Heel pain can make a workday seem to last forever. Sometimes, that discomfort can become so intolerable that you cannot walk. In this case, consider the complex structure of your foot. All of the tiny bones, ligaments and tendons can easily fall prey to injury, leaving you aching, and sometimes unable to even stand.

If you are suffering from pain in the heel you may assume that it is a heel spur – the most common cause of foot pain. However, what you may not know is that there are many other causes. Here are just a few.

5 of the most common causes of persistent heel pain:

1. Plantar Fasciitis

While heel spurs are the most common cause of heel pain, they are often associated with a painful inflammatory condition called plantar fasciitis. This is when the connective tissue that attaches the heel to the ball of the foot (plantar fascia) becomes inflamed, and it can be very painful – especially in the heel area.

2. Repetitive Actions

Many people suffer from heel pain as a result of overuse. As you exercise, lift heavy items, grocery shop, etc. your body repeats the same movements. Over time, this can increase your risk of developing heel inflammation or discomfort. People with the highest risk of heel pain caused by repetitious actions are athletes and workers who stand for more than eight hours a day.

3. High Impact Activities

There are a variety of physical activities that can potentially cause heel pain. Jumping from tall heights, stomping your foot, or even using some exercise machines can cause a high impact on the balls, heels, and entire surface of the bottom of your feet. If your lifestyle causes this type of high impact on the ground or other surfaces, consider purchasing insoles. This way, you can reduce the risk of deep bruising – the cause of most impact-related heel pain.

4. The Wrong Shoes

Women know that high heel shoes can cause extreme pain in their feet. But men can suffer from pain associated with the wrong shoes too! Running, shoes, outdoor hiking shoes, and other specialty shoes may seem to fit in the store, but once they hit pavement you may realize that the heel is too high. It happens all the time. Avoid this pitfall, and the heel pain it can cause, by keeping heel pad inserts in all of your shoes.

5. Arch Pain

Often caused by plantar fasciitis, pain in the arch of the foot can contribute to the development of heel pain. If you notice pain in this area first thing in the morning, or after sitting for a long period of time, it is known as “start-up” pain, and should be addressed quickly before it leads to heel pain.

Natural Solutions for Persistent Heel Pain

You can avoid an expensive trip to the doctor’s office by trying some of these at-home solutions for heel pain:
·Light exercise
·Water walking
·Orthotics
·Anti-inflammatory herbs & spices (turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and sage)

Many of the most common causes of heel pain are caused by impact, injury, or overuse. Show your tootsies some TLC, and try these foot-relaxing remedies.

Foot Stretch

·Place the ball of your foot on a tennis ball or other ball of similar size.
·Roll your foot up and down the ball, allowing it to relieve the pressure of tight foot muscles.
·Repeat on both feet, for 3-5 minutes.

Foot Soak Recipes

·Draw lukewarm water and fill a small tub or basin large enough to fit both feet.
·Add ¼ cup of Epsom salts to the water.
·Soak your feet for up to 15 minutes, and let the salts relieve muscle tension, aches, and pains.

Foot Rub

·Set aside a small amount of massage oil to use (olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil).
·Optional: 5-10 drops pain-relieving essential oils of thyme, rose, clove, bergamot, fennel, or eucalyptus added into the carrier oil of your choice.
·Place a small amount of oil in your hands, and rub hands together to warm them.
·Use the pad of your thumb to create small circles on the feet, applying gentle pressure to painful areas.
·Alternate feet for 10-15 minutes.

Treating your feet right every single day is the best way to keep heel pain away. However, if the pain persists after you have tried these natural treatments, talk with your doctor about prescription medications and other treatments that may work for you.