If you are injured, the first thing you should do is look at your activity levels and modify them if needed. Heel pain can be tricky because the average person takes about 3000 to 4000 steps per day. After all, how do you modify what are often essential steps in your day to day life? You can’t not pick your children up from school, or avoid racing to a meeting or stop doing the weekly grocery shop. So bear these rules in mind to help you decide what activity you can modify.
Pain is a survival process. It’s simply an output from the brain and not an input from the body. Read that again if you want to, as it is pretty full-on in its implications. The purpose of pain is to protect you from perceived (and often justified) risk of injury. It motivates you to do something in order to protect a body part.
This is where it gets tricky. The more pain you perceive to feel, the more you strengthen those neural pathways in your brain. It’s like carving a groove through the snow while skiing down a mountain - the more times the same path is travelled, the easier it is to fall into the same groove. Lucky for you, your body has a secret weapon to help combat this. Which takes us nicely to Rule #3…
Exercise can protect you against pain and it’s important for your well-being and recovery. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins trigger a positive feeling in your body to reduce your perception of pain, similar to that of strong painkillers.
So when you are cursing your heel pain and resenting that your every day activities seem to make it worse, bear these three rules in mind. Pain is not the enemy here and you can manage your pain and your response to it. This also means listening to your body and slowing down when you need to.
You can also play tricks with your brain – and your perception of pain. By reflecting on the rate of your activities, comparing activities
so that you are not always doing the same things, and surprising your body (and its pain receptors) by switching it up – you can help to
manage your existing heel pain.