HEEL PAIN - Exercises for Relief

The heel is the largest bone in our foot. Every mile we walk puts 60 tons of stress on each foot. Our feet can handle a heavy load, but too much stress pushes them over their limits. When we pound our feet on hard surfaces playing sports or wear shoes that irritate sensitive tissues, we may develop heel pain, the most common problem affecting the foot and ankle.

If it hurts under the heel, then it could be due to Plantar Fasciitis. Doing too much running or jumping can inflame the tissue band (fascia) connecting the heel bone to the base of the toes. The pain is centered under the heel and may be mild at first but flares up when after resting overnight. Strengthening and stretching exercise programs, including stretching the Achilles tendon, can significantly reduce pain and improve walking in people with plantar fasciitis. Here are six exercises that may be done without experiencing pain during this exercise.

1. Plantar Fascia Massage: Apply enough pressure to feel a gentle stretch, but not pain. Sit in a chair or stand with one foot resting on a small ball or frozen water bottle. A frozen water bottle is useful as the ice helps reduce inflammation. Gently roll the ball or water bottle forward and backward under the foot. Start at just below the ball of the foot and end just before the heel. Roll the ball or bottle back and forth slowly 10 times for each foot. Do two sets per foot.Do this exercise once daily.

2. Heel Raise: This exercise should be done slowly and with controlled movements. Make sure to maintain balance and hold on to a railing or other support if needed. Stand with the balls of the feet at the edge of a bottom step. With the heels hanging off the edge, slowly and gently lower the heels just below the edge of the step. Feel a stretch in the calf muscle. Slowly rise onto the balls of the feet. Repeat this 10 times, then rest. Complete two sets of this exercise. Do this exercise once daily.

3. Floor Sitting Ankle Inversion With Resistance: This exercise requires an elastic exercise band. Sit upright on the floor with legs straight out in front. Make sure to avoid any hip movement while doing this exercise. Place left leg over the right leg with a resistance band secured around the upper foot and looped around the bottom of lower foot. Hold the end of the band in the hand. Slowly move the upper foot (the one with the resistance band around it) away from the lower foot. To do this, rotate the ankle inward and slowly return it to the starting position. Repeat 10 times and complete two sets per foot. Do this exercise once daily.

4. Seated Toe Towel Scrunches: Keep the whole foot on the ground and that only the toes do the work of this exercise. Sit upright in a chair with one foot resting on a towel and spread the toes. Curl the toes to scrunch and draw the towel inwards 10 times. Do two sets per foot.

5. Seated Plantar Fascia Stretch:  Complete this stretch in a slow and controlled manner. Sit in a chair and cross one leg over the other knee, in a manner the ankle is on top of the other leg. With one hand holding the ankle and the other holding the toes, gently pull toes backward until a stretch is felt on the bottom of the foot. Hold this position for 20 seconds and repeat three times for both feet.

6. Wall-Facing Calf Stretch: Stand upright facing a wall at arm’s length and place the hands flat on the wall. Keeping both feet flat on the floor, extend one leg straight backward, bending the front leg until a stretch is felt in the calf of the back leg. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat three times for both legs.

Need more advice or treatment? Many health care experts at antarnaad are always here to help you out. Antarnaad is a growing network of experienced physiotherapists, dietitians, nutritionists, fitness trainers and Yoga experts providing treatment for all the conditions. For more information visit our website www.antarnaad.net or call our Consultant: Mb: 9899700187