Walking With Heel Pain
A moderate amount of daily exercise is essential to good health at any age. Walking is often described as an ideal physical activity, but if any part of your foot is in poor health, a vicious cycle of pain can be created that can result in a lack of activity due to fear of pain. If you’re experiencing heel pain walking, this article will help you to identify your symptoms, consider possible causes and seek out non-invasive remedies for heel pain. For further reading on each of the subjects discussed in the article, please click on the included links for in-depth definitions of the various conditions and solutions.
When Do Your Heels Hurt?
If your first steps out of bed in the morning are accompanied by pain in one or both heels, and this symptom doesn’t resolve itself after a few days, there is a strong chance you may have developed the condition known as Plantar Fasciitis. You may notice that you also have heel pain when walking after a period of sitting down, such as on a car ride or at your desk at the office.
Plantar Fasciitis can be explained as strain, inflammation, and injury to the stretchy plantar fascia ligament that spans the arch of your foot from heel to ball. While you sleep, or when you’ve been seated for a long period of time, the ligament becomes still and cool, making pain worse when you first get to your feet. Then, as you begin to walk around, you may notice that the heel pain decreases because the ligament has had a chance to warm up.
While a few minutes of walking upon arising may help to reduce immediate sensations of heel pain temporarily, you may notice that any attempt to walk or run any great distance can bring on even worse pain. This can also be a symptom of Plantar Fasciitis or may indicate a condition involving the tendons of the calf and ankle called Achilles Tendinitis.
Additionally, if you’ve noticed that your daily walk is accompanied by a sensation of being jabbed in the heel by a small pebble, you may have developed a heel spur – a bony calcium buildup on the heel bone. These protrusions can be pointed, hooked or shelf-shaped and can prod into the soft, fatty tissue cushioning your heel as you walk, causing moderate to severe pain.
In sum, both morning heel pain and heel pain when walking are important indications that you may be suffering from a physical ailment of the foot. It is never safe to ignore such symptoms as this can lead to further damage and increasing debility.
Breaking The Vicious Cycle Of Heel Pain
Unfortunately, ignoring heel pain and continuing to exercise can actually worsen a condition like Plantar Fasciitis. As you walk or run, your body will be trying to protect any part of the foot that has been injured. Instead of correctly distributing the impact of your steps from ball to heel, you may begin to favor the ball too much in your gait, putting further strain on the damaged plantar fascia ligament as it stretches. This irregular gait may result in increased inflammation and small tears in the ligament tissue.
Eventually, your heel pain when walking may become so severe that you have to forego any type of exercise. This, in turn, can lead to putting on weight which puts you at greater risk for injuries to the ligaments and tendons of your feet and legs as they struggle to support the extra pounds.
Our culture displays a certain amount of admiration for individuals who are able to ‘tough out’ pain, but when you consider that ignoring those first signs of heel pain may eventually render you overweight and unable to enjoy moderate exercise, there is nothing appealing about trying to ‘grin and bear it’.
Fortunately, podiatrists have proven that more than 90% of cases of Plantar Fasciitis can be healed with conservative, at-home remedies. Only in extreme cases will drugs or surgeries ever be necessary. Your best course of action is to pay attention to heel pain as soon as it begins so that you can address it via non-invasive methods instead of waiting until it is so severe that you may require steroids or open surgery.
Is walking good for heel pain?
Depending on your specific circumstances, walking may help your heel pain, or make it worse. If you experience excruciating pain while walking, try to rest as much as possible until the pain subsides. Wear supportive shoes with orthotic inserts any time you need to walk, and stretch and warm up your feet before long bouts of walking. Avoid walking barefoot, even around the house, or wear Heel Seat Wraps to protect and support your heels without shoes.
For other people, walking is a productive part of their recovery process. As long as walking isn’t directly causing heel pain, it’s okay to take a brisk walk for exercise or to walk for transportation. If your feet are sore after walking, make sure to stretch and ice them as soon as you get home.
What to do when heel pain is so bad you can’t walk
Sometimes your heels may hurt so bad it feels like you can’t walk. In cases like this, listen to your body as much as possible and rest. With conditions like heel spurs and plantar fasciitis, it is common for the first few steps out of bed, or the first few steps after a long period of rest to be excruciating. If this is something you experience, try wearing Night Splints to bed, and gently stretching and warming up your feet before taking your first steps.
If your heel pain is severe and limiting your mobility, it’s important to go to a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Resolving heel pain may be easier than you’d think!
Everyone has sore feet once in a while, especially after an upswing in physical activity, but if you’ve realized you’ve had heel pain when walking or upon waking for more than a few days, pay attention! Instead of simply continuing with your normal exercise regimen, take 4 smart steps back in the direction of health:
- Rest – Put your feet up twice a day for twenty minutes. Avoid high-impact sports like jogging and basketball until your condition has resolved.
- Ice – Use one of these easy heel icing methods while you’re resting your feet to bring down inflammation and lessen pain.
- Stretch – Watch these free heel stretching videos and perform the simple exercises they demonstrate to improve the health of your plantar fascia ligament.
- Support – Treat the underlying causes of Plantar Fasciitis with Fascia-Bar treatments, in the form of orthotic shoe inserts specifically designed to enable you to heal completely from this painful condition.
More than 9 out of 10 heel pain sufferers report resolution of pain using clinically proven Heel Seats. Don’t ignore heel pain – and don’t let it sideline you either! By taking early notice of your symptoms, you will greatly increase your chances of a full recovery by following the above four steps.