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Martin Foot & Ankle

Not a Myth: Strengthening Exercises for Heel Pain

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Adventure and myth add a thrill to life. That’s why people love going to movies, after all—and why events like the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire are popular. The Pennsylvania “Ren Faire,” which opens August 1 and runs through October, is an opportunity in Manheim, PA, to enjoy the Middle Age’s myth and history. For some people, adventures don’t have to be quite so mythical. They simply are willing to try anything to alleviate heel pain. Fortunately, strengthening exercises for heel pain aren’t myth; they can make a positive difference.

Heel pain affects thousands of people every year for many different reasons. It can be a sports injury, nerve damage, arthritis, or just general wear and tear on the lower limbs. When the problem is an overuse injury, exercises to strengthen and stretch the lower limbs can actually make a significant difference for your discomfort.  

Overuse-related heel pain develops when the back of your foot is under too much pressure and stress. By strengthening your feet over all and stretching out tissues that become too tight, you can alleviate that pressure and relieve some of the pain. Here are a few exercises for you to try:

  • Pebble pick-up – Sit in a chair and use just your toes to pick up pebbles, marbles, or other small objects and put them in a cup or bowl beside you.
  • Calf raises – Stand on a step with your heels hanging off the edge. Slowly rise up on your toes so your heels are as high as they can go, then lower to neutral and repeat.
  • Toe walking – Walk across a room balancing on tip-toe, so your heels don’t touch the ground.
  • Regular walks – Walking itself is actually good for your feet over all. Start with short walks, then gradually increase your time and distance.
  • Calf stretches – Basic calf stretches, like the wall stretch, alleviate tightness in the back of the foot.
You may still need to make shoe and orthotics changes to reduce the pressure on the back of the foot. Supported, strong feet are better equipped to handle stress, which can help you deal with any pain and stomp around all day at events like a Ren Faire. Our team at Martin Foot and Ankle is happy to help you take care of your heels. Make an appointment at our Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz and York offices by calling (717) 757-3537 or using our online request form.
Dr. Keith F. Tyson
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