Are there any good exercises for heel pain?

I get a lot of patients who ask me if there are any exercises they can do to alleviate their heel pain. It really just depends on the cause of the pain.  

If you have plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of the plantar fascia – a thick band of tissue in your foot that stretches from the heel all the way across the arch to your toes –then yes, there are exercises that can help.  But I don’t recommend trying to self-treat plantar fasciitis with exercise. Come in for an appointment first. We might also need to prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or orthotics to reduce the pressure. Plus, you don’t want to risk hurting that already inflamed and sensitive tissue with the wrong exercise.

 

Another cause of heel pain is Achilles tendinitis, or inflammation of the Achilles tendon (that tendon that stretches from the heel to the calf muscle.)  Moderate stretching can also help with this condition, but again, you should come in for a visit first. If the condition is caused by a too-short Achilles tendon, deformities of the heel bone or over-pronation, you’ll need more than just stretches to fix it.  

Pre-teens and teens can also experience a type of growing pain called Sever’s disease that shows up as heel pain. This, too, can be helped with moderate stretches.  We can also treat this with heel pads or cups, which act as a shock absorber; elastic wraps and compression stocking, which decrease any swelling and pain; as well as rest, applying ice, elevating the foot, and over-the-counter pain medication.

 

Of course, sometimes it’s exercise itself that’s to blame for heel pain.  When there is repetitive stress injury or you’re wearing the wrong shoes, it can cause heel pain.  

Exercise and stretching play an important role in healing many of the foot problems we treat. Call our office for an appointment so we can thoroughly evaluate your feet and make sure there aren’t other underlying issues. Then we’ll show you the proper types stretches to get you on the road to recovery.

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