How to Keep Heel Pain from Coming Back

woman in workout gear stretching against a wallLots of families—and perhaps yours is one of them—head for sunny destinations during Spring Break. This is certainly a good time to recharge and shed the winter doldrums. Of course, going to tourist destinations isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. No matter whether you head out of town for Spring Break (or any other time, actually), it is imperative that you don’t take a break from your stretching routine! Walking in the sand or just increasing the number of daily steps will add a lot of stretch to the calve.

When you develop heel pain, the most likely explanation is going to be inflammation in either the plantar fascia or Achilles tendon—that are anchored to the heel bone. A major part of overcoming plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis is stretching to improve the limberness of the soft tissues in your feet and lower leg. This may include exercise with a wooden block or a stretching splint, if discussed.

There are other components for treating heel pain, but stretching is one of the major contributions you can make to help this. Pain is a huge motivator, but even when the pain is gone you should keep doing the stretching program. This is simply a great way to keep heel pain from coming back because the tendon with begin to shorten as soon as you stop.

The stretching exercise and optional stretching splint need to become a habit. Much like healthy eating becomes a habit for weight loss, stretching is only effective if you keep doing it. If you stop adhering to a proper diet, the weight you lost will come back. The same holds true with stretching.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of the stretching program. The important thing, though, is that you keep it up, even though it’s boring and tedious. Look at it this way: is a 10 minute investment each day worth keeping your original pain away?

In addition to stretching, be mindful of your footwear. With regard to shoe choices, a little elevation in the heel area is actually good (when you keep the emphasis on “a little”). Too much is definitely bad if you do not balance this out with stretching. No elevation can result in insertional Achilles tendinitis if it is too short. As is the case with most things in life, a bit of moderation is the way to go.

If you’re athletic and/or wear orthotics, wearing shoes featuring a sound and rigid heel counter is a smart move. Not sure what types of shoes will be best for you? Visit us and we’ll be glad to help!

This is a good rule in general, but pay attention to your feet. If you have stopped your stretching program and start experiencing even a little pain, it’s a cue that you need to get back to your regimen.

Remember, you can take time off from your job for a vacation, but you can’t take time away from your health! Conservative care can work as long as you keep the good habits you’re establishing. Keep up with your stretching, wear the correct shoes, and give your feet some attention, and you’ll be all right.

For more information, or to request an appointment with our Indianapolis, IN office, give us a call at (317) 545-0505 or contact us online right now. 

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