Stretch it Out
In many cases of heel pain, such as plantar fasciitis, certain tissues are under stress or strain. Working on a stretching regimen can help condition these tissues (or other tissues that are pulling on them) to help relieve pain.
If you get sharp heel pain as soon as you get out of bed in the morning, try some stretching before you even get out of bed. One good example is a towel stretch (which you can also do with a belt or resistance band, if you have one).
- Sit upright on your bed, with legs out in front of you.
- Place whichever strap you are using around the ball of one foot, keeping an end of the strap in each hand.
- While keeping the upper half of your body as straight as possible, gently pull back on the strap to flex the upper part of your foot back. You should be using your arm strength and as little foot power as possible.
- Hold the position for 20-30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Whatever flexes and stretches you perform, always stay within a comfortable range of motion. If anything you are doing starts to hurt, stop doing it immediately!
Roll it Out
Massage and ice can also help with pain and inflammation in the heels, and there’s a clever way to give yourself both benefits at once.
Simply take a sturdy, plastic water bottle and fill it about three-quarters or four-fifths of the way with water (you do not want to fill it to the brim). Then cap that bottle off and stick it in the freezer.
When it’s fully frozen, remove it from the freezer and firmly roll it beneath each foot. It’s an easy way to get some relief while sitting and watching TV, or getting some work done at the computer—just make sure you are not rolling anywhere you wouldn’t want to get a little wet, just in case the bottle breaks or starts leaking (around electrical cords is a big no-no).
Also, to help prevent potential cold damage to your feet, never roll barefoot and do not roll for more than 15 minutes at a time.
Stay in Your Shoes
We know that you may be staying in your house more often and don’t want to mess up your carpet, but part of your heel pain flare-ups might be the fact that you’re just not spending as much time in supportive shoes as you once did.
If your shoes have been providing support for an arch or gait abnormality (and especially if they contain custom orthotics), then your change in routines may be causing this support to be lacking.
Try wearing your shoes through part of your day—cleaning them first if you need to, of course. You might find it soothes your pain.