Heel pain is a symptom we see a lot at Solutions Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine. The first few steps after getting out of bed or after sitting in a chair can be excruciating. Walking down stairs can be painful in the morning as well. When it’s really bad it may make you not want to run and even stop you from walking for more than a few minutes. There are 2 common areas of heel pain: the bottom of the foot, and the top of the heel where the Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to it. Both of these issues are frequently due to irritated tendons and usually occur due to overuse. Fortunately, with relative rest and a couple key exercises, both of these symptoms can be resolved. Here are 2 easy exercises you can do to restore these tendons to health and start living without pain again.
Plantar Fascia Stretch
This stretches the plantar fascia and the tendon that attaches it to the heel on the bottom of your foot. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and do it 3 times a day.
Eccentric Heel Raise
This exercise increases the strength of your calf and your Achilles tendon. Even if your calf is strong, if the tendon is irritated, doing calf strengthening exercises will actually stimulate the healing process. Start with 2 sets of 10 reps, spending 3 seconds on the lowering part of the exercise. Work up to 3 sets and then increase the reps up to 15. Do these 3 days a week. Some mild pain is ok with this exercise and a lot of research suggests it actually helps the healing process. It should not be sharp and it should not be so bad that it makes you grimace.
The exercises above are great ways to start you living without pain again. However, if you’ve tried these and you’re still hurting, we’d love to help you! At Solutions Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine, we’re experts at evaluating heel pain and can help you overcome it.
Helping you live your best life,
The Solutions Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Team