While nobody would debate the health benefits of working out, occasionally, the link between exercise and heel pain becomes uncomfortably apparent. This may be due to plantar fasciitis, overuse injuries, improper footwear or poor form. Fortunately, there are a number of exercise solutions for heel pain. Here are some of the most common ones.
Exercise and Heel Pain Solutions
For best results, perform these exercises with bare feet.
- Place your hands on a wall that is located in front of you.
- Place one foot in front of the other.
- Keep both your heels flat on the ground.
- Bend both knees until you feel a stretch in your lower legs.
- Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
- Rest and repeat.
The next type of exercise and heel pain program makes use of a foam roller stretching routine. If you do not have a foam roller, you can also use a tennis ball or a rolling pin.
- Place the tennis ball, foam roller or rolling pin under your foot.
- Allow your foot and ankle to move in all directions over the object.
- Pain and inflammation can also be relieved by rolling your foot against a cold drink can.
Heel Pain Exercises using Tubing
Resistance band exercises can be very beneficial for heel pain. Since resistance bands are portable and affordable, you can take them with you wherever you go. When you wake up each morning, wrap an exercise tube around the ball of your foot, and curl your toes towards your shin. Hold for 30 seconds on each foot. Repeat three times.
Heel Pain Exercises Using Stairs
- Hold the stair-rail for support.
- Keep your legs slightly apart.
- Position your feet so that both heels are off the end of the step.
- Keeping your knees straight, gradually lower both of your heels.
- Lower until you feel a stretch in your calves.
- Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
- Raise your heels back to neutral.
- Repeat 6 times, at least twice a day.
Pen and Alphabet Heel Pain Exercises
- Place a pen on the floor.
- Attempt to pick the up the pen by curling all your toes around it.
- Once you grasp the pen, hold it for 5 seconds and repeat.
Additionally, you can spell out the alphabet with your big toe. Repeat this three times on each foot. Both of these exercises promote healing of the plantar fascia.
Causes and Prevention of Heel Pain
Heel pain is one of the most common types of foot pain. This sort of pain can be caused by exercise, daily work routines or recreational activities. In some cases, repetitive stress on the foot may be the root cause of heel pain. This is because the calcaneus or heel bone is the largest bone in the foot. Thus, when we walk, the heel bone is the first part of the foot that hits the ground. As such, it is responsible for supporting much of the body's weight. This makes the heel of the foot highly susceptible to injury.
There are a number of important structures that are involved in the development of heel pain. For example, the plantar fascia ligament runs along the sole of the foot. This band of fibrous tissue helps retain the arch of the foot by bending and contracting as we walk or run. The most common heel injury occurs when tears and inflammation develop along this ligament. Additionally, overuse injuries to the heel can also cause the formation of a spur on the heel bone. Bone spurs result in an outgrowth of calcium that extends from the heel bone. They tend to cause heel sensitivity with every step.
The Achilles tendon may also be responsible for heel pain. Damage to this tendon might deliver pain through tears and inflammation. However, it may also contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.You can avoid heel pain by:
- Maintaining a sensible weight
- Wearing supportive shoes
- Stretching your feet before getting out of bed
- Avoiding excessive exercise