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Exercises to Reduce Heel Pain

Heel pain can occur for many reasons, including body weight, injury, standing for a long time, etc. You should go through a proper checkup and medical evaluation before starting any exercise or treatments. The main causes of heel pain are: 

  • Excessive weight 
  • Standing for a long time 
  • Bone tumour 
  • Athlete's foot 
  • Inflamed tendons 
  • Fractures or other muscle injuries  

How does exercise help to reduce heel pain? 

Regular and frequent exercise helps loosen up muscles and tendons to keep your feet usually moving and reduce ankle pain. However, you must follow physiotherapeutic exercises to reduce swelling and water retention, especially for ankle sprains and ligament tears. Therefore, frequency is an essential aspect of any foot exercise. Frequent exercise increases the effectiveness of healing. Start with once a day and try to extend the frequency and repetition over time. 

Exercise to reduce heel pain: 

1) Plantar Fascia Massage: 

How to do: 

  • Sit in a chair or stand and keep one leg on a small frozen water bottle. The ice in that bottle will help you reduce inflammation.  
  • Gently roll the bottle forward and backwards under your foot.  
  • Keep rolling the bottle back and forth for at least 10 minutes for each foot. 
  • Continue 2 sets per foot once a day. 

Benefits: 

  • The ice helps reduce inflammation 
  • Improves blood flow 
  • Breaks down the scar tissue 
  • Boosts lymphatic circulation 
  • Removes the waste tissues efficiently 

2) Heel raise: 

This is one of the most effective and beneficial exercises for heel pain. Ensure that you hold support while doing this exercise because if the balance goes off, there is a chance of falling down and getting injured. Don't put too much pressure on your heel; start with a basic and slow pressure, and then you can increase it after a few days.  

How to do: 

  • Stand on your ball of the foot at the edge of the bottom step. 
  • Ensure that your heels are hanging off the edge. 
  • Gently lower your heels; you might feel a stretch in your calf muscle. 
  • Slowly raise your heel and stand on your toes.  
  • Repeat the process 10 times and then take a pause. 
  • Complete two sets of exercises daily.  

Benefits: 

  • Creates ankle tension that strengthens the muscle 
  • Enables endurance 

3) Floor Sitting Ankle Inversion with Resistance: 

Make sure to have an elastic band while doing this exercise: 

How to do: 

  • Sit upright on the floor and spread your legs.  
  • Avoid hip movement while doing the exercise. 
  • Place the left leg over your right leg with the resistance band attached to the upper foot.  
  • Loop around the bottom of your feet with the band and hold the end of the band with your hand.  
  • Move your upper foot (the one with the band around) away from the lower foot. Make sure you do this step carefully; otherwise, there is a chance of pulling a muscle. Rotate your ankle slowly inwards and return it into the starting position.  
  • Repeat 10 times. 
  • Complete two sets a day.  

Benefits: 

  • Strengthen your ankles.  
  • The tension created in your feet helps reduce heel pain. 

4) Calf stretch: 

Tight calf muscles can worsen heel pain and even cause severe muscle cramps. Calf stretches will help you loosen the muscle and get relief from the pain. Several kinds of calf stretches will help reduce heel pain. 

How to do: 

  • Lean the hands against the wall. 
  • Strengthen the knee of the affected leg and bend the other knee in front. 
  • Keep both feet flat on the surface 
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. 
  • Repeat the stretch 2-3 times.  

An alternative process for calf stretch: 

  • Lie down on your yoga mat on your stomach. 
  • Push your body upwards and put the body weight on your hand and legs. 
  • Your arms, legs, knees, and elbows must be straight, pushing your hip upwards.  
  • Lift one foot off the mat and place it on the opposite ankle.  
  • Gently lower your heel of the other foot; don't put too much pressure.  
  • After that, raise your heel and come back to the starting position.  
  • Repeat this at least 10 times on each leg.  

 
Other treatments to reduce heel pain: 

Along with exercise, some other treatments will fasten the process of healing: 

RICE: 

The thumb rule of any leg injury is following the RICE treatment, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This gives you immediate relief from muscle issues within 49-72 hours. The RICE method also helps reduce muscle damage. While resting the leg, use an ice pack for at least 20 minutes every two hours. Ice will reduce inflammation and swelling. 

Massage therapy: 

A professional massage therapist will use his/her hand to loosen the muscle stiffness, helping to release pain and tension. Also, professional massage helps to loosen the knots and nourish the soft tissues. 

Heel gel: 

Every night before you go to bed, try to apply a cooling foot gel that helps reduce the pain and also removes dead cells. Dr Foot's heel pain gel consists of salicylic acid, coconut oil, and tea tree oil that moisturizes your callus cracked heels.