It's the little things that matter.
What you do every day means more than what you do once in a while.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
"All right, stop already!" we hear you cry. "Enough with the clichés!" Fair enough.
But know this: when it comes to heel pain, there's a lot of truth to them. If you're doing the little things today (and every day), and making smart lifestyle choices, you're going to have a much easier time treating and preventing heel pain—or ensuring the cases that do crop up are relatively minor and short-lived.
Better than that developing severe, chronic pain that needs more aggressive intervention, right?
Here are some of those choices you can begin making each day.
Clear All the Bad Shoes Out of Your Closet
There is no reason to ever purchase or wear a pair of shoes that doesn't fit you.
Doesn't matter how cute they are. Doesn't matter if you loved the style but they didn't have your exact size. Doesn't matter how much you think they're going to "break in" after you wear them a while. (Spoiler alert: they're not going to. They still won't fit.)
We're not saying you must abandon all sense of fashion! You can still wear stylish shoes. But they have to fit. And they should be in good shape, too—well worn shoes gradually lose the ability to cushion your feet as the midsoles get compressed.
Choose the Right Shoes for the Right Job
You wouldn't go for a 10-mile run in a three-piece suit and tie, right? So why are you going out for that same run in basketball shoes?
Your shoes need to be properly paired to your activities. For those who play sports regularly, that means sport-specific shoes for any activities you spend a lot of time doing. (It may seem silly, but performance will suffer and you'll have a greater risk of developing pain and injury with the wrong pair of shoes.)
Of course, choosing the right shoes is about more than athletic wear. And that takes us to two uncomfortable topics of discussion for many: flip flops and high heels.
Simply put, flip flops are pretty much a bad idea for any scenario outside of the showers or maybe an hour or two on the beach. They protect the bottom of your feet from cuts and germs—sort of—but can cause a lot of pain and discomfort if worn for longer periods of time. If you're going to do any meaningful walking around, get a pair of comfortable sandals with molded heel cushioning and plenty of arch support.
As for high heels? We don't recommend them either. But if you must wear them, try to go easy on your feet and heels. Only wear them sparingly, for special events. Cap the heel height at two inches, and the chunkier they are, the better.
Don't Forget to Stretch
Daily stretching can provide many benefits. You increase your flexibility and range of motion, which in turn leads to the improvements you actually care about. Daily activities that require bending, turning, lifting, etc. get easier. Athletic performance improves. Injury risk goes down.
Yet even people who stretch every day often forget about their feet!
If you want to relieve your heel pain and prevent future cases, you should remember to stretch your plantar fascia (that's the long band of tissue on the bottom of your foot) and calves regularly. Tightness in either area leads to painful tugging on the heel, and leaves it more susceptible to injury from impact forces.
Make a Heel-Friendly Environment at Work and Home
When it comes to preventing heel pain, unfortunately not every work and lifestyle situation is created equal. If you have a job that requires a lot of standing or walking, you're at much higher risk of developing chronic pain.
But not all hope is lost just because you happen to be a teacher, retail or restaurant worker, healthcare professional, or work any other on-you-feet job.
We've already mentioned two of the most important things you can do—get a good pair of shoes, and stretch every day.
On top of that, we'd also strongly encourage you get a cushioned mat for your workstation if you tend to stand for long periods in a specific spot. It'll help absorb even more of the downward pressure, before it can get to aching muscles and bones. Do the same at home for the kitchen.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should make full use of your break time. Take a seat, put your feet up—maybe even give yourself a quick foot rub if you can get away with it! Anything to give your feet a bit of a break and help get the blood flowing again.
Optimize Your Training Routine
Some activities can be particularly hard on the heels, even if your form and equipment are pretty good. You can probably name them yourself. Running. Basketball. Tennis. Basically, anything that involves a lot of running and/or jumping.
That's not to say you shouldn't do them! On the contrary, these sports and activities can be extremely good for your physical and mental well-being.
If you run five miles every single day fo the week, that might not be the wisest use of your training time—especially if you're running up and down hills on a lot of hard pavement.
Instead, think about balancing your routine with a mix of both high and low impact exercise, which target different joints and muscle groups. On your days off from your high-impact sport of choice, choose something a little easier on your heels. Ride a bicycle. Go for a swim at the local pool. Go down to the gym and hit the weights.
Don't Accept Heel Pain
Okay, so this isn't exactly an "everyday choice." But it's a mindset you must take if you don't want to be stuck with chronic heel pain for weeks or months on end.
Simply put, heel pain is not just something that happens. If you shrug your shoulders and try to ignore it, you'll only make things worse for yourself in the long run.
If you attempt some home care methods but find that the pain continues to persist, give us a call at Absolute Foot Care Specialists and the Nevada Heel Pain Center for Excellence. We'll get to the bottom of your heel pain right away, and we can offer advanced and effective treatment options should you need them—custom orthotics, shockwave therapy, and more.
To schedule at our Las Vegas office today, dial (702) 839-2010.