Heel spurs are a bone outgrowth that grows on the calcaneous, or the heel bone.
The outgrowth can cause pain when walking or doing other activities. The sharp pain is in the inner-lower part of the foot, and it’s more painful during the morning.
The pain goes away with rest and comes back with activity. It also can lead to limited ankle dorsiflexion.
Fortunately, there are several stretching exercises that can prove to be very useful for relieving the pain and helping with healing.
What causes heel spurs?
According to research done by physiotherapists and podiatrists, this condition appears in one out of every four people. Here are some of the common factors:
- Age: Age can be a trigger, but it’s not the only one.
- Being overweight: Obese people that spend many hours on their feet can be more susceptible to this developing this condition.
- Intense workouts: Intense workouts can sometimes lead to this pain.
- Flat feet: The shape of the foot can be a risk for developing this condition if there is a lack of flexibility of the Achilles tendon.
- Improper footwear: Using thin-soled shoes or high heels (especially ones with thin, high heels) can lead to a heel spur.
Recommended exercises for soothing heel spurs
1. Towel exercise
This is the best exercise for treating this condition.
- For this exercise, all we’ll need to do is to place a towel on the floor and try to grab it and bring it closer by using the toes.
- You can add a little bit of weight on top of the towel to add more resistance.
2. Belt exercise
This exercise is a great alternative not only for heel spurs, but for other problems that can appear in the foot as well.
- Sit on the floor, straightening your back and extending your legs out in front of you.
- Place a belt at the bottom of your foot, grabbing one of the ends in each hand.
- After, you should pull the belt towards you, while you push the belt with your foot in the opposite direction at the same time.
- Hold the position for about 20 seconds.
- Do a set of 25 reps, 2 to 3 times a day.
3. Ball and the sole exercise
In this exercise, you need to roll a small ball around with the sole of your foot. It’s helpful for this condition as well as for Plantar Fasciitis.
- Roll the ball under your foot. By doing so, you can massage it and relax the sole.
- To finish this exercise, press on the ball, rolling it to the tips of your toes all the way to your heel.
4. Water bottle roll
You’ll need to freeze a bottle of water for this exercise.
- Place the bottle on the ground, covering it with a towel and step on it.
- Roll the water bottle with the sole of your foot for at least 5 minutes.
- Repeat at least 3 times a day.
This stretching exercise will help to alleviate the pain. In addition, the cold acts as a local anesthetic.
5. Calf stretches
- This is a very simple exercise where you’ll only need to lean on a wall or a table with your hands. Bend one leg while you stretch the other.
- You should lean forward, as if you were going to move the table, in order to stretch the calf muscles of the extended leg.
- Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds.
Tips for reducing heel spur pain
- Cut down on sport activity as much as possible and try to rest all that you can.
- Use proper footwear in order to reduce heel inflammation as well as pain. Comfortable, cushioned shoes with a flexible sole make for the best choice. Look for a slight elevation, as well, in order to fit the foot properly.
- Use insoles or cushions to lessen the blows you get from walking.
- Use ice or freezer packs three times a day for 15 minutes; they’re great for alleviating the pain.
- Starting a diet to lose some weight is highly recommended if you are overweight.
Remember that being overweight is one of the main causes of heel spurs. It won’t only help to reduce heel spur symptoms, but also to improve your overall health.
This article is for informative purposes. If you try an exercise and the pain persists, you should make an appointment with a doctor to get a diagnosis for personalized treatment.