An arrow flies towards a target located directly on someone's achilles heel.

My Achilles Heel Is Literally My Achilles Heel

An aspect of AS that is often overlooked is foot pain. AS can cause a lot of pain in the foot, especially the heel.

One of the symptoms I did not realize was related to my back problems is foot pain. The correlation between the two wouldn't have occurred to me before my diagnosis.

My heel pain

I feel pain at the base of my heel and at the back of my heel (the Achilles tendon). I also feel pain at the balls of my feet, although not as much as the base and back of my heels. My foot pain can vary from dull pain to throbbing, or from sharp pain to aching. Sometimes there is swelling or redness and sometimes there is both.

While I am receiving treatment for AS, there was nothing really targeted towards heel and foot pain. Through research, trial and error, and advice from others, I found some things that help relieve my foot pain. While these tips and tricks worked for me, they might not work for everyone, and that's okay. A lot of chronic illnesses look different from person to person and so do treatments and therapies.

Heel and foot pain relief things that work for me:

Doing 15-minute Epsom Salt foot soaks

They can be done in the tub or a basin, and are most effective with warm/hot water.
For me, doing these soaks at least twice a week helps relieve pain and swelling. I like to do these soaks for 15-minutes, but even 10-minutes will help.

Using orthopedic shoes or using orthotic insoles

These are prescribed or recommended after seeing a physician or can be purchased on your own.
However, they don't necessarily have to be orthopedic shoes or insoles. I've used orthotic insoles, but I have also bought walking shoes specially made for comfort. Any shoes with firm cushioning that are also comfortable, can help ease pain and pressure from standing and walking.

Wearing compression socks

These can be prescribed or purchased on your own.
The controlled pressure from the compression socks helps reduce swelling and promote blood flow. They don't have to specifically be compression socks, they can also be tighter socks that don't restrict blood flow.

Buying slightly bigger shoes

While I wear a women's size 7, I usually buy a size 7.5 (where available). I do this to account for any swelling or pain caused by the pressure of the fabric of the shoe. On days when my foot pain is worse, wearing a slightly larger shoe size helps alleviate any pressure, pain, or discomfort I feel.

Ice or heat

When my foot pain is bad, using ice (ice packs, cold compresses) or heat (heating pads, hot water bottles, warm compresses) helps reduce pain and swelling. This makes being on my feet easier and more manageable.

These are just a few of the things that have helped me with the heel and foot pain I experience due to AS.

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