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Heel pain is one of the most common ailments of the foot. The most common form of heel pain is a pain at the bottom of the heel. It tends to occur for no apparent reason and is often worse when placing weight on the foot. The pain can be a sharp, shooting pain or ulcerative pain or splinter like pain or present as a tearing feeling at the bottom of the heel. As the condition progresses, there may be a throbbing pain or there may be soreness that radiates up the back of the leg. Pain may also radiate into the arch of the foot.
CAUSES OF HEEL PAIN
* Irritation or inflammation of planter fascia (a thick ligament attached to the bottom of the heel and spread out into the ball of the foot, attaching to the base of the toes. The plantar fascia is made of dense, fibrous connective tissue that will stretch very little. It acts as a shock absorber)
* Spur growth on the heel bone (If the inflammation of planter fascia continues, the planter fascia partially tears away from the heel. The body will fill this torn area with calcium, developing it as a bone, resulting in a heel spur, calcaneal spur)
* Achilles tendonitis (Inflammation of achilles tendons. The Achilles tendons are the very largest, tough tissue found in lower legs and connect the calf muscles to the heel
* Being overweight
* Wearing shoes with poor foot beds
* Heel bone stress fracture
* Cyst or tumor on the heel
* Arthritis i.e RA, Gout
* Tarsal tunnel syndrome
* Abnormal arch of the foot
* Retrocalcaneal bursitis
* Tendoachilles bursitis
* Haglund's deformity
* Calcaneal epiphysitis
* Thining of bone
EXERCISES FOR HEEL PAIN-
Exercises to stretch the calf muscles may help. Here are some exercises:
* Sit in a chair, hold the leg out straight, and flex and extend at the ankle joint. Repeat 10 times on each foot.
* Stand facing a wall. Place the foot that has the heel pain behind the other foot. Keep the front knee bent and the back leg straight, with the foot on the ground. Pull the hips forward toward the wall until you feel a stretch in the calf of the lower leg. Repeat 10 times. If there is a pain in both heels, stretch both calves.
Home care can help get rid of heel pain that is not severe. This includes:
Rest: Avoid running or standing for long periods, walking on hard surfaces, and any activities that may stress the heels.
Ice: Place an ice-pack wrapped in cloth on the affected area for about 15 minutes, but not directly onto the skin.
Footwear: Shoes that fit well and provide good support are crucial, especially for athletes.
Foot supports: Wedges and heel cups can help relieve symptoms.
Prevention of heel pain involves reducing the stress on that part of the body. Tips include:
* wearing shoes when on hard ground, and not going barefoot
* maintaining a healthy body weight to reduce stress on the heels
* choosing footwear with heels made of a material that can absorb some stress, or using inserted heel pads
* ensure shoes fit properly and do not have worn down heels or soles
* avoid shoes that seem to trigger pain
* rest your feet rather than standing if you are susceptible to heel pain
* warm up properly before engaging in sports and activities that may place lots of stress on the heels
* wear suitable sports shoes for each task
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Gridhrasi is what Sciatica is known as in Ayurveda. It is the disorder that causes mild to agonizing pain in the sciatic nerve or neuralgia. These nerves, emerging from the pelvis, run along the hamstring and may cause intense pain in one or both the legs when a person suffers from Sciatica. Sciatic pains fill your life with misery as the simplest of daily activities cause sudden and excruciating pain. There are two types of sciatia i.e. true sciatica and pseudo sciatica. Sciatica may be caused due to bulging disc or herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, piriformis syndrome, pregnancy or trauma etc.
According to Ayurveda, Sciatica is caused due to impairment in Vata i.e. the dosha responsible for the functional ability and movement of the body, and also in some cases due to impairment in the Kapha i.e. the dosha that is responsible for body fluids and lubrication.
Ayurvedic herbs that improve the symptoms of Sciatica are :
1. Babunah is also known as Bitter Chamomile. Not only is it used to relieve and reduce the pain faced by a sciatica patient, but it is also used for treating problems such as rheumatism due to the advancement of age. Compressed bitter chamomile flowers are prescribed for sciatica.
2. Guggulu is also known as Indian Bdellium. Since guggulu is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it relaxes the sciatic nerves.
3. Rasna is also known as Vanda Orchid. Intense or agonizing pain due to the sciatic nerve issues can be reduced by this ayurvedic herb due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Juniper oil is extremely helpful when massaged onto the thigh muscles with firm strokes or pressure. It is used extensively in massage therapy for treating sciatica since the extent of reduction in sciatic nerve pain is tremendous.
5. Jaiphal is also known as Nutmeg. After being mixed with sesame seeds oil, nutmeg is coarsely powdered and then fried till it turns brown. This is then applied to those areas where the sciatic pain is intense for instant relief.
6. Kumari is also known as Indian Aloe. Properties of Indian Aloe are extremely helpful in treating lower back ailments such as sciatica and lumbago.
7. Shallaki is also known as Boswellia or Frankincense. Containing anti-inflammatory properties, shallaki is applied externally to get relief from sciatic nerve pain.
Ayurvedic preparations such as yogaraja guggulu, Vataganjakusha, Saindhavadi taila are also very useful in treating Sciatica.