4 Exercises to Relieve Heel Pain

Heel pain. You know it as the sharp, stabbing sensation in the bottom of your foot. While you may eventually need surgery to completely get rid of your heel pain, there are lots of ways you can manage it conservatively in the comfort of your own home. 

Our experienced and dedicated podiatry specialist, Dr. Kelly Geoghan, knows that heel pain can strike at any moment and stay with you throughout the day. That’s why we’re sharing our top four favorite stretching exercises to relieve heel pain wherever, whenever. 

Getting to the bottom of your heel pain

Your heel is a complicated structure in your body. A series of nerves, bones, tendons, and ligaments all come together at your heel and are responsible for supporting your legs and ankles and propelling your steps. 

Considering the amount of weight and impact your heels endure every day, it’s no surprise that heel pain has many possible causes. 

Some of the most common culprits behind heel pain are:

The leading cause of heel pain, however, is plantar fasciitis. This occurs when the long tendon that runs the length of your foot called the plantar fascia becomes irritated and inflamed. 

No matter what’s at the source of your heel pain, Dr. Geoghan offers comprehensive treatments, including:

Dr. Geoghan also provides you with pain-relieving tools and strategies like stretching exercises. Gently stretching the muscles in your lower leg and the tendons in your feet helps to relieve tension and reduce pain. 

Here are the four best stretching exercises to do when your heel is hurting. 

#1: Calf stretch

Stand at arm’s length from the wall, placing your right foot behind your left. With your hands bracing you on the wall, slowly and gently bend your left leg forward, keeping your right knee straight and your right heel on the ground. 

Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds, then release. Repeat this three times and then switch legs. 

Calf stretches like this one target the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in your calf, releasing tension and reducing your heel pain. 

#2: Foot roll

Find a chair that allows you to comfortably sit upright. Then roll your foot gently back and forth on a round object like a frozen water bottle, ice-cold can, or foam roller. Do this for about one minute before switching to your other foot. 

This exercise acts as a therapeutic massage and effectively reduces your heel pain. 

#3: Big toe stretch

In a comfortable seated position, cross one leg over the other. Grab onto your big toe and gently pull it toward you, holding for 15-30 seconds. Repeat this three times before switching toes. 

#4: Towel stretch

This is similar to the calf stretch, except that you use a chair and a towel instead of a wall. 

Fold a towel lengthwise to make a strap. Then while seated, place the folded towel under the arch of your foot. Grab the ends of the towel with both hands and gently pull your foot towards you. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds and then switch to the other foot. 

These types of stretching exercises can effectively and conservatively ease muscle tension and pain in your heel. However, it’s important that you always consult Dr. Geoghan before trying a new stretch to avoid exacerbating your condition. 

When you’re ready to walk away from heel pain, contact our Lutherville, Maryland office to learn about more stretching exercises as well as all your heel pain treatment options.

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