Heel pain is an extremely common and potentially disruptive affliction that has many possible causes, including stress fractures, arthritis, nerve irritation, cysts, tendonitis and most often, plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the tissue that connects the heel to the toes becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes pain on the bottom of the heel that can continue to grow in intensity over time.
You may be prone to developing this painful condition if the mechanics of your feet aren’t ideal, such as flat feet or excessively high arches, or if you have poor alignment in your feet that causes you to walk on the inner or outer edges of your feet. Overweight individuals may be more likely to develop plantar fasciitis and it can occur from spending hours on the feet in shoes that offer little or no support.
Treatment options for plantar fasciitis included an effective stretching regimen, icing, footwear modifications, anti-inflammatory medications and weigh reduction to lessen the impact on the feet. More severe cases may be treated with additional padding and orthotic devices, the use of a walking cast, night splints and physical therapy. If you are experiencing heel pain, visit with one of our podiatry specialists to learn if you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fascia stretches
- One way the plantar fascia can be stretched is by pulling up on the foot and toes.
- Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds.
- Repeat 5 times and aim to stretch 3 times a day.
Plantar fascia stretch by rolling
- The plantar fascia can be stretched by rolling it over a round object such as a ball, weights bar, rolling pin or can
- Roll the foot repeatedly over the object, applying increasing downwards pressure.
- Using an object which can be cooled in the freezer, such as a bottle or can, also applies cold therapy at the same time!
Soleus muscle stretch
- In addition to the above stretch this one will stretch the Soleus muscle lower down in the back of the leg.
- Stand in front of a wall with the leg to be stretched just behind the other.
- Bend both knees and lean forwards slightly. Make sure you keep the back heel down.
- If you need more of a stretch, raise the toes on an object 1-4 inches tall or move further back from the wall.
Stretching on a step
- Stretch by standing on the edge of a step and slowly lower the heels down below the step.
- Start using both legs and progress to one leg at a time
- Hold for at least 15 seconds.
- You should feel a gentle stretch.
- Be careful not to over-do this one.