Stretches for Painful Heels

If a sharp jolt of heel pain greets you now and then—and especially in the morning—you are not alone. Painful heels are common complaint, and plantar fasciitis is the number one cause. The stress of repetitive actions such as those found in running or added pressure from weight gain or pregnancy can cause damage or inflame the plantar fascia that runs beneath the arch of the foot to the heel, causing discomfort. Thankfully, heel stretches and other exercises can help prevent aggravating your plantar fascia and may provide some relief.

If your plantar fascia is plaguing you, one spot that may need some stretching is your calves. Tight calves and produce additional stress on the heel and, in turn, the plantar fascia. To help loosen those muscles, try the following stretch:

  • Place your right foot behind your left, about a couple feet apart.
  • Slowly begin to bend your left leg forward, keeping the right knee straight and the heel of your right foot on the ground.
  • Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, then release.
  • Repeat three times, then perform the routine again with legs switched.

There are also moves you can try to condition the plantar fascia itself, each which involves sitting in a chair:

  • Roll the bottom of your foot over a frozen water bottle or foam roller for a minute, then switch to the other foot (this one feels great!).
  • Place a folded towel beneath the arches of both feet. Take each end of the towel in a hand and gently pull the tops of the feet toward you, lifting legs up. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then repeat.
  • Cross one leg over the other, then grab the big toe of the top leg. Gently pull the toe toward you, holding for 15-30 seconds. Repeat a few times, then reverse leg positions and begin with the other foot.

Remember to ease into these exercises at first, slowly building up as you, your muscles, and your plantar fascia grow more familiar with them. If heel pain still plagues you, however, then make an appointment with Bloomington podiatrist Dr. Kevin Powers. We can help you get to the source of your discomfort and provide treatments such as orthotics and pain therapies that will bring your heels back to comfort. Simply call us at (812) 333-4422 to take the first step today.