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Icing for Heel Pain

Applying ice to an injury is done to reduce pain and swelling and can also be used on conditions such as plantar fasciitis, heel pain, heel spurs and other foot injuries. Plantar fasciitis injuries occur when the plantar fascia tissue in the foot becomes tears or becomes strained. This is usually the result of increased stress on the tissue from prolonged periods of standing, excessive and strenuous exercise as well as lack of exercise for the feet (usually due to a sedentary lifestyle). By applying ice to places of pain and swelling on the feet, conditions such as plantar fasciitis heal at a quicker rate enabling the effected tissue to return to its healthy state.

A number of different methods can be used to apply ice to affected areas. The most conventional way of applying ice is to use a zip lock bag (or something similar), fill it with crushed ice or ice cubes from the freezer. Add a little water to allow the bag to contour around the shape of the foot and apply over the troubled area. A second method of applying ice can be done without actual ice but by using packets of frozen food. If available you may be able to use packets of frozen peas (or similar food packet) to apply to the foot to reduce swelling and inflammation. When using either of these methods it is important to be aware of overexposing the skin to the ice. Keeping the ice on the skin for an extended period may cause other complications such as frost bit or damage (necrosis or deadening) of the skin tissue. The best way of minimizing this risk is to wrap the ice bag or frozen food packet in a towel before applying to the skin and refrain from leaving it on the skin for an extended period of time.
Commercial ice packs, cups, foam, and gel balls are also available as an alternative to using homemade ice packs. These products are made with special foams and gels that can either be placed in the freezer to chill until ready to use or are activated by a chemical reaction just before use allowing them to cool rapidly. Although these commercial ice packs usually don’t require any form of insulation or protective layer, as in the case of the homemade ice packs that need to be wrapped in towels, they still should not be used for extended periods of time to prevent damaging the skin.

When applying an ice pack the most effective time for best results is within two hours of first feeling the pain or experiencing the injury. By applying the ice pack early one you will notice a reduction in swelling and inflammation with 48 hours. During treatment it is important to remember never leave the ice pack on for extended periods of time. For most people 15 to 20 minutes is sufficient with a limit of 45 minutes being the maximum. At any point during its application, if you begin to experience numbness or a feeling of “pins and needles” remove the ice pack immediately and allow the skin to warm up naturally.

The application of these types of ice packs is known to be beneficial in reducing swelling and inflammation and thus aiding recovery from minor injuries. Should you continue to experience problems however, there may be the possibility of more serious problem in which case proper assessment from a qualified health care provider is recommended.

Or alternatively you can use a reusable hot and cold pack, view here


Icing for Heel Pain

Causes of Heel Pain

  • The most common cause of heel pain is over pronation, this is when your foot rotates in too much as you walk. You really need to treat the underlying cause of the heel pain as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to the plantar fascia. View the Dr Foot Sport Insoles which are for sport shoes or the Dr Foot Pro Insoles for everyday shoes.
  • Excessive load on the foot from obesity is a major cause of plantar fasciitis. Which is why this condition is common in middle aged and over weight adults.
  • A sudden increase in weight, such as pregnancy can also lead to plantar fascitis. In such cases a soft comfortable heel cushion works wonders, view the product here
  • A sudden increase in walking or a sporting activity can also be a contributing factor. A classic example of when this condition can develop is when a post man has returned to work after a period away from the job.
  • Tight plantar fascia (this is often caused by tight calf muscles). One of the most effective methods of stretching the fascia to speed up recovery is by using a unique product called the FXT night splint which allows you to sleep comfortably while gently stretching out the plantar fascia. View the product here
  • Excessive flattening of the arch on weight bearing i.e. flat feet. People with flat feet are more at risk of developing this condition, a simple orthotic in the shoe can prevent and treat heel pain for people with flat feet. View product here
  • Biomechanical problems (walking abnormalities) is a major cause of plantar fasciitis.
  • Different types of arthritis can also lead to this condition, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatments for Heel Pain

  • Orthotics- One of the most effective treatment options. View the Dr Foot Pro Insoles.

  • Silicone Heel Cups- Treats morning heel pain and provides excellent support and pain relief. This product combines a pressure relieving heel spur cavity with a well designed heel cup.
  • Reusable Hot and Cold Gel Packs- Proven therapy for plantar fasciitis by alternating application of hot and cold, coupled with massage, works wonders to relieve pain, reduce swelling and promote healing. Use ice pack in the morning and heat pack in the evening.
  • Plantar Fascia Night Splints - Immobilizes and stretches fascia and can be effective if used for several weeks. It holds the foot and toes in a flexed position throughout the night, stretching the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis. Several scientific studies of night time splints report complete relief after 4-12 weeks of wear.
  • Stretching exercises for plantar fascia and Achilles tendon - Can provide effective results if combined with other treatment options.(click here to view recommended exercises)
  • Stretching aids- The Pro Stretch stretches the foot in the proper position to relieve heel pain. One of the most effective treatment options for plantar Fasciitis is stretching. Tightness in the Achilles tendon and the calf muscles increases the prevalence of plantar Fasciitis. This is due to tightening in these muscles, which increases dorsiflexion (upward movement) of the large toe and stretches the plantar fascia causing it to inflame. click here to view product.
  • Ultrasound and Lasers- Found to have little or no benefit.
  • NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)- These treat the symptoms and provide temporary relief but do not treat the underlying cause.
  • Steroid/local anesthetic injection- Not one of our preferred treatment options, click here to view image.
  • Surgery- 'Open' or endoscopic plantar fascia release. No good evidence of effectiveness and complications include increased pain, nerve injury, fascial rupture and infection.
  • Heel Protector - Shock Absorption and Ankle Support in one lightweight unit! The Heel Protector is a dynamic and revolutionary new combination of Heel Cups shock absorption technology and the comfort and stability of a lightweight neoprene ankle support. View Here

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"I love the Dr Foot Sports Insoles! I am an avid runner, with over-pronation and a family history of foot and leg pain. The Dr Foot Sports Insoles make running possible for me. I've tried many other insoles and none of them work as well as Dr Foot. I'm currently training for my second marathon, and my Dr. Foot Sports Insoles are protecting me from injury. Thank you!"

Miss Smith Michigan, USA