Don’t Let Heel Pain Slow Down Your Holiday Season!
For many Dallas residents, the weeks surrounding the holidays are among the most active, exciting, and physically demanding of the year.
You yourself may be looking forward to events like:
- Attending holiday parties with friends, family, and work colleagues.
- Cruising all the malls and shopping centers for the perfect gifts.
- Taking advantage of the cooler weather to enjoy some outdoor fun—whether you’re participating in the mid-December Dallas Marathon or just enjoying some casual jogging or tennis.
- Joining a caravan of neighborhood carolers to spread some holiday cheer.
- Traveling across Texas (or the country, or the globe) to visit family in far-away places.
Of course, regardless of whether you’ll be home or abroad, running marathons, attending parties, or spending hours in the kitchen preparing the perfect holiday spread, you can’t afford to let heel pain slow you down!
So if you have a history of heel pain—or you’re starting to feel a characteristic ache near the back of your foot—make sure you take the appropriate steps to prevent or relieve it!
Not sure where to start? Here are a few of our top tips.
Wear the Right Shoes
You might be surprised (or perhaps not-so-surprised) to hear that poor footwear choices is an underlying factor in a huge percentage of heel pain cases.
And during the holiday season, you might be more prone than you normally are to wear shoes that don’t give your heels much reason to celebrate—think cute dress shoes for parties (that don’t fit), athletic shoes for activity (that aren’t for the correct sport), or old boots (that wore out their midsole cushioning years ago, and don’t get switched out for comfier shoes when you get back inside).
While it’s okay to, say, wear a pair of high heels once in a while for special occasions, you really don’t want to be walking around all day in shoes that aren’t comfortable or don’t provide the proper cushioning or arch support that you need.
Add Extra Support (if Necessary)
If you find that your heels are still aching even when you place them in high quality, comfortable, supportive, and well-fitting footwear, it might be the case that you need a little extra support.
Even with a great pair of shoes, there may be other factors at play preventing your heels from getting the support they need. One possibility is that your feet have an abnormal shape or structure, or your gait pattern is such that extra force and weight get transferred to the heels. Being overweight or obese is also closely linked with increased heel pain.
In these situations, the best course of action may be to get a pair of custom orthotics from the team at Texas Foot & Ankle Center. Unlike off-the-shelf cushioned insoles (which often provide little more than partial, temporary relief), our custom orthotics are made-to-spec for a specific diagnosis and set of feet, so you can trust that they’ll fit great and address the underlying causes of your heel pain as accurately as possible.
Give Your Feet a Break
Yes, we know—the holiday season is go go go. But you need rest, and so do your feet!
For starters, if you know you’re prone to developing heel pain while you’re out and about, be sure to give yourself some regular breaks throughout your day. After 45-60 minutes of shopping, working in the kitchen, or just about any active pursuit, give yourself permission to grab a seat and take a 5-10 minute break—even if your feet don’t yet hurt all that much. You might be surprised at how much better you feel, and how much longer you can go.
If you tend to be the athletic type—especially if you’re a runner or like to play high-impact sports—it’s also important that you work some “rest days” into your training schedule. For the same reason, we’d generally recommend that non-athletes also avoid planning multiple consecutive “on your feet all day” events.
When you don’t give your heels the chance to rest and recover after putting them under significant or extended stress, they never get the chance to recover and repair themselves. More pressure then just leads to more significant injuries.
For athletes, that may mean cross-training, with your “off days” consisting of low-impact work like weight training, cycling, or swimming. For non-athletes, try to balance more and less active days. For example, try following a long day of shopping or entertaining with a quiet day of reading or taking in a movie with family.
Another good tip is to make sure you’re stretching your feet and calves regularly. Tight calves can pull on the heel (and in turn, the plantar fascia underneath the foot), so keeping them lose can significantly reduce the amount of stress on your feet.
And don’t be afraid to pamper your feet a little bit! Give yourself a little foot massage at the end of the day, working up from the heels to the toes using strong, circular motions. You might also try rolling a tennis ball or cold water bottle under your arch, too.
If You’re Still Having Trouble, Give Us a Call
Heel pain is not normal. Not even during the holidays.
Common? Sure. But not normal. And if you find that simple techniques like switching your shoes, taking breaks, stretching, and the like aren’t able to keep your painful heels from slowing you down, make sure you give our team a call. We can help, and we want to make sure your holidays are filled with maximum cheer and minimum discomfort!
We already gave you one great reason to see us—custom orthotics. We’re not kidding when we say that they can provide significant relief for a large percentage of heel pain sufferers.
But every situation is a little different, and it may be the case that you’d benefit from additional or alternative treatments—physical therapy, injections, night splints (etc.).
Fortunately, you have a team of experts here that will always take as much time as necessary to properly evaluate and diagnose your problem, and fully explain the treatment options that are available to you so that you can make an informed decision about your health care.
So if you’re worried about heel pain ruining your holidays, give us a call today! You can reach our office at (214) 660-0777, or request an appointment online.
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1151 N. Buckner Boulevard, Suite 201
Dallas, TX 75218
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