Heel Pain Relief
Heel pain usually refers to pain caused by plantar fasciitis, a condition that is also known as heel spur syndrome if a spur develops in the heel. Heel pain can also be caused by tendonitis, arthritis, bone fracture, nerve inflammation, or even a cyst in rare cases.
There are many conditions that can cause heel pain, so it’s critical to have your heel diagnosed by a medical professional. Your primary care physician should be able to perform a physical examination and determine the potential causes of the pain and discuss the possibilities surrounding treatment. Your doctor may refer you to a podiatrist (doctor specializing in conditions affecting the feet.)
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the tissue band (plantar fascia), which extends from the heel to the toes. Inflammation of the fascia is often caused by arthritis or other conditions that cause inflammation of bones, cartilage, and ligaments. However, trauma or injury can also cause heel pain, and chronic overactivity may also result in inflammation of the fascia.
Heel Pain Causes
The most common cause of heel pain is abnormalities in the structure of the foot. Physiological changes to the foot, such as high arches or notably flat feet, can make individuals susceptible to inflammation of the heel. Obesity and jobs requiring prolonged standing can also contribute to unnecessary stress on the heel, driving inflammation, and eventually causing pain.
Heel pain can occur solely from injury or overuse. High-intensity sports can induce inflammation of the tendons and tissue involved in the foot, especially in soccer and basketball, where sudden and dramatic changes in direction occur. Walking incorrectly can also lead to unnecessary stress on one or both of the feet, causing pain and inflammation.
Diseases such as arthritis can cause inflammation of the foot joints. Arthritis has many forms and doesn’t simply refer to one disease. Reactive arthritis is the pain and inflammation of joints due to an infection that may originate from somewhere else in the body, such as the stomach. Ankylosing spondylitis is inflammation of the spine and can affect other areas of the body, including the hands and feet, causing pain. Osteoarthritis or osteoporosis could be affecting the foot bone itself, causing degeneration of the bone and joints that may lead to permanent physiological changes to the foot and chronic pain.
Sometimes heel pain doesn’t have an explanation or underlying cause. The symptoms may improve on their own with careful use and active rest. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can result in reduced inflammation and prevent obesity, which can certainly help relieve heel pain.
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis are:
- Pain on the bottom of the heel
- Pain in the arch of the foot
- Pain that is usually worse upon arising
- Pain that increases over a period of months
- Swelling on the bottom of the heel
The pain from plantar fasciitis may get worse with activity or after sitting for long periods. Active rest is recommended because gentle stretching and use of the fascia helps alleviate inflammation and reduce pain. Long periods of inactivity can stiffen the fascia, making it very painful whenever you get up to walk or move around.
Heel Pain Relief Treatment
Treatment of heel pain usually begins by a primary care physician performing a physical examination and questionnaire to help determine what may be responsible for the pain. Most cases of heel pain are treated by efforts to reduce inflammation and further injury by taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and avoiding strenuous activity. In severe cases, corticosteroid injections have been required to reduce the inflammation of the heel. Applying ice can also help lower inflammation and provide brief pain relief.
Your doctor may refer you to a foot specialist to evaluate the foot and decide if you could benefit from orthotic devices that go into your shoe and alleviate pressure from the heel spurs and reduce stress on the Achilles’ tendon. Good fitting running shoes can provide pain relief by reducing inflammation from soft and proper cushioning. In rare cases, surgery may be performed to repair the heel.
CBD for Heel Pain Relief?
Cannabidiol or CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis that may provide pain relief without a high that’s commonly associated with smoking or consuming cannabis. CBD is typically extracted from hemp and processed into oil or infused into various products ranging from topical creams to food and drink. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive cannabinoid known for producing the euphoria and high after consuming cannabis. CBD differs from THC in various ways, but the main difference is that CBD doesn’t produce a high or euphoria, providing pain relief without intoxication.
The FDA only sees CBD as a treatment for seizures in two rare forms of epilepsy under the pharmaceutical “Epidiolex.” However, recent studies have suggested that cannabinoids like THC and CBD possess enormous potential in providing symptom relief for a variety of conditions, particularly those causing pain and inflammation. More research is needed to establish CBD’s efficacy in treating pain and inflammation definitively, but most studies are finding that CBD does appear to possess analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. With this in mind, CBD may be able to provide heel pain relief, but we cannot say for certain yet.
Why Is CBD Becoming So Popular?
CBD has recently exploded in popularity, and you may be wondering why. Due to a devastating opioid crisis in the U.S., people are seeking safer alternatives to provide pain relief instead of highly addicting opioids, especially for chronic pain. Current non-prescription pain medications primarily include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and naproxen (Alleve). NSAIDs aren’t effective for everyone and come with severely adverse effects when used in the longterm like stomach bleeding, ulcers, and liver damage.
Clinical research has also demonstrated that CBD has enormous potential in treating various conditions, including oxidative stress, inflammation, cancer, pain, psychiatric disorders, and many more. While we don’t know CBD’s entire effect on the body, we do know that it indirectly interacts with cannabinoids receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a large and complex system responsible for various biological functions, including homeostasis, pain sensation, mood, appetite, memory, sleep, immune function, and more. THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids may be revolutionary to treating pain, inflammation, and various physical and psychiatric disorders because they are well tolerated by the body and don’t appear to produce severe adverse side effects in the majority of individuals.
The recent 2018 Farm Bill also federally legalized the sale and growing of hemp and hemp-extracts. Hemp is cannabis Sativa grown without the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. This matters because hemp and hemp-derived CBD products must contain less than 0.3 percent THC to be considered legal commodities. If a hemp plant produces more than 0.3 percent THC, then it’s considered as marijuana and subsequently illegal. Cannabis or marijuana remains a schedule 1 substance, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), meaning it’s illegal to grow, sell, buy, or possess in the United States. However, several states have already legalized both recreational and medicinal use of cannabis, with many states slowly catching onto the legalization movement. Always check with your state and local laws regarding the purchase of CBD products as they do vary by state.
How To Take CBD for Heel Pain
Taking CBD By Mouth
CBD products that are taken by mouth include CBD oil, capsules or edibles. This method is great due to convenience and since most oils and capsules are accurately dosed. Edible strengths vary and aren’t always accurate unless you consume the entire pastry or candy. The drawback to this method is that the effects will take longer to kick in due to the slow digestion process. However, to bypass this, you could take the CBD sublingually since it enters the bloodstreams much quicker.
The sublingual method requires CBD oil to be dropped under the tongue where it sits for at least a minute to quickly diffuse into the bloodstream. The only problem with this method is that you may not be comfortable with the taste of the CBD oil or tincture.
Taking CBD Topicals
The next most common way to take CBD would be applying a CBD-infused topical product onto the heel locally. CBD-infused topicals usually come as creams, balms, or salves and contain additional ingredients mean to boost the pain-relieving effects of CBD. Always read the ingredients label to ensure your product contains quality-sourced CBD and is free of anything that would cause you to have an allergic reaction. CBD topicals have not been studied and there’s no confirmation on whether they actually go through the skin. However, since CBD is well tolerated, you could try it out and if it doesn’t work no harm done.
Best Dose Of CBD For Heel Pain Relief
We can’t give you the best dose of CBD for heel pain because it’s entirely subjective and dependent on various factors such as weight, pain severity, metabolism, genetics, product type, CBD quality, and more. What worked for your best friend may do absolutely nothing for you, so it’s important to remain observant and play around with the dose to determine what works best for you. There’s no concern with overdosing as CBD is well tolerated by most people, and even clinical research has found that CBD produces little to no toxicity.
Even though it’s rare for CBD to produce adverse side effects, certain medications or genetic factors may impact the way your body processes CBD or combined medications. There have been no deaths that have been confirmed to be caused by CBD, and most people don’t experience life-threatening side effects when taking CBD.