Kim Holistic Foot & Ankle Center

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Podiatrist’s Blog 2 – RICE for HEEL PAIN

Welcome to KimFootandAnkle.com based in Long Beach, CA and world-wide on the web, your source for all things heel pain-related. The 9 home remedies in these blogs constitute a simple, effective plan; all you have to do is follow them in order from #1 to #9. I attribute my heel’s recovery to the fact that I implemented treatments, like stretching and self-taping, right away.  This is just 1 of the 9 helpful home remedies you will learn about in these blogs.

REMEDY #1: RICE

The key to recovery is RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression/Cushioning, and Elevate, in addition to time and over-the-counter or herbal anti-inflammatories.  This is the first thing you need to do after noticing pain in your heel and may often be all you need to eliminate the problem. The main objective is to eliminate or reduce the inflammation.

RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate:

  • Rest immediately! Stay off your feet as much as possible to reduce the wear and tear.                                                                                                * Consider them broken! Rest immediately upon any sign of heel pain. Do not put any more stress on the foot. Taking breaks and resting will decrease the pain, while giving your foot the time it needs to recuperate. Do everything you can to reduce the wear and tear on your feet, at least for now
  • Use Ice as an anti-inflammatory to reduce pain.       *But ONLY within the first 24-28 hours of the injury. Ice restricts blood flow, when applied to the injured area, and decreases the amount of bleeding to reduce swelling. The cold temperature slows down cell metabolism and so lessens the chance of cell death. This is an anti-inflammatory treatment and can reduce pain by dulling the sensory nerves.
  • Compression (via taping) provides more cushioning for the heel, as do heel cups, pads, and gel inserts.
  • Elevate the injured foot above your heart to reduce swelling and drain the inflammatory agents that can cause pain. Use heel lifts to lessen the pull on the calf muscles.       *Over-the-Counter Medicines for fighting heel pain include Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Anacin, Tylenol and Bayer aspirin. Herbal Anti-Inflammatories are a more preferable alternative. Check with an herbalist or nutritionist for a recommendation. Herbs with anti-inflammatory properties include: arnica, boswellia serrata extracts, curcumin/turmeric, dandelion, ginger, goldenseal, gotu kola and holy basil.

ACTION STEPS FOR RICE!

  • No standing, no walking, no running, no climbing, no going barefoot, and no hard surfaces.
  • Wrap ice in a thin towel or moist washcloth and ice the injured area for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. A bag of frozen peas or corn is good substitute for an ice pack.
  • Compress the foot with low-dye taping to bulge the pad on your heel toward the bottom to create extra cushioning. Further protect the heel from shock and damage by cushioning it with heel cups, heel pads, and gel inserts.
  • Raise the foot higher than your heart, while sitting and sleeping, by putting pillows underneath it. Wear heel cups, pads, and shoe inserts to lift the heel and release tension from tight calf muscles.
  • Take over-the-counter and/or herbal anti-inflammatories for pain relief.

Heel pain, and plantar fasciitis in particular, is not something that happens overnight. Fortunately, it does respond to treatments one can do at home. In fact, conservative nonsurgical treatment is often the only thing you need for heel pain. It can be successful up to 90% of the time. Recovery time frames vary for everyone; mild cases can be healed after just a few weeks of treatment, while serious cases may take up to three months or longer. As long as you have the patience to work with your condition, you are much more likely to avoid surgery. Sometimes it may feel like all this effort is a waste of your time, but your body will probably thank you in the long run. Read my next podiatrist’s blog to learn all about the importance of soaking your feet.

 

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