5 tips on improving your heel pain.
Firstly it is important to be properly assessed. Pain can be because of many issues and it is not advisable to self-diagnose. Sports Massage Therapy can be a great place to start if you have any of the below symptoms or issues.
Common issues are:
Achilles tendonitis or tendinopathy
The tips I have are suitable for people who have Achilles tendon issues or Plantar Fasciitis.
Symptoms can include:
Pain and stiffness around the ankle joint and under the foot. Pain and stiffness when walking, especially If you have been in one position for a long time. Pain when standing on tip toe. Pain or discomfort when standing for long periods of time or wearing flat shoes.
Basic ankle mobility
Tracing the letters of the alphabet with your toes, moving your toes around as if you are tracing out a clock face and gently rolling your ankles side to side and forwards and backward when standing.
This is my go to exercise for calf, ankle and foot issues. It is pretty easy to follow, and most patients are able to start performing it immediately. Some studies indicate that eccentric loading of the tendon is favourable to other types of exercise. Eccentric loading of a tendon occurs when your muscle and tendon are contracting as you are lengthening the muscle. The Alfredson protocol is two separate exercises.
Freeze a Lemon
It may sound strange, but ice therapy can still have its place in the initial stages of an issue or injury. Time seems to be most people nemeses, so by combining two treatment in one you stand a chance of a patient doing their rehab. I encourage patients to roll the frozen lemon under the foot, working into the heel, ball of foot and even toes. This can encourage some good mobility and hopefully start the healing process.
Some of us don’t have the freedom to wear the right shoes while at work. I often treat builders who have to wear steel capped boots or office workers who wear smart tight shoes or flat pumps. I encourage people to wear soft, supported, well-fitting shoes. Take your shoe off and place the sole of it on the sole of your foot, does it fit well or is it slightly too small where your toes are? Also, look at the depth of the sole. Does it have any ‘squidge’ as I call it? One thing you can try is foam or gel insoles. This may require you buying the next size up. Get used to wearing trainers more. I understand you need to look smart for work but have smart shoes for meetings and use your trainers for the rest of the day. Also be bare foot more. Let your feet have room. If you have hard floors, then big slippers can be used at home.
Hamstring and Quadricep stretching
These big muscles work like a pully system and I find it is effective to stretch or mobilise both. Again this should only be done once you have had an assessment. It may not be suitable for all. Various stretches can be demonstrated depending on the patient’s ability. Thanks to Thomas Myers we are starting to see the body and muscular system differently. If you have tension in your feet or calves, it is best to keep working up the chain.
Self-release and massage.
I encourage patients to use foam rollers, massage balls or tennis balls to help alleviate symptoms that tight and taught muscles can cause. Blood flow is a important part of muscle recovery and it encourages the body to heal. Using tools to help self-release at home not only has physical benefits it allows the patient to understand their bodies more. Hands on manual therapy is a large part of treatment and if a small part of this can be continued at home then the results should be better.
Get in touch today if you need further advice or treatment.