If you have chronic heel pain, there is a good chance that you have either plantar fasciitis or heel spurs. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the connective tissues that run along the bottom of the foot. Heel spurs occur when calcium deposits form on the underside of the heel bone where the connective tissues tie in, and it is sometimes a consequence of ongoing, untreated plantar fasciitis.
Both of these conditions are sometimes treated with surgery, but patients can often avoid surgery if they are proactive in taking other treatment measures to manage the pain. Here are the key steps you can take to manage ongoing heel pain without surgery.
Invest in Good Orthotics
A good set of orthotics will adjust the way your shoes fit in a way that takes the pressure off your heel. They'll make walking and standing more comfortable. Some pharmacies and shoe stores carry orthotics made for those with heel pain. Give these a try. If they don't provide substantial relief, make an appointment with a foot doctor. They can have custom orthotics made for you.
Strengthen Your Calves
If your calves are overly tight, they will pull on your Achilles tendon in the back of your leg. Then, as the Achilles tendon tightens up, it will pull on the structures in your arch and heel. It's like a painful chain reaction! If you are able to strengthen your calves, then you will have tight calves less often, and the other problems will be less worrisome, too.
The easiest way to strengthen your calves is with basic calf raises. Simply stand on one leg, and rise up on your forefoot repeatedly. Doing about 3 sets of 20 repetitions per leg is a good goal to work towards. If you need to hold onto something to avoid toppling over, do so.
Stretching your arches throughout the day will help keep your heel pain at bay. You can stretch your arches by sitting down, grabbing your forefoot, and gently bending your forefoot back towards your shins. Hold the stretch for a few seconds. You can also stretch your arches by simply rolling a ball under your foot repeatedly. (This is a good one to do at your desk.)
If you follow the tips above, you can often keep heel pain under control without having to opt for surgery. Talk to a foot doctor for more tips and advice.