Preventing heel pain

It is not always possible to prevent heel pain, but there are measures you can take to help avoid further episodes.

Healthy weight

Being overweight can place excess pressure and strain on your feet, particularly on your heels. This increases the risk of damaging your feet and heels.

If you are overweight, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight by combining regular exercise with a healthy balanced diet can be beneficial for your feet.

You can calculate your body mass index (BMI) to find out whether you are a healthy weight for your height and build.

To work out your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared. A BMI of:

  • less than 18.5 means that you are underweight
  • 18.5-24.9 means that your weight is healthy
  • 25-29 means that you are overweight
  • 30-40 means that you are obese
  • over 40 means that you are morbidly obese

You can also use the BMI healthy weight calculator to work out your BMI. Read more about obesity.

Healthy feet

You should always wear footwear that is appropriate for your environment and day-to-day activities.

Wearing high heels when you go out in the evening is unlikely to be harmful. However, wearing them all week at work may damage your feet, particularly if your job involves a lot of walking or standing.

Ideally, you should wear shoes with laces and a low to moderate heel that supports and cushions your arches and heels. Avoid wearing shoes with no heels.

Do not walk barefoot on hard ground, particularly while on holiday. Many cases of heel pain occur when a person protects their feet for 50 weeks of the year and then suddenly walks barefoot while on holiday. Their feet are not accustomed to the extra pressure, which causes heel pain.

If you do a physical activity, such as running or another form of exercise that places additional strain on your feet, you should replace your sports shoes regularly. Most experts recommend sports shoes should be replaced after you have done about 500 miles in them.

Read more about choosing sports shoes and trainers and tips for new runners.

It is also a good idea to always stretch after exercising, and to make strength and flexibility training a part of your regular exercise routine.

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