Cool your heels

PLANTAR FASCIITIS is hands down the most common cause of foot pain in active individuals. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue (a ligament) that spans from your heel to the base of your toes on the bottom of your foot. Its job is to help maintain your longitudinal arch, especially in the push-off phase of walking or running. Overuse, unsupportive footwear, a tight calf, excess body weight, performing activities on hard surfaces such as concrete, and systemic diseases like diabetes, gout, Lyme disease, or rheumatism can all lead to the tissue’s inflammation. In turn, this can create severe heel pain upon rising in the morning, moving after sitting for long periods, and being on your feet for long stretches— especially when standing on hard surfaces. Protecting the flexion and strain on the plantar fascia is critical to getting plantar fasciitis under control. In the box at right are a few things that will help.

KICK HEEL PAIN FOR GOOD, Unfortunately, there is no single method to alleviate heel pain.
Try a combination of all four of these methods for relief.

GASTROC STRETCH
Stretching the gastrocnemius muscle— a straight knee-calf stretch—can help to offload
the Achilles’ pull on the foot.

GET A BRACE
Tightness in the calf can pull on the heel and lead to pain. Wear an overnight splint to reduce calf tightness. Also try rigid yet cushioned shoes or orthotic supports.

DIY MASSAGE
Massaging the plantar fascia while pulling your toes up with your hand or by rolling your foot
on a lacrosse ball or ice-filled water bottle can loosen contracted fascia.

LIMIT EXERCISES
Cut back on running, climbing, jumping, and other activities that make the calf tight (for example, being on the ball of the foot).

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