Shop with the Doc: How can you stop heel pain?

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(Stress RX/WVLT) -- If you have ever suffered with the pain of plantar fasciitis, you know it can be excruciating! Every step you take brings a sharp reminder that something isn’t right with your feet!

Running shoes

One day you are walking just fine, and the next you can barely put weight on one or both feet. Sharp, stabbing pain that’s worse in the morning when you first wake up runs from your heel through your arch.

What’s up with that?

Millions of Americans suffer from this common condition that comes from inflammation in the heel fascia.

Dr. Pete with Stress RX and Dani Ruberti WVLT address the natural remedies to stop heel pain in this week's Shop with the Doc.

Join the conversation on the WVLT Local 8 Facebook page.

What Causes Inflammation of the Heel Fascia?

Stress RX reports that more than a million doctor visits each year end up with a plantar fasciitis diagnosis -- a fancy word for the common "problem" of inflammation.

85% of plantar fasciitis patients are between the ages of 25 and 65 — the most active time of life, according to Stress RX.

Carrying Extra Body Weight
Extra body weight is a mechanical stressor — especially to your feet!

If you are extremely overweight and trying to exercise, start with non-weight bearing exercises like aqua-aerobics, swimming, or even a stationary bike or elliptical machine. If you do walk, take shorter walks more frequently to avoid prolonged periods of stress on your feet.

Certain Types of Exercise
Long distance running, ballet dancing, and high impact dancing like Zumba are activities that place a lot of stress on your heels, and make you more likely to suffer from this condition.

Not allowing adequate recovery time after a walk or workout can end with foot pain. If you are starting a new exercise regime, your body may interpret it as “overtraining” at first.

Build of Your Feet
Those with flat feet or fallen arches, those whose arch is extra high, and those who walk with an abnormal gait have more problems with plantar fasciitis because of the way their weight is distributed.

Spinal Misalignment
Plantar fasciitis develops slowly over time, and it can be the direct result of a spine that is misaligned which changes your gait.[ii]

These changes in your walking pattern may be subtle, but the result can be a lot of pain!

What NOT to do:

According to Stress RX with Dr. Pete, avoid taking an NSAID like Ibuprofen or Aleve and taking cortisone shots in the arch of your foot.

Natural Remedies

1. Stretch your Achilles tendons, heels, and calves

First thing upon waking, put your legs out straight and flex both feet. Bend knees slightly. Grab toes if you can. If not, get as close as you are able. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Repeat two or three times.

2. Massage with essential oils

In the evening, or when you are relaxing, massage feet (especially heels and arches) with warm essential oils mixed with a carrier oil like coconut or almond oil. Best oils to use are lavender, rose, thyme, or rosemary. They help reduce swelling and inflammation.

3. Maintain a healthy body weight

Because extra weight is a mechanical stressor to the body, work on reducing any extra body weight by adopting a healthful diet high in good fats, lean proteins, and organic vegetables and fruits.

While you are in pain with the plantar fasciitis, exercise in ways that don’t strain or hurt your feet. Swimming, Tai Chi, Yoga, Biking, or really any low-impact activity will help. If it hurts, switch to another form of exercise.

4. Wear Supportive Shoes

Get professional help picking a shoe that is best for your foot shape and the activity you do most (i.e. walking, running, or cross-training).

5. Ice your foot

Freeze a water bottle. Roll gently beneath your foot. Ice reduces inflammation.

6. Take foot baths with Epsom Salts

The easiest and most efficient way to get magnesium into your system — and especially into your feet — is to soak your feet in warm water with 1 cup of dissolved Epsom Salts.

If after all these natural modifications you still have pain, Dr. Pete says to go see a physical therapist who can give specific exercises to treat the condition.

Information from Dr. Pete with Stress RX