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If your heels hurt, these 5 stretches relieve the pain

Heel pain is the worst. Anyone at any age is prone to it, and for good reason–our heels support the entire weight of our bodies. It’s no wonder that too much standing, walking, or any other on-your-feet activity can cause pain. 

While heel pain is common, most people aren’t quite sure how to combat it. Today we’ve gathered five stretches that can help you relieve heel pain fast so that you can be back on your feet in no time!

Stretch your big toe

It might sound silly, but a long big toe stretch is one of the best ways to treat heel pain. Simply find a chair to sit in comfortably while you do this stretch, bring your leg up so you can grab your big toe and curl it back towards your body. You want to make sure that you are pulling it back enough to feel the stretch in your foot. You should feel the tendons pulling tight, providing your heel with some relief. 

Uncurl and curl your toe towards you about ten times or so, holding the position for a few seconds before uncurling. This will ensure you gain a complete stretch throughout the foot. 

person stretching their toe and heel
Orawan Pattarawimonchai/Shutterstock

Use a roller

Another way to relieve heel pain is by rolling your foot on a round object. Find a small ball, rolling pin, or an exercise foam roller and place it on the floor. 

From your chair, erect yourself into a proper sitting position and place your foot on top of the roller of your choice. Roll your foot over the roller from toe to heel then back again. Do this for about five minutes and then swap feet. 

You can repeat this exercise as many times as you’d like to relieve pain. This exercise massages the tendons running along your foot and creates gentle pressure on the spots that hurt most. It allows the foot to stretch and relax in the same way stretching your big toe helps relieve pain. 

Use a band

A popular exercise tool used in physical therapy is the resistance band. This is a great exercise for pregnant women, older adults, and anyone who has difficulty reaching their toes. 

Grab an elastic exercise band and hold both ends in your hands. Place your foot in the middle of the band, and, while holding on to the ends tightly, stretch your leg out. This will stretch the band until it is pulled taut, limbering up your muscles and tendons. 

The pressure on the center of your foot will help relieve any pain in that area caused by your heel’s tension. It will also provide relief from the pressure, as force will now be focused on the center of your foot. This exercise is so great because you don’t need to be especially flexible to do it well. If you can’t reach far enough to stretch your big toe like in the first exercise, you can use the band method to achieve the same effect.

Stretch your calves

Heel pain is a result of too much strain and weight on the back of your foot, so, to relieve this pain, you need to allow your heel to rest. Here is where you can target your calves. For this stretch, find a wall that you can lean up against securely. 

Stand facing the wall and place your body arm’s length away from the wall with your palms flat against the surface. Next, put your right leg in front of your left, as if you were walking towards the wall. Keeping both heels on the ground, bend your right knee. You should feel the tension in your left calf as you lean forward.

Hold this position for thirty seconds before switching feet to stretch your right calf. These calf stretches relieve weight from the heel and will loosen the strained muscles below the knee.

band for physical therapy
Michal and Yossi Rotem/Shutterstock

Pick up marbles with your toes

It may sound like a playground pastime, but picking marbles up with your toes is a great exercise to stretch your tendons and practice muscle control. Like the first exercise, this activity focuses on curling and uncurling your toes to relieve heel pain. It can often be challenging, and maybe even a little boring, to perform the exercise consistently if you just curl and uncurl your toes without an objective. This is where the marbles come in.

Picking up the marbles with your toes requires you to focus less on your pain and more on the goal. If you don’t have marbles, you can also use a towel. Lay a towel flat on the ground in front of you while you’re sitting in your chair. Start bunching up the towel with your toes, bring it closer to the chair, and then repeat.

When to see a healthcare practitioner

If these exercises do not relieve your heel pain or if your pain worsens, it may be time to contact a healthcare specialist. Reaching out to your doctor if pain persists will help you in the long run, and they can provide proper and individualized treatment.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for more, check out the plantar fasciitis stretches we’ve curated to aid you further in relieving heel pain.

Disclaimer: BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring. 

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