Heel pain can interrupt your life so much and make you feel miserable. It can prevent you from playing sports and in some cases even stop you from walking. There are a number of things that you can do to prevent you from getting heel pain.
- Wear supportive footwear if you plan to be on your feet a great deal. This means shoes with a lace or strap that are not backless and have a firm cushioned sole and a broad heel no more than an inch high.
- Avoid walking for long periods in thongs, loose slip-on or thin soled shoes. This will cause your feet to overwork and the plantar fascia can become inflamed and lead to heel pain. The heel can also become bruised due to lack of cushioning and the constant pounding from walking, so a cushioned sole will help.
- Choose the correct shoe for the activity you are undertaking. If running, then be sure to wear a sneaker, if hiking a hiking boot. Heel pain often begins when starting a new activity or sport such as taking up running especially if you are not wearing the correct type of shoe.
- Be sure to wear suitable shoes at work too. If you have to wear high heels or dress shoes in the office you should take every opportunity to revert to suitable footwear such as in your lunch break or to and from work. High heels will tighten the calf muscles and this can lead to heel pain. In some cases people may change their employment and go from a sitting most of the day to a standing which can initiate heel pain.
- Replace your shoes regularly. Heel pain is often caused by running or walking in worn out shoes. For example, most sneakers should be replaced after running 500km. The sole of the sneaker may not look worn but the mid sole (the section between the sole and the insole) often becomes compressed and loses its supportive and cushioning abilities.
- Seek advice from a specialist shoe shop or speak to your podiatrist if you are unsure of the type of shoe you should be wearing. Eveyones feet are different and so we all need a different type of shoe. For example, someone with a flat foot requires a shoe with a firm heel and broad/straight base.
- Stretch your calf muscles after exercise. A tight Achilles tendon is often the cause of heel pain. You should hold a stretch for at least a minute. If you wear high heels stretch your calf muscles as often as you can. This can be done whilst sitting by bending your ankles and pointing your feet up towards you with your knee straight.
- Speak to your podiatrist if you wear your shoes out unevenly or quickly or experience any foot discomfort as you may need an orthotic or shoe insert to control your foot function. Poor foot function such as a foot that rolls in excessively is a common cause of heel pain