At-Home Stretches to Ease Heel Spur Pain

Heel spurs are bony growths on the bottom of your heel bone. Many heel spurs are asymptomatic, but if you’re among the 50% of people with heel spurs who feel pain, stretching can help alleviate the pain and associated plantar fasciitis.

At Hoosier Foot & Ankle, we recommend the following at-home exercises, especially when you first wake up.

Foot flexion

The pain from heel spurs is typically most severe first thing in the morning. Sit in bed to do this stretch that helps release the plantar fascia, the thick connective tissue that runs under your foot to connect your heel bone to your toes.

Sit up with your legs extended in front of you, and gently pull your toes toward your shin with your hands. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, and repeat two to three times. Make sure you stretch both heels.

Towel stretch

Use a simple hand towel to strengthen and stretch your arches. Lay the towel flat on the floor underneath your foot. Grip the towel with your toes, and raise the front of your foot off the floor, but leave your toes down. Pause, then allow the toes to release the towel. Lift your toes, and spread them out widely.

Golf ball roll

Use a golf ball or other small ball like a lacrosse ball or specially made foot massager for this release for the connective tissue along the bottom of your feet.  Simply place the ball on the floor, and lightly place your foot on top of it. Roll gently front to back for about one minute.

Calf stretch

A deep stretch of your calves helps prevent tightness in your heels from causing pain every time you take a step. You’ll benefit from improved mobility.

Stand on a stair step with the heel of the right foot hanging off; the ball of your foot is rooted in the step. Lower your heel slowly, and pause for 20-30 seconds to feel the stretch in the back of the lower leg. Repeat two to three times on each side.

Yoga stretching

If you have time to commit to a regular yoga practice of 20 minutes or more three or more times per week, your heels – as well as the rest of your body – will benefit. For a shortcut to reach the calves and heels only, try pedaling out your downward dog.

Get into an inverted V-shape with your hands and feet on the mat. Your heels will be lifted. Bend your right knee deeply, and push your left heel toward the floor. Pause for several breaths, then switch and bend the left knee deeply as you press the right heel down. Continue to alternate sides three to four times.

Frequency and commitment

Stretch daily to help reduce pain and inflammation from heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. Even after your pain starts to resolve, continue to stretch as it can prevent a recurrence.

If at-home stretches and treatment fail to help you or if your pain worsens, make an appointment at one of our many locations, including Carmel, Indianapolis, Franklin, Greenwood, and Indiana University Health Saxony Hospital in Fishers, Indiana. The expert team at Hoosier Foot & Ankle are available to help you find relief when more intensive treatments are needed.

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