Q: Is ice or heat better for heel pain?
One of the most common questions that I get, and most common thing that people get wrong, is the choice between using ice or heat on heel pain and other injuries. Many people default to putting heat on the injury. On the surface it makes sense, warmth is soothing to injuries. The only problem is that it can make inflammation worse.
Ice is a natural anti-inflammatory. When it is applied to an injury, such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis, it aids in reducing the inflammation. Ice can be applied throughout the day, however it shouldn't be applied for more than 20 minutes at a time and should stay for the balance of the hour.
Unfortunately ice is not very portable, especially in the heat of Houston. Topical analgesics, such as Biofreeze, can be used in the place of ice. Unlike other topicals, there is no heat component to Biofreeze and only have an icing effect. This reduces the inflammation and also provides an immediate analgesic effect.
If you are suffering from heel pain, start icing right away. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider to schedule an appointment. Together we will identify the source of your heel pain and develop a strategy to get the pain gone and keep it away.