Heel pain can certainly be very frustrating especially when it happens first thing in the morning, on your first steps. As our heel is the first bone to contact the ground when walking and takes the full force of impact which may results to shock from the body weight it bears.
The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is actually a stretching of the ligament that runs from the ball of the foot all the way through the arch and is attached to the heel. The ligament is called plantar fascia. When the plantar fascia is stretched too much this causes unbearable pain.
Good thing there are ways to help ease heel pain. The key here is that the impact must be limited especially on the heel cord and plantar fascia. In order for you to reduce the impact, you must avoid activities that may aggravate your heel problem like cycling or swimming. You must also reduce your body weight as too much weight may add more pressure to the heel.
Wear proper fitting shoes. There are soft cushion, soft-heated footwear that can absorb the shock as well as custom-molded orthotic that helps support the arch.
If your heel is inflamed, you can reduce the inflammation by applying ice or iontophoresis. However, if the infection is causing too much pain you may take anti-inflammatory drugs.
There are also exercises that can help alleviate your heel pain. The first one is done by sitting with your legs straight in front of you and then wrap a towel around the ball of your feet while holding the loose ends in each arm. Gently pull the ends of the towel toward you until you feel a light stretch in the back of your calf.
The second exercise is done by standing on an incline box with the higher edge toward the wall. With one heel on the floor and knee straight, slowly lean toward the wall until you fall a gentle stretch in your calf.
The third exercise is done by standing about an arm's length from a wall with one foot in front of the other. Then bend the front knee and put your hand on the wall, slowly lean forward until you feel a light stretch in the calf of your back leg. After that, bring your back leg closer to the wall and bend both knees. Lean forward until you feel a light stretch in the heel cord of your back leg.
Finally, you can do the exercise by sitting with one leg over the other. Slowly pull your toes up with special attention to the big toe. Do these until you feel a stretch along the bottom of your foot which is your plantar fascia.
If after doing the exercise and the stretching you still feel pain on your heel, you may ask your doctor about casts, corticosteroids, extra corporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), or platelet-rich plasma injections. Remember heel pain takes some time to go away, you must be patient and always do correct stretching exercise.