Heel pain is a very common foot problem. The victim usually has pain under the heel (plantar fasciitis) or behind it (Achilles tendinitis). In many cases, heel pain is quite severe and unbearable, but it does not pose any threat to your health. Heel pain is usually mild and gets better on its own. However, in some cases, the pain can be constant and persist for a long time. The heel bone (calcaneus) is the largest of the total 26 bones of the human foot. The structure of the human heel is such that it can comfortably bear the weight of the body. When our heel hits the ground while walking or running, it absorbs the pressure on the foot and enables us to move forward. Experts say that walking 1.25 times more bodyweight and running 2.75 times more, puts more pressure on the feet. Due to this, the heel becomes weak and pain starts in it. This pain can also be caused by arthritis, infection, an autoimmune problem, trauma, a neurological problem, or some other systemic condition (a condition that affects the whole body).
In Ayurveda, heel pain is called Vatakantaka. It is mainly caused by Vata and Kapha doshas. Vata is sometimes aggravated by the consumption of foods that increase Vata dosha and Kapha dosha and due to excessive exercise, sports and running. Therefore, in Ayurveda, Vata and Kapha doshas are considered to be the causes of heel pain. The pain of the ankles often remains while getting up in the morning, people sometimes ignore this pain as a common pain, but it can be harmful. If there is pain in the ankle only after getting up every morning, then it is a sign of Plantar Fascitis because of which many people have to deal with heel pain every day. In the absence of treatment, it can become a serious problem and the person may have to face difficulty in daily activities and movement.
Symptoms of Heel pain
- Burning sensation along with pain in the lower part of the feet or a feeling of protruding from the heel for some time.
- Stiffness with pain in the soles of the feet.
- Unbearable pain in the ankles after getting up from sleep.
- Pain in legs when standing for a long time.
- Raised feeling of soles or heels.
- Mild swelling or redness in the leg.
- Stiffness in the bottom of the feet.
Causes of Heel pain
Rise of uric acid
The biggest reason for heel pain in youth is the increase in uric acid. Uric acid in the body usually increases in that condition. The increased amount of uric acid over a period of time starts to accumulate in the form of crystals in the joints of the body. The result of which comes in the form of sudden joint pain. It mainly affects the bones of the ankles, knees, hands and wrists in which the bones become weak and disorders arise in them.
Sprain and flesh burs
Sprains and strains are usually injuries caused by physical activity. These injuries may be minor or severe depending on the accident that happened to the victim which becomes a cause of heel pain.
A fracture breaks a bone and requires emergency medical attention. This is also one of the main causes of heel pain.
Spondylitis is a form of arthritis, which mainly affects the spine. This causes severe inflammation in the vertebrae, resulting in the onset of long-lasting heel pain.
It is a type of arthritis and results from an infection in the body due to which there is pain in the heel.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when too much pressure on your feet damages the plantar fascia ligament (the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes). Due to this, the heel becomes hard and there is pain in it.
In Achilles tendinitis, pain or swelling occurs due to damage to the vein connecting the calf muscles to the heel.
Osteochondrosis directly affects bone development in children and adolescents due to which there is pain in the heel.
Home remedies for Heel pain
Turmeric provides relief from heel pain
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric help reduce inflammation in the body. Therefore, turmeric is very beneficial in ankle pain. It works in both pain and inflammation. Make sure to use turmeric in the diet, along with drinking turmeric mixed with milk also provides relief in pain.
Ice compress is beneficial in heel pain
Apply ice cubes on the affected area about four to five times a day. For this, wrapping a piece of ice in a cloth and applying it to the painful area provides quick relief from pain.
Ginger decoction gives relief from heel pain
Boil finely chopped ginger in two cups of water. After boiling well, when the water remains only one cup, then make it lukewarm, mix two to three drops of lemon juice and one spoon of honey and consume it. Ginger helps in relieving both pain and inflammation.
Vinegar removes heel pain
Vinegar helps in curing symptoms like swelling, sprains and cramps. Mix two tablespoons of vinegar and one teaspoon of salt or rock salt in a bucket of warm water, then dip your feet in it for about twenty minutes, it provides relief from pain.
Rock salt reduces heel pain-
Mix two to three tablespoons of rock salt in a tub of warm water and put your feet in it for 10 to 15 minutes. It provides relief in heel pain and swelling.
Clove oil removes heel pain-
Gently massage the painful area with clove oil. This increases blood flow and relaxes the muscles. Clove oil is very beneficial if there is any kind of pain in the feet.
Stretching is beneficial in heel pain-
Do stretching regularly. Fold a towel and place it under your soles, now lift the ankles upwards and stretch the feet. Repeat this process for 15-30 seconds in both legs one by one. It gives benefit in pain.
Aloe Vera gel is an effective remedy for heel pain-
Put aloe vera gel in a vessel and heat it on a low flame. Add Nausadar and turmeric to it, when it starts releasing water, apply it on the ankles with cotton when it becomes lukewarm. Now tie it, and use it at night. Consuming it daily for 30 consecutive days gives relief.
Heel pain treatment with Ayurvedic herbs
The root of this herb is mainly used to reduce heel pain. To get relief from pain, a paste prepared from the root of Chitrak is applied to the affected area. Chitrak produces heat on the affected area and increases blood flow and accelerates metabolic processes. It reduces ama from the heel due to which the pain is reduced.
It has analgesic, laxative and nerve relaxant properties. It is one of the main herbs that reduce inflammation. Castor is also called the "King of Vata disorders" because it is useful in catharsis (diarrhoea), removal of ama from the body and in clearing aggravated vata dosha. It provides relief from pain and swelling in joints. Hence, it is used to control diseases like sciatica, rheumatism, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendon bursitis.
Ayurvedic treatment for heel pain through karma or therapy
In virechana karma, the body is detoxified. In this, the digestive system is detoxified with the help of medicines. After this, sweat is removed by the method of sweating due to which the body is detoxified. By doing this, the balance of Vata is created and there is relief from pain in the heel.
In abhyanga karma, medicated oils are continuously dropped on the body. It is done by pouring oil on the affected area or on sensitive points which give relief from heel pain.
Raktamokshan is one such Ayurvedic therapy, in which the contaminated blood is removed from the body. In this process, blood is extracted from the affected area by the leech. After this, when the leech completely sucks the blood, turmeric is put on the leech and they are freed from the skin. This gives relief to heel pain.
To perform lep karma, a paste of medicines is prepared which is applied to the area affected by heel pain. For this, making a mixture of Vacha, amla and barley and applying it to the affected area provides relief. Asafoetida paste is effective in plantar fasciitis.
Remedies to prevent Heel pain
Safety while playing sports-
Warm-up thoroughly before doing any activity that puts excessive pressure on the heels. Wear good quality shoes during sports.
Wear the right footwear-
To avoid heel pain, shoes that reduce the pressure on the heel during walking prove to be very helpful, such as pads under the heel. Make sure the shoes fit your feet and have a comfortable sole. If a particular shoe hurts your heel, don't wear it.
Don't be barefoot-
Be sure to wear shoes when walking on hard ground.
Lose more weight-
An overweight person puts more pressure on their heels when walking or running, so, try to lose weight.
When to go to the Doctor?
- Fever accompanied by heel pain.
- Being unable to walk normally.
- Persistent heel pain persists even after a week.
- Swelling and severe pain near the heel.
- Numbness and tingling in the heel with pain and fever.