet, such as wearing improper shoes that stretch the arches or tighten the calves, which can cause pain in the heels. Being sure to wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes whenever possible should help to address foot and heel pain, and help to prevent it in the future. In addition, people who are very overweight might find that losing weight helps with their foot pain as well, as it helps to take some of the stress and pressure off the bones and tendons in the feet.

High heeled shoes can cause foot and heel pain.
High heeled shoes can cause foot and heel pain.

People suffering from plantar fascitis commonly complain of foot and heel pain; this condition may also be referred to as a heel spur. They are often caused by excessive tightness in the feet, often related to short, tight calf muscles. For this reason, daily stretching of the feet and calves is one of the most often recommended treatments for pain in the feet and heels. Shoe inserts can also help to position the foot better in the shoe and take some of the pressure off of the heel.

Ice packs may help relieve foot and heel pain.
Ice packs may help relieve foot and heel pain.

Taping the foot might be necessary if the pain is severe, however over time this can actually worsen the problem by keeping the muscles tight and immobile. It is important to only use taping as a temporary solution as part of a multi-pronged treatment plan. Icing and resting the feet and heels can help to treat foot and heel pain, whether it is from plantar fascitis or simply overexertion. If the foot and heel pain does not begin to resolve itself, it might be necessary to visit a podiatrist to determine if there are any other treatment options that can be effective; for instance, plantar warts can be quite painful on the feet, and may need to be surgically removed.

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    • Shoe insoles are one of the most common treatments for foot pain.
      Shoe insoles are one of the most common treatments for foot pain.
    • Soaking the feet may help with pain.
      Soaking the feet may help with pain.
    • High heeled shoes can cause foot and heel pain.
      High heeled shoes can cause foot and heel pain.
    • Ice packs may help relieve foot and heel pain.
      Ice packs may help relieve foot and heel pain.
    • Cryotherapy may be used to freeze a painful planter wart from a patient's heel.
      Cryotherapy may be used to freeze a painful planter wart from a patient's heel.