What a pain in the heel!
Are you suffering with burning pain in your heel/s?
To all those aspiring athletes, comrades runners and those that decided to get off the couch to get some more chips, you have a common culprit for your achey heels:
Why is it so damn sore?
Your plantar fascia (connective tissue under the foot) is most likely to be thickened and have de-generative changes.
I’m sure you’ve noticed you have more pain on the first few steps in the morning and at night which gets better with movement.
Knowledge is power:
Why do you have this and not every other average Joe or aspiring athlete?
Can you answer yes to:
- a sudden increase in running intensity
- a sudden increase in running uphill/uneven surfaces
- inadequate rest
- inadequate shoes,
- weak muscles of the feet and legs
Yes to any of these questions could be the answer to both ‘why you’ and your solution.
Strengthen your calf muscles
- Do calf raises by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and rising up onto your toes and down 10-20X, 3X daily.
- This can be progressed to doing calf raises with your heels touching and feet facing outwards and then feet touching and heels facing outwards.
- This can be made harder by standing on the edge of a step and rising up and down slowly.
Activate your arches if they are collapsed (pronated)-
- Lift up your big toe off the floor and push the “knuckle” of your big toe into the floor while rolling the inside of your ankle outwards (sounds pretty complicated right?- it takes a lot of co-ordination and may take a few days to master).
- Bring your big toe in and out 10X, most people won’t be able to do this as the muscles that brig the big toe in get switched off and therefore the muscle that brings the big toe out works unopposed. This outward deviation of the big toe may contribute to flat feet.
Strengthen your small foot muscles-
- Place your foot flat on the floor and pull the toes upwards with the tips of the toes remaining on the floor. You can even do this exercise by picking up your clothes off the floor clothes with your feet.
- This can also be practiced by trying to pick up marbles off the floor
Stretch your calf muscles-
- Stand facing a wall, with your non-painful foot against the wall and your knee bent against the wall. The other leg must be straight three feet behind the other one. The toes must be facing forwards and hold this knee straight for 30 seconds and then do this again with the back leg slightly bent for 30 seconds.
- This can also be done but with the toes extended ie with the toes against the edge of the wall or a towel pushing upwards
Stretch your plantar fascia-
- Sit and cross the painful leg over the other leg. Hold the toes with your hand and pull them backwards. Hold 10s, 5X.
Assess your footwear-
- Ensure you are using proper Takkies that support your feet (they may not be the most stylish but pain>fashion). Footwear is an interesting debate as a balance between shoes that are not too supportive (this will lead to your feet muscles not working hard enough) and supportive enough needs to be met.
- It is not encouraged for you to wear shoes all the time, it is recommended for you to walk barefoot when possible to improve your proprioception and muscle activation.
Reduce your pain-
- You can roll a frozen bottle of water under your foot for a few minutes during the day to help ease the pain.
- Taping is also effective in reducing pain and various techniques can be used.