Heel pain is often caused by tissue damage in the Plantar Fascia ligament, which is the bowstring-like ligament that stretches across the bottom of the foot from the heel bone to the toes.
This tissue damage can be mild or severe; just over use/over stressing the ligament can cause pain. As much as exercise is one of the culprits, high heels, bad posture, standing for long hours, improper footwear can all cause stress to the ligament.
Some simple stretches will help make the tissue stronger and more flexible, helping to not only ease the pain, but also to prevent it.
The specific areas that should be stretched are the Plantar fascia ligament, the Achilles tendon and the Calf muscles, which often add stress on the fascia if they are tight, particularly during walking, running or any of type of exercise.
A simple exercise is placing under your foot, a tennis ball, a bottle or any small object you can roll, (I am using a tin of milk below).
Next, roll the foot over the ball, allowing the tin to roll over the bottom of the foot.
Despite its simplicity, this exercise is useful for stretching the plantar fascia. By doing this, you are making it more flexible and this will help reduce tension and pain.
Regularly doing this exercise helps to keep the ligament flexible and strong.
Another great stretch foe the calf is to stand two feet away from the wall and lean your upper body forward towards the wall.
Feel the stretch down you calves. Hold for 20 to 30 counts.
Stand on a step, as shown above. Be sure to hold on to the banister or wall.
Slowly let your heels down over the edge of the step as you relax your calf muscles. You should feel a gentle stretch across the bottom of your foot and up the back of your leg to your knee.
Hold the stretch about 15 to 30 seconds, then tighten your calf muscle a little to bring your heel back up to the level of the step. Repeat two to four times.
You should do these exercises several times each day, before and after working out.
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