Fact or Fiction: Stretching Really Can Help Heel Pain

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

Woman stretching calf and Achilles tendonScams are everywhere. They float around Facebook, appear in your e-mail, and get highlighted on the news all the time. You see all sorts of ads for “miracle cures” and so forth when you search for stuff online, too. Sometimes it can be hard to tell what’s fact and what’s fiction, especially when it comes to health. One treatment that some people are skeptical of is stretching for heel pain. The good news is that it can actually be helpful for your feet.

Stretching your foot works because it gently loosens and lengthens your tightened, thickened plantar fascia band, reducing the tension on the back of your foot. Stretches also loosen up tight calf muscles, since they can stress the heel bone and aggravate plantar fasciitis as well.

It’s true, stretching isn’t a complete treatment method for painful heels. It is, however, a valuable aspect that can offer some relief to your feet. Here are a few tried-and-true stretches that may help alleviate the pain in your heels, especially first thing in the morning or after you’ve been off your feet for an extended period of time:

  • Wall Stretch – Place your palms against a wall and set one foot several inches behind the other. Keep that back knee straight and that heel planted on the ground. Lunge forward on the front leg. You should feel a stretch in your back calf.
  • Plantar Massage – Role a frozen tennis ball or bottle of water under the sole of your foot. Be gentle, but push down enough that you can feel the massage in your sole.
  • Sole Stretch – Place one foot on the other knee and flex it. Then grasp your toes and carefully pull them backward toward your shin.
  • Towel Stretches – Wrap a towel around your foot and grab the ends of it with your hands. Slowly pull back on the towel so you feel the stretch.
There are other ways to alleviate heel pain that work well when paired with stretching. The key to any heel pain treatment, of course, is dealing with it right away. Don’t wait. Let our team at Parker Foot & Ankle help you manage your foot health. Call (281) 497-2850 or use our website to make an appointment with us today.
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