Ten Tips to Prevent Heel Pain When Walking

 

You don’t have to be a budding athlete to suffer from heel pain. In fact, many people accept heel pain from walking as part of their everyday life. Whether you are conscious of it or not, everyday heel pain can end up being quite a burden on your feet, adding to your fatigue at the end of a working day, and even developing into prolonged foot problems if left untreated.[1] Take a look at our top ten tips to help treat and prevent the recurrence of heel pain when walking.

 

1. The Right Shoes with the Right Fit

Suitable walking shoes should provide support to your arches and cushion the impact between the ground and your feet. If you are walking in flat sandals, this can increase the likelihood of having heel pain.[2] It is also important to make sure you are wearing shoes that fit you well. Before buying a new pair, it is a good practice to try walking around in it to make sure there is enough space in each shoe for your longest toe to move while you walk.[3]

2. Everyday Insoles

Insoles is an effective and discrete way of giving you extra comfort while you walk, without making drastic changes to your wardrobe. Insoles are inserts that fit inside your shoes. These act as a shock absorber for the base of your feet by providing a cushion between you and the actual sole of your shoe.

3. Rotate your Shoes

Shoes worn everyday easily gets worn out and reduce the support of your shoes. It is a good idea to rotate between various styles so your shoes can support you effectively longer and your feet will be less likely to be strained when wearing flatter styles everyday.

4. Barefoot on Hard Floors

It is great to show off your sparkling toes during summer and certainly tempting to go barefoot  on a day at the beach, at the pool, or just playing in the grass. However, walking barefoot , especially on hard surfaces, takes away the much needed support for your feet.[4] While wearing shoes indoors is not everyone’s cup of tea, it is also a good idea to keep your feet supported while walking around the house, especially if you have hard tiled floors. If you would rather not wear shoes in the house, consider investing in a pair of slippers with added padding underfoot, to keep you supported as you walk around the house.

5. Warm Up Time

Although daily walks might not seem like a stretch-worthy task, warming up before you take your daily walk is a great habit especially when it comes to preventing heel pain. Warming up can be as simple as rolling a ball under your foot for two minutes. For more ideas on how to warm up before a walk, check out our tips on foot gymnastics.

6. Reduce Your Load

We all get a sense of pride when we decide to skip the bus and walk to work instead. But if you tend to carry heavy gadgets or books with you, you end up increasing pressure on your feet. The more weight you carry in your bag or briefcase, the more likely you will feel the stress on your lower body. Consider lightening your load by perhaps by leaving any unnecessary extras at home or at work.

6. Rest Between Walks

If you are already experiencing heel pain, it is important to give your body the time it needs to rest. If you walk your daily route, consider taking the bus or another mode of transport until your heel pain eases. While you might not need to take a day off work, do explain to your colleagues that you need to reduce the hours you spend on your feet. After work, it is good to give yourself time in the evening to relax, and put your feet up (elevation can be especially effective).

7. Choose a New Route

It is amazing how technology can help us get to places faster these days. If you are suffering from heel pain, consider reducing your walking time by exploring new routes. There are great apps available that can help you find the shortest walking route, time your journey, and even tell you about natural and historic sites to look out for. You might even discover pieces of history about your hometown that you never knew about.

8. Survey Those Surfaces

Whether you are taking the dog for a walk, or walking to the store, it is sometimes difficult to avoid concrete surfaces. However, hard surfaces like concrete can be harmful on your feet over time.[5] Consider choosing a walking route with plenty of grass, which have a much lighter impact on your feet. If you are walking long distances to stay fit, you might want to consider walking at the beach or in the woods.  

8. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Just as the load we carry can add to the pressure felt in our feet, so can our body-weight.[6] Maintaining a healthy body-weight is a common piece of advice given by doctors and specialists not only for reducing the risk of heel pain, but also to maintain fitness and help your body’s ability to recover from other strains and injuries.

Walking is a great way to keep fit, to go places and discover the world around us. However, if you are feeling the early signs of heel pain, consider steps above before the symptoms become worse. If you are worried or when it becomes severe, remember to always talk to your doctor. You will be on your way to recovery in no time.

 

[1] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/181453.php

[2] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/181453.php

[3] http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=22534

[4] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/181453.php?page=3

[5] http://patient.info/health/heel-and-foot-pain-plantar-fasciitis

[6] http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/heel-pain/Pages/Prevention.aspx