Some things in life are painful, but we endure them because it’s just the way the world works. Waiting at the BMV, in-law visits, and heel pain from plantar fasciitis are all torturous in their own ways, but at least something can be done about one of those examples. Long waits for a new driver’s license and in-law visits might be unavoidable, but you do not have to endure heel pain!
Heel pain is a fairly common patient complaint. The heel sustains tremendous force loads, but it also an anchor for two connective tissues—the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon—that can be damaged due to excessive stress. Stretches for heel pain that comes from plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis can be effective at both treating and preventing injuries in these tissues.
For adults, the most frequent source of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This condition causes sharp, intense pain in the underside of the heel. If your pain is in the upper area of the back of the heel, you may have Achilles tendinitis.
One way to both treat and prevent conditions like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis is to keep the soft tissues limber. What we recommend for stretching is the following practice:
- Use a 1 ½-2” (2x4) block of wood or book. Always wear flat (athletic style) shoes when stretching.
- Begin with your right foot
- Place your toes against the wall (heel away from the wall), place the block or book at the back of your heel
- Step onto the block/book with 1/3 of your foot (toe to mid-foot)
- Place heel on the floor
- Keep your back very straight, and look forward (not down)
- Keep your weight on the right foot
- You should feel mild tightness in the calf muscle
- Hold for 2 - 3 minutes (keep time with a clock/watch with second hand). It will feel like a LONG time!
- Switch to your left foot and repeat
- Alternate right foot then left foot three (3) times, stretching for a total of 6 times
- Complete stretching sequence at least 3 times a day working into your schedule as time allows, it doesn’t have to be every 6 or 8 hrs. This is the minimum number of times to stretch—more is better!
Unfortunately, we might not be able to help you when it comes to spending time at the BMV or “enjoying” a visit with the in-laws, but you can always come to the office of Jeffrie C. Leibovitiz, DPM for expert foot and ankle care! Contact our Indianapolis, IN office for more information or to schedule an appointment by calling (317) 825-2045.