Stretches can be helpful, ice packs can be helpful, rest can be helpful (rest is potentially risky because you can’t rest too much or your muscles will get weak ). The bottom line is that there is no reason why you can’t have a go at treating arch pain & heel pain at home. There is possibly a little too much at stake to be excessively casual though so if you aren’t making rapid gains call someone! If you have undiagnosed pain it also safer to seek professional advice.
There is a small risk you could make yourself more sore but you won’t do any serious damage to your arch and heel. Most people find that they can massage quite deeply into their feet without a problem.
There are many determining factors behind the likely duration of treatment, whether there are tears or scar tissue, whether you doing exercises,whether you are a pronator, what type of flooring you have at work.. we could go on! Most people who come to us experience steady and consistent progress week on week, within a month they are much much happier almost without exception. To fully resolve their arch & heel pain from that point on expect another 1-2 months on average. Most have suffered pain from 3 months to 2 years and occasionally longer by the time they come to us, this is an indicator of how things can go without treatment.
Yes it can get worse but it can also get better.. just depends. Painful tissues are tissues that are suffering, if you aren’t getting better it is adviseable to be honest with yourself about it and seek help.
Across the spectrum of stubborn, non-life threatening aches & pains it’s generally better to lean more towards being active. Back in the day docs used to prescribe bed rest for people with back pain and now we know that breaks people!!!! These learnings apply to all aches and pains to some degree. Be gently and persistently active if you have pain including arch pain. The notes of caution are that you must know what the actual diagnosis is to be safe (you wouldn’t want to walk on stress fractures in the foot for eg.) and also listen to your body and don’t overdo it. Overdoing it usually makes your pain worse for days afterwards!
Some cases of arch pain & heel pain resolve spontaneously and never return. Many other cases appear to resolve but then come back repeatedly. Some cases become very stubborn and chronic refusing to shift until there is an aggressive treatment/management plan in place. We recommend you don’t leave any aspect of your health to pure chance, let alone areas that have caused you problems.
It’s quite rare, partly because eventually the pain makes many sufferers reduce their activity levels and seek professional help. There is only so much most of us will put up with when it comes to not being able to stand and walk without pain. We have met some unusually stubborn individuals who have just put up with arch pain for decades… they are hard to treat. The more proactive you are the more likely you will not end up with permanent arch pain & heel pain.
When we exercise, the amount of weight and force that land on your orthotics is many times what it is when you are merely sitting, standing and walking. Having a much stronger orthotic for times of more intense activity makes for the necessary level of correction.
When you are wearing casual or worn shoes things are different however. You will probably feel much better in a smaller more flexible orthotic that offers slightly less correction but a good deal more comfort.
Hands on treatment that breaks up scar tissue and increases blood flow is generally best strategy for arch & heel pain relief. Insoles and strength exercises for the leg and foot are the best treatment to prevent arch & heel pain from coming back.
Ice is best ! Heat can be soothing at the time that it is applied but don’t read too much into that fact. Cheeseburgers are temporarily soothing if you are feeling sad but it doesn’t mean they are good for you. Ice has miraculous healing powers for arch pain & heel pain sufferers, heat is the devils work.
We hope that’s been helpful.