Heel pain is extremely common. Some estimates suggest that about half of all Americans struggle with it at one point or another. We’re not talking about minor aches and pains here, either, which we all experience to some extent. We’re talking about pain strong enough to stop you in your tracks, keeping you from enjoying your activities for hours, days, or even weeks at a time.
Fortunately, most successful heel pain treatments tend to be conservative in nature. In fact, you may find that a series of regular stretches can help relieve the tension in your heels and allow you to relieve some pain.
For example, tight calf muscles tend to increase or aggravate heel pain conditions like plantar fasciitis. Your calf, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia are connected to one another, and tugging at one end can cause pain at the other. Calf stretches are therefore often very effective at managing and preventing heel pain.
There are also a number of stretches you can try to relax or massage the plantar fascia more directly. For example:
- From a seated position on a chair, cross one leg over the opposite knee, then grab the biggest toe and pull it gently toward yourself.
- Sitting either in a chair or on the ground, wrap a towel or resistance band around the bottom of your foot and pull back with your hands as you push forward with your foot.
- From a chair, roll your foot over a round object. This could be a frozen water bottle, foam roller, tennis ball, golf ball, etc.
You may well find that daily stretching—both when you have pain and when you don’t—will slowly help loosen tight tissues, strengthen your supporting muscles, increase your range of motion, and ultimately help your body relieve and resist heel pain.
However, any heel pain that disrupts your daily life should be addressed by a specialist. Heel pain can have a complex set of causes. A podiatrist will help you evaluate what those causes are and provide a customized treatment plan as an effective remedy. To schedule your appointment with Foot & Ankle Clinic of the Virginias, give us a call today at (800) 456-8637.