Should you use a really comfortable cushion to soothe your heel condition?

Certainly, putting a cushion under a heel spur can temporarily soothe heel spurs and/or plantar fasciitis. However, this is similar to taking an aspirin and will likely only provide temporary relief. Rather than putting a pillow under the foot, a better method is to properly support the arch of the foot. Thus, tension on the plantar fascia is relieved. This is a more sensible approach to relieving pressure on the point where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel. This excessive tension is what actually leads to heel spur formation.

Secondly, you must “cup the heel” with an orthotic containing a heel cup that elicits side pressure and squeezes your own natural fat pad. This side pressure molds the fat pad into a cushion under the heel. Most heel spur sufferers have somehow compressed and flattened out their fat pad, subjecting the heel to undue stress and increased inflammation.

Other important factors to consider:

1. You must never ever go barefoot, even in the shower. It is imperative that you acquire some rubber supportive massage sandals with little massaging bumps to wear in the shower. Keep them by your bed, and slip your feet into them first thing in the morning. This keeps your heels from ever touching the floor.

2. You must never allow inflammation to build up in the plantar fascia. Therefore, if you get sore during the day, make sure to soak your feet in ice water at night for 10 to 15 minutes. This works better than cortisone shots.

3. You must have great flexibility in your achilles tendon and calves because tightness there is transmitted to the plantar fascia as a compensatory effect. Therefore, after walking or warming the calves somehow, you must stretch them while wearing shoes with a good supportive orthotic (never barefoot and never with your muscles cold).

4. The last and very important issue is going to a deep-tissue massage therapist who can work to loosen the plantar fascia and elongate the muscles of the calf, particularly one called the posterior tibialis, which is quite often involved in the formation of heel pain problems.

If you wear a good custom or over-the-counter orthotic, a good rubber-soled shoe and you follow the above instructions, you have the best chance of keeping your heel spur/plantar fasciitis issues under control.

Dr. Brad Lustick, D.C., is founder and CEO of Back Be Nimble (http://www.backbenimble.com). After 10 years as a successful practicing chiropractor, Dr. Lustick was severely injured in an automobile accident. His injuries resulted in an inability to continue active practice, but strengthened his commitment to help others deal with and overcome chronic neck and back pain. So, in 1994, Dr. Lustick, in partnership with his wife, Rose, opened Back Be Nimble to share knowledge of the back and body with the public by selling products for self-care, relief and prevention of pain and suffering. Back Be Nimble endeavors to provide customized solutions and specific items needed to improve comfort and relieve pain.

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