Relieve Heel Pain with These Exercises

· August 30, 2016
Statistics suggest that at least 50% of the population suffers from this kind of discomfort, cause either by an injury, poor shoe choice, or developing some sort of disease.

Localized exercises are a great alternative to relieve heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis. You can adapt them to your ability level without straining the area.

One of the most common injuries to the feet occurs between the heel and the plantar fascia.  

This is known as plantar fasciitis and means that the membrane covering the muscles in the lower part of the foot is inflamed.

This structure plays a very important role in the body. It’s responsible for keeping the arch shape and absorbing the energy from impact on the foot during each step.

Fasciitis can affect athletes more often, as well as pregnant women and individuals that are overweight or obese.

It could start out as a minor discomfort and then advance into the inside of the heel, but it could also be accompanied by rigidity, swelling and redness.  

The good news is that you can alleviate or at least help to relieve the pain naturally by practicing a few stretching exercises.

Would you like to learn how?

The ball roll to relieve heel pain

Feet exercises with a rolling ball

This simple ball exercise reduces inflammation caused by plantar fasciitis and therefore, it can help to relive heel pain.

How to do it

  • Sit down in a chair, with your back upright and supported.
  • Place a tennis ball on the ground, and roll the bottom of your foot over it.
  • Try to massage over the bottom of your entire foot, for best results.
  • Hold this movement for 60 seconds, then rest and repeat twice.

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Wring out a towel

Feet exercises with a towel

This helps improve circulation and flexibility in your feet.

How to do it

  • Place a towel on the floor and put your feet on top of it.
  • Using just your toes, start to scrunch the towel and hold it for a few seconds.
  • Return to starting position. Do 3 sets of 10 reps with each foot.

Exercise band to relieve heel pain

Exercise band around your feet

In order to do these stretches, you’ll need an elastic exercise band.

This will calm tension and reduce inflammation in the soles of your feet and heel.

How to do it

  • Sit on an exercise mat and place the band just below the arch of your feet.
  • Stretch the band and try to raise your legs.
  • Hold the posture for 30 seconds and then rest.
  • Place the band just below your toes, then stretch for another 30 seconds.

Tippy toes

Standing on your tip toes

Standing on the tips of your toes helps strengthen tendons in the heel and the muscles in the calves.

How to do it

  • Stand with your back straight and raise your heels, standing on your tippy toes.
  • Try to raise yourself as high as you can, then return to your starting position.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.

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Stretching to relieve heel pain

Step class at a gym

Stretching your heels helps improve flexibility of the tendon and calf. Practicing this helps reduce pain and overuse caused by excess weight.

How to do it

  • Get on a stair stepper and support yourself on your toes, leaving your heels in the air.
  • Lower your heels as much as you can, then slowly rise to the starting position.
  • Complete 3 sets of 10 reps.

Arching your feet

Arching your feet

Making an arch or “dome” out of your feet works the bottoms of your feet, as well as the calves and heel. You can do this to reduce pain, tingling and tension.

How to do it

  • Stand with your toes facing downwards toward the floor, keeping your heels still and supported.
  • Make sure to form an arch with your foot and hold it for 15 seconds.
  • Relax, and repeat 10 times.

Spreading your toes

Toe separators can help relieve heel pain

This activity is centered on working the muscles between the bones that support the arch of the foot.

How to do it

  • Sit in a comfortable position and place a small rubber band around your toes.
  • Spread them out as much as you can, then rest.
  • Then place a spacer between your toes, squeeze them together and release.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps per foot.

Repeat these exercises every day to relieve heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis in just a short amount of time. If you feel your condition is worsening, see a doctor to find out what other therapies may work for you.

DiGiovanni, B. F., Nawoczensk, D. A., Lintal, M. E., Moore, E. A., Murray, J. C., Wilding, G. E., & Baumhauer, J. F. (2003). Tissue-specific plantar fascia-stretching exercise enhances outcomes in patients with chronic heel pain: A prospective, randomized study. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A. https://doi.org/10.2106/00004623-200307000-00013

Rathleff, M. S., Mølgaard, C. M., Fredberg, U., Kaalund, S., Andersen, K. B., Jensen, T. T., … Olesen, J. L. (2015). High-load strength training improves outcome in patients with plantar fasciitis: A randomized controlled trial with 12-month follow-up. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.12313