Heel pain can come on suddenly, and one of the primary ailments that is responsible for causing heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This is a common condition for runners, athletes, and for those who spend long hours on their feet all day, including postal workers, nurses, and teachers. It occurs when the wide band of tissue on the bottom of the foot (the plantar fascia) becomes irritated, torn, and inflamed.
One of the best ways to treat heel pain is to perform strengthening and stretching exercises when you first notice minor signs of pain and discomfort. If the condition has progressed to the point where the pain is severe, you need to stop doing the activity that is causing the pain and rest the foot. See your foot care professional right away for the best diagnosis and treatment.
Some excellent stretching exercises
These stretches will help prevent the plantar fascia from becoming overstressed and damaged by keeping the tissue flexible:
- Arch stretches—While sitting, place one foot across the other leg and pull backward on the toes to stretch out the plantar fascia.
- Step stretches—Stand on the edge of a step with your heels hanging off and slowly lower and then raise the heels to feel a stretch in your calf muscle and Achilles tendon. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat five times.
- Calf stretches—Face a wall with one foot bending forward and the other foot held straight back. Bend your knee in the forward foot until you feel a stretch and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
Some strengthening exercises to help with heel pain
Flexibility is important but keeping the muscles that supports the arch strong is also essential to avoiding future chronic problems with plantar fasciitis and many other feet and ankle problems. Excellent exercises for heel maintenance include calf raises, toe squeezes, picking up marbles with your toes, and towel scrunching exercises.
If you develop pain or discomfort in your heel that won’t go away, it is best to consult with a foot care specialist. We highly recommend that you consult our board-certified podiatrists Andrew Shapiro, DPM and Michael Barkin, DPM. With access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, we can assist you with heel pain, ankle sprains, diabetic foot care, toe deformities, nail fungus, and skin problems, among many other conditions. Our practice is conveniently located on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream to accommodate all your foot care needs. Call (516) 825-3860 or book an appointment online today!