Heel Pain ExercisesHeel pain exercises can often be necessary for those suffering from discomfort in the foot. Heel pain exercises are usually helpful for some of the most common causes of heel pain, particularly plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. The pain experienced in the heel is often caused by tissue damage in the plantar fascia ligament, which is the bowstring-like ligament that stretched across the bottom of the foot from the heel bone (calcaneous) towards the toes. When tears and inflammation develop, exercises can be used to relieve some of the discomfort of pain and to strengthen the fascia to help prevent additional damage.
Exercises sometimes be the cause of heel pain. Overuse is among the most common causes of heel pain and exercises are often the source. Exercises can cause heel pain through repetitive and excessive stress placed on the heel of the foot, causing the plantar fascia ligament to become overworked or damaged. With such stress, many steps should be taken during exercise to help prevent damaging the foot, including warming up by stretching before as well as after a routine, wearing supportive and properly fitting shoes, and easing into an increasingly difficult routine.
Once heel pain has developed, from either overuse or from other factors such as biomechanical problems, heel pain exercises can be used to ease discomfort. Through various exercises the areas that contribute pain can be stretched which makes the tissue stronger and more flexible, helping to not only ease pain, but also to prevent further occurrences of pain. The specific areas that should be addressed during exercise are the plantar fascia ligament as already mentioned as well as the Achilles tendon and calf muscles which can often add stress on the fascia if they are tight, particularly during running or any of type of exercise.
A couple important exercises designed to ease discomfort are listed below. Although these can be valuable, when used in combination with other treatment techniques, such as with HTP Heel Seats, there are even greater chances for long-term relief.
Heel Pain Exercise - #1
Place your hands on a wall in front of you while placing one foot in front of the other. Keeping both your heel flat on the ground, bend your knees so that you can feel the lower part of the leg stretch. Hold this position for about 15 seconds and repeat this stretch several times.
This exercise is useful in stretching the lower leg, particularly the muscles in the calf and the Achilles tendon. By doing this, it can release tension not only in the lower leg, but also tension and stress placed on the plantar fascia.
Heel Pain Exercise - #2
Another simple exercise is taking a tennis ball, rolling pin, or other small rolling device and placing it under the foot. Next, roll the foot over the ball or rolling pin, allowing the device to slide over the bottom on the foot.
Despite its simplicity, this exercise is useful for stretching the plantar fascia. By doing this, you are making it more flexible and can help relief not only tension for moderate amounts of pain. Regularly doing this exercise helps to keep the ligament flexible and strong.
Strengthening the muscles in the foot will aid in the long term treatment of plantar fasciitis and prevent the condition from returning. By having strong stabilization muscles in the feet, the gait of your walk and run will be improved. A main cause of plantar fasciitis is an uneven gait and pronation. This exercise uses marbles to strengthen the muscles in the foot to prevent plantar fasciitis and heel pain.
Sit in a chair with both feet in front. Scatter small pebbles or marbles so that they can be picked up with your toes. Place a water glass or mug in the slightly out front of you and try to pick up the marbles with your toes. After picking up a marble, grip with your toes and try to place it in the mug.
This may be difficult at first, as some of the small stabilization muscles in your feet may be weak. Try to pick up as many marbles as you can with one foot, then spread out the marbles in the mug for the other foot. Be sure to do this exercise on both feet even if only one foot is affected with plantar fasciitis. Try to do 3 times a week for 5- 10 minutes and as your feet become stronger, increase the amount of time and frequency.
Wall Stretch V2
Stretching both the calf muscle and soleus muscle, which is the muscle that is underneath the calf muscle, will prevent tightness along the achilles tendon and into the feet. This variation on the wall stretch targets the soleus muscle.
For this exercise you will start with both feet together, placing both hands on the wall in front of you for support.
Keeping your feet forward with both feet together, take one foot and place it about 4-6 inches from the original position to the front.
Evenly distribute your weight on both feet, and slowly squat down about 8 inches, leaving your heels on the ground. Squat down to a comfortable position that can be held for 20-30 seconds, and where a good stretch along the backs of the heels and calf muscles can be felt. Stand back up to the center and repeat on the other leg.
Wall Stretch V1
Another great stretch to treat plantar fasciitis, heel pain and achilles tendoniitis is another variation on the wall stretch.
For this exercise you will start with both feet together, placing both hands on the wall in front of you for support.
Take a large step forward with your toes about 2-3 inches away from the wall. Shift your weight onto the front leg and bend at the knee, keeping the back leg straight and both heels on the ground. Using the wall for support, lean forward into the wall and feel the stretch along the back leg and calf.
Return to a neutral position and repeat on the other side. Be sure to keep the back leg straight and the front knee in a bend. Holding this stretch on each side for 20- 30 seconds and repeating 3 times on each leg will loosen tight calves which are a major contributing factor to heel pain and plantar fasciitis.
Calf and Foot Strengthening Exercises
Strengthening your calf muscles and foot muscles will prevent plantar fasciitis and other types of heel pain. By strengthening your muscles, your stride when walking will improved and pronation can be corrected.
Standing on a stair with one hand on a wall or railing for support, keeping the toes on the stair and letting the heels hang. Gain balance in this position, then slowly lift up onto your toes, then slowly return back to the neutral position. The exercise should be felt in the calf muscles and along the back of the ankle. Slowly lift up onto the toes, then lower the heels back to the original starting position. This exercise should be repeated 10 times up and down for 3 sets, a total of 30 lifts.
This exercise will strengthen the calf muscles and foot muscles which will help to prevent and cure plantar fasciitis. Weak stabilization muscles will cause extra stress on the stronger tendons and ligaments in the feet and legs.
Another great trick is to stand on your tip toes and slowly walk forward and backwards taking slow small steps. Stand very tall and keep your hands at your side. Roll your weight onto your tip-toes and lift your heels. Gain balance and see how many 10-12 inch steps you can take forward, resting after about 10 steps (5 on each foot). Then, try and repeat the same exercise but walking backwards.
This video is going to teach you a series of stretches and exercises to do while still in bed before that first painful step in the morning.
What you will need is a belt or towel next to your bed.
Starting the first of three exercises, sit up with your legs straight out in front of you. point and flex your toes to get the muscles warmed up. Slowly point your toes as far down as you can, then flex them back up, warming up the muscles and soft tissues for the next exercise. Repeat 10 times.
The next exercise is the belt stretch which can be performed with either a belt, scarf or towel.
Sitting with your feet out in front of you, wrap the belt around the ball of one foot, grabbing the belt with one hand on each side of your leg. Sit up as straight as possible and use your arm strength to pull the ball of the foot into a flexed position without using your foot strength to do so. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Make sure that the towel or belt is wrapped around the ball of the foot and not just the toes, this will ensure a better stretch for the plantar fascia ligament.
After you have performed the point and flex warm up and the belt stretch, massage the plantar fascia ligament. Massaging the plantar fascia ligament across the width of the plantar fascia. Starting at the inner side of the arch, massage across the width to the outside of the arch, with a light amount of pressure to ease your ligament to be prepared for your body weight when you get out of bed.
The micro tears in the plantar fascia cause inflammation and pain. Due to these micro tears the ligament tightens up during the night and with your first step, causes pain. By massaging and stretching you can prevent re-injury to the plantar fascia ligament each morning along with reducing your pain. A night splint is also recommended for treatment of morning pain.
A great stretch to lengthen the plantar fascia ligament and prevent morning pain is plantar stretch. This stretch is designed to treat and prevent heel pain and plantar fasciitis and when done in the morning alleviates morning pain.
Start with both feet in front of you and bend one leg at the knee. Grab the ball of the foot with one hand over the toes and pull towards your chest. By pulling the ball of the foot and not the just the toes this will create a good stretch along the arch of the foot.
Stretching the plantar fascia ligament will aid in the treatment of plantar fasciitis by developing length in the ligament. Stretch the arch of the foot by taking one hand and pulling the toes back toward the shin for a count of 10. Stretching will alleviate tension along the plantar fascia ligament and prevent the soft tissues of the foot from tightening up.
Hold this stretch on each foot for 15-20 seconds and repeating on both sides 3 times, once a day, improvement should be seen within 1 week of consistent stretching!
Water Bottle Stretch
A simple way to massage the plantar fascia ligament and ease pain is with the water bottle stretch; a great treatment for relief of tension and pressure at the end of a long day.
Begin the exercise by sitting in a chair with both feet in front on the ground. Lifting up one foot, place a water bottle, tennis ball or rolling pin on the ground under the arch of one foot.
Start to slowly roll the water bottle from the ball of the foot to the heel, leaning forward to apply more pressure if desired for a increase in the massage. Keep rolling the water bottle back and forth, from heel to the ball of the foot, about 10 times, and repeat on the other foot.
Be sure to apply a good amount of pressure but not too much that you feel pain. It should be a gentle and soothing exercise. A great trick is to freeze a water bottle, its a great trick on a hot summer day. Ice reduces inflammation along the plantar fascia ligament.
Strengthening exercises are important to any soft tissue injury, a simple exercise uses a hand towel. It may seem easy but this exercise strengthens the muscles of the foot using only towel. By increasing the strength of the stabilization and coordination in your feet, you can treat and prevent plantar fasciitis and heel pain.
Start this exercise by sitting in a chair with both feet in front of you. Using a small hand towel or wash cloth (if your feet are strong you can try a bath towel!) and place the towel in front of your feet, flat against the ground.
Using only the toes, try and pull the towel under the foot. It is a very simple exercise to perform but it strengthens the muscles in the feet.
At first, this exercise may be very difficult as many of the small stabilization muscles in the foot are weak, but as time progresses it will become easier. Be sure to do the same amount on each foot, plantar fasciitis can be attributed to uneven gait and pronation, so ensuring both feet are equally as strong will help to treat plantar fasciitis and prevent plantar fasciitis from returning.
This exercise may be performed as many times a week as you are able to, if possible, try to do three days a week with 5 to 10 minutes for the exercise, dividing the time equally between each foot, even if only one foot is affected.
In addition to heel pain exercises, an orthotic shoe insert is often recommended to be used in combination with stretches in order to help fully treat the conditions. Stretches alone may have moderate success, but if painful conditions such as plantar fasciitis are left unchecked they may progress and cause additional pain. An orthotic such as HTP Heel Seats are a clinically proven method that not only contribute to reduced pain from common heel pain ailments, but also in many cases help to fully treat and reverse the conditions. In addition, HTP also is effective is strengthening the heel and fascia to prevent further episodes of heel pain. Like exercises, Heel Seats are designed to physically re-stretch the fascia thanks to its patented Fascia Bar. In addition, they provide the needed support in crucial points around the heel, while also providing precise acupressure, to help relieve the painful ailment you are suffering with.
Heel pain does not have to continue. HTP Heel Seats maintain an impressive 99.7% success rate and are highly recommended by doctors and podiatrists for treating heel pain as well as other symptoms and conditions. Best of all this product works without interfering in your lifestyle. When suffering from heel pain, find the treatment that works effectively without the hassle, expense, and inconvenience. For many customers, including superstar athletes, HTP is the treatment that is satisfies those needs.
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