5 Tips To Manage Psoriatic Arthritis Heel Pain
It's not unusual for pain to wake me in the early hours of the morning. Nine out of ten times, I wake to find my heels swollen and tender. Enthesitis is inflammation of the area where the ligaments and tendons meet and is common among people with psoriatic arthritis.
It can cause pain anywhere but is very common in the heel. It's one of my most stubborn symptoms- it was the last thing to leave when I'm doing well and the first thing to return in a flare.
Ways to make your feet feel better
Fortunately, there are lots of things doctors can do to help your heels feel better. They may recommend cortisol shots or prescribe special shoes or insoles. The treatments you might use to control your psoriatic arthritis, such as biologics, can also help.
But, there are also several things you can do to help too. When my feet are in rough shape, I take these five steps to help my feet feel better.
Prep your feet for socks
Everyone who knows me or has even been in the same room as me knows I'm a big fan of Bengay. I find various topical pain-relief creams to be very soothing. When my heels are acting up, I will gladly slather some on before putting on my socks. I mostly do this in the morning when my pain is worse, but I've also done this before bed or throughout the day as needed.
It's a good idea to check with your doctor before using a new topical, and don't use it over psoriasis. Always follow the directions on the packaging, and don't apply the cream more times per day than recommended.
You may find compression socks helpful and comforting. A lot of people swear by them, and I've had positive experiences with them.
Find a soft shoe
If you weren't prescribed special shoes for your enthesitis, you might want to be picky with your shoe choice while flaring. When my heels are flaring badly, I choose shoes with a nice, soft sole. The extra cushion in your shoes can be a nice shock absorber, taking extra pressure off your heels.
The best shoes, in my opinion, are the ones with padded insoles or that have a soft base made of materials like foam or flexible rubber and plastics.
I avoid flat shoes at all costs when my heels aren't doing so well. Ballet flats, thin flip flops, and converse sneakers are all cute options but irritate me because my heel is so unsupported. Chunky, soft bases are my personal go-to!
Wear them whenever possible
While I love to walk around the house in just socks or barefoot, I find it can be unpleasant after a while. The hardwood isn't kind to sore heels. Sometimes, even the shag carpet I have in my living room isn't enough cushion.
So when I'm in the house, I like to wear slippers with memory foam. They're so thick; I swear I'm at least a half-inch taller when I wear them! But they help from aggravating my feet further, and I would recommend wearing slippers for anyone dealing with PsA related heel pain.
Add inserts for extra cushion, if necessary
If you can't find soft enough shoes or if you need an extra bit of cushion, heel cups can be a lifesaver. They're little wedges of thick foam or gel that sit under your heel in your shoe. You can put them over orthopedic insoles if your doctor says it's ok: I always wear them over my arch support inserts.
My personal preference is foam ones because they feel a little extra soft and supportive, but try both to see which kind you like!
Pamper your feet
And last but not least, give your feet some special treatment when they're hurting. I love Epsom salt baths for my feet- they're so relaxing and make me feel a lot better.
You can also alternate using ice and heat on your heels while they're elevated. This special treatment can be very effective at treating enthesitis.
Do you experience pain in your heels?
While these steps don't take away all the pain, they help me reduce my heel's inflammation. Just reducing the swelling a little can be a big relief, and treating my feet well and wearing the right footwear has gotten me through some tough times.
Do you experience pain in your heels? How do you cope with it?
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?