Podiatrist (Foot and Ankle Specialist) Questions Heel pain

Can bath salts help in treating heel pain?

I feel a lot of pain within my heels. I think it's because I walk a lot for my job in the city. Can soaking my feet in water with bath salts help in treating heel pain?

13 Answers

Warm salt baths can be therapeutic for your sore feet, so you're welcome to try soaking them for 20 mins daily. That being said, treating heel pain effectively requires a professional evaluation and treatment plan.
Typical heel pain is a bio mechanical condition that is usually caused by a muscle imbalance and overuse type injury. Soaking the feet will make it feel better, but you need an evaluation to determine the cause of the heel pain so the appropriate treatment can be rendered. I recommend you make an appointment for evaluation with a podiatrist
Soaking will help initially, but is not a long term solution. Generally what is needed is appropriate support
Soaking the foot can give her some relief but in order to have the resolution of heel pain a person needs a accurate diagnosis.
Epson salt foot soaks have a long history of relieving symptoms of pain in joints and muscle tenderness.
Some find relief with that. Others need more aggressive treatment such as inserts, injections, oral medication, icing, stretching and even sometimes surgery.
The heat from warm water may make your feet feel better, but you are actually drying the skin out. Most pathologies do better when you ice them to decrease inflammation. Soaking in warm water or using hot compresses will increase inflammation and can increase pain
Heel pain can be due to multiple causes. The most common being a condition called plantar fasciitis which is an inflammation of a band of tissue on the bottom of the foot that supports the arch of the foot. It is unlikely that bathing in salt and water will have any significant long-term effect on relieving your discomfort. It may feel good temporarily but in general it will have no therapeutic benefit. On the other hand ice massage to the area 10 to 15 minutes at a time several times a day is much more beneficial. I would recommend you see a sports Podiatrist who can evaluate your condition and determine what the most appropriate form of treatment would be. It may be as simple as changing your shoes to a more supportive shoe, doing stretching exercises, taking some anti-inflammatory medication, or possibly making a foot orthotic to go in your shoe. This can be best determined by seeing a sports podiatrist.
I have seen that help.. but saying that I don’t think that is the long term answer. See your local Podiatrist for an exam
Epsom salt foot baths help with many ailments of the feet. They can help to relieve muscle tension and are often used by those who have tired, achy feet by the end of the day. Heel pain in and of itself can occur as a results of many etiologies and usually require medical attention for proper plan and treatment. Salt soaks may reduce the pain temporarily, but often times will not be the definitive treatment for the heel pain.
Bath salts don't have an effect on the pathology in heel pain unless the discomfort is caused by some type of skin lesion. The bath salts do not penetrate through the skin. The skin is a great barrier that acts to keep harmful solutions and toxins from penetrating the skin where they could be dangerous to the individual.

Soaking the foot in warm water that is not too hot will increase blood flow to the area bringing more of the body's own healing elements to the area being soaked. So, the increase in local temperature is what helps heal any damage, not the bath salts.

A word of warning. Individuals with compromised circulation, especially patients with diabetes, must be vigilant about water temperature. Individuals with decreased circulation will burn at a lower temperature than patients with normal circulation.

Rod Tomczak, MD, DPM, EdD
Warm water soaks and gently rubbing/massaging the heels may help alleviate the pain, but the salts will have no beneficial effect.
Some people enjoy soaking. I have not usually found this to be helpful. Typically icing will give more relief. Do not ice for more than ten minutes at a time and do not apply ice to bare skin.