Preventing Heel Pain
One of the major conditions responsible for causing heel pain is plantar fasciitis. It is a common condition for runners, athletes, and for people who spend hours on their feet all day, such as nurses, teachers, and delivery persons. One of the best ways to treat heel pain is to start doing strengthening and stretching exercises at the first sign of pain and discomfort.
It’s very important to keep the calf muscles and Achilles tendons flexible to avoid putting too much stress on the plantar fascia—the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot between your heel bone and toes.
The following stretches will help prevent the plantar fascia from becoming overused and damaged by keeping the tissue flexible:
●Arch stretching—From a seated position, place one foot across the opposite leg and pull backward on the toes to stretch the plantar fascia.
●Step stretching—While standing on the edge of a step with your heels hanging off, slowly lower the heels to feel a stretch in your calf muscle and Achilles tendon. Hold for ten seconds. Raise up your heels and repeat five times.
●Calf stretching—While facing a wall with one foot bending forward and the other foot straight back. Bend your knee in the front foot until you feel a stretch and hold for 30 seconds.
While maintaining flexibility is important, keeping the muscles that support the arch strong is also essential to avoiding chronic problems with plantar fasciitis. Some of these strengthening exercises include calf raises, toe squeezes, and picking up marbles with your toes.
If you develop pain or discomfort in your heel that won’t go away, it is best to consult with a foot care specialist. At Fit Feet for Life, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies and years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including heel pain, sports injuries, toe deformities, nail fungus, and plantar warts. Bonnie Sanchez, DPM, and Gregory Cook, DPM, provide high quality foot and ankle care to patients in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area at our five offices conveniently located in Sun City Center, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and our two Tampa locations. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.