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Get Rid of Your Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)

If you've ever experienced heel pain that is worse when you first step out of bed in the morning, when you walk around barefoot, when you stand up after sitting for a while, or while doing your favorite athletic activities, you may have been experiencing plantar fasciitis (or maybe you have it right now).

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel (calcaneus) to the bottom of the toes. This can become irritated from injury or overuse and can be extremely painful. Stretching can often provide temporary relief, but strengthening and improving mobility in the big toe and ankle have proven to be the best course of treatment.

Here are 5 of the best exercises you can do to get rid of your heel pain.

  1. Kneeling Big Toe Mobility. This stretch improves the mobility of the big toe, which decreases stress on the plantar fascia. While in a hands and knees position, rock back towards your heels to stretch your big toe. Hold the stretch just 3-5 seconds. Repeat 10-15 times.

2. Kneeling Ankle Dorsiflexion Mobility. Start in a half kneeling position and lean forward towards the front knee. Make sure to keep your heel on the ground and your back up straight. Hold for 3-5 seconds and repeat 10-15 times.

3. Kneeling Calf Raise. Stay in the half kneeling position. Lift your heel up off the ground and then back down. Repeat 10-15 times. This works on strengthening the soleus muscle (one of the calf muscles.

4. Calf Raises with Ball Squeeze. Stand and place a small ball between your ankles. Squeezing the ball, lift your heels up off of the ground. This works on strengthening the calf muscles and the posterior tibialis muscle. The posterior tibialis is responsible for maintaining the arch. If this muscle is weak, the arch can collapse, placing more pressure on the plantar fascia. Repeat 15-20 times.

5. Single Leg Calf Raise with Toes Elevated. Single leg calf raises are a great way to work on calf strength. By elevating your toes, you are stretching and increasing the mobility of the structures along the bottom of your foot. Repeat 15-20 times.

All of these exercises will help build strength and mobility in your feet and ankles and decrease heel pain. Try doing these 3-6 times per week.

If you have any questions or need some help with your plantar fasciitis, feel free to e-mail me.

Dr. Stephanie

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