There are several causes for heel pain, ranging from trauma to ill-fitting footwear, to plantar fasciitis and other painful conditions. While pain medication and medical intervention are valid methods of relief, simply stretching and massaging the tight muscles of the feet can often help you to alleviate sensitivity without seeking outside assistance. We’re here to share a few ways to find relief on your own terms.
STRETCHES FOR PAIN RELIEF
When you are searching for relief from pain, you want something you can do simply and quickly. These stretches can be done wherever you are with items you keep around the house or office, so relief is always within arm’s reach. Try these five stretches to alleviate muscle and fascial tension within the foot:
1. ROLLING STRETCH
For this stretch, grab a tennis ball, foam roller, frozen water bottle, or any firm, cylindrical or spherical item that offers a small amount of give. Start by sitting in a chair with one foot flat on the ground and the other resting on top of your item. The item of your choice should rest under the arch of your foot. Now, apply gentle pressure and begin rolling the item under your toes and then down to your heel.
Repeat this several times adjusting your pressure to feel the muscles in your sole stretching as the item rolls from heel to toe. Then, switch to your other foot and repeat the process. For a more advanced rolling deep-tissue stretch, try a firmer ball such as a lacrosse or golf ball; this is not for the first-timers!
2. FOREFOOT STRETCH
This stretch can be done standing, as well, as long as you do not have issues with balance.
Begin by sitting in a chair with your legs crossed. If you begin with your right leg crossed over your left, use your right hand to reach down and grip your toes. Gently pull your toes back towards you, feeling a stretch in the arch and ball of your foot.
Stabilize your right leg on the left by using the left hand to hold the right ankle. You can adjust your grip on the toes to feel this stretch more specifically in the base of your toes as well.
Hold this stretch for a few seconds, breathing through the tension of the stretch, and then relax. Repeat this a few times before repeating this with your left foot. To progress this stretch, use the hand that is stabilizing the ankle to massage the tight plantar fascia during the stretch.
3. CALF STRETCH
Think of this as a runner’s stretch. Imagine the stance you take when getting ready to begin a race. Keep one leg in front of you, slightly bent at the knee, with your other leg stretch behind you. Instead of the back leg resting on the toes, keep your heel planted firmly on the ground. You will feel the back of your calf and heel stretching.
To make this stretch even more challenging, you can lean forward and touch the ground on either side of your front foot to deepen the stretch through your leg and back.
This is advanced and should be avoided if you get dizzy easily or have balance issues.
This stretch can also be done standing next to a wall for stability. Lean into this stretch to deepen the sensations and hold for 10 seconds. Rest, and then repeat two more times before alternating legs. By changing the amount of flexion or bend in the knee, you will target the different muscles of the calf.
4. RESISTANCE STRETCH
This stretch can be done using a towel or resistance band. Sit on the floor with your legs straight ahead of you. Hook your towel or band beneath the ball of your foot at the arch and pull towards you. Deepen the stretch by keeping your foot firm and even pointing your toes away from you to provide even more resistance. You should feel the stretch in both the sole of your foot and in your calves.
Hold this stretch for at least 20 seconds before resting. Then, repeat two more times before switching to your next leg. Try to do this stretch at least four times throughout your day.
5. TOE CURLS
For our last stretch, you will need a hand towel. Sit in a chair and place the towel flat on the ground in front of you. Place your toes on the towel and curl them, gripping and scrunching the towel towards you until you have fully scrunched the towel.
While this stretch can be done without the towel, it is easier to focus on the stretch by having something to grip. After you have fully scrunched your hand towel, lay it flat again and repeat for a total of 10 times. Then, do the same toe curls with your next foot. This will loosen up the fascial connections between the toes and the arch and also get the blood moving in the small intrinsic muscles of the foot.
STRETCH YOUR FEET ALL DAY LONG
We’ve made relief even more convenient with The Healing Sole. Our footwear is surgeon-designed to alleviate foot pain by stretching the feet with every step. All you have to do is slide into a pair of our flip flops or sandals and start walking.
Want to learn more about the pain-fighting features of our footwear? Read more in-depth here.
Our footwear can help to make heel pain a thing of the past and keep your feet happy and healthy. Ready to try them for yourself? Click below to order!