Improper shoes are a major cause of heel pain
- Make sure your shoes fit and support your feet properly. If you typically wear very flat, flexible shoes, your heel bone and supporting structures are subjected to increased stress with every step you take. Over time, this may lead to inflammation and painful heels.
- Examine your shoes to see if they are still in good condition and are not excessively worn. After a while, the built-in shock-absorptive capabilities of shoes will diminish. For those involved in high-impact activities such as running, shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles.
- Wear shoes appropriate for your activity. For example, don’t wear unsupportive shoes when participating in running or jumping activities such as basketball.
- Minimizing your time spent walking barefoot or wearing high heels or flimsy shoes. Wear lower heels or at least vary the heel heights to maintain flexibility. If you must wear unsupportive shoes for certain occasions, consider using a custom insert to provide cushioning support to your heel and arch.
Training errors can also lead to painful, over-use injuries of the heel
- Train properly. When beginning an activity, especially a new one, be sure to stretch appropriately. Most people have some degree of tightness in their legs so daily stretching is always a good idea.
- If your leg muscles are weak, you are more prone to developing pain in the back of your heel. Begin with gradual strength training of your leg muscles.
- It is also important to give your muscles and tendons enough time to rest and recover between activities. Refuel your body with healthy food and plenty of fluids.
The structure of your feet may increase your risk of developing heel pain
- If your feet are flat and roll in excessively (pronate), you will likely benefit from a custom orthotic with a motion control shoe.
- If you have a high arch and tend to roll out (supinate), you will also benefit from a custom orthotic but with a shoe that provides more cushioning and shock-absorption.
Finally, if weight is an issue, try to lose weight gradually