Heel pain or pain in the arch of the foot is very common amongst both active and sedentary individuals.
It is generally an irritation of the plantar fascia/tendon which connects from the Achilles under the heel right up to the toes. There are also potentially bone spurs or nerve entrapments but I’m not going to look at those here.
So what causes the pain?
It can be caused by various things such as Overuse, age,obesity, hard surfaces, flat feet, high arches, calf tightness. But also it can be multi factorial and there may be more than one issue.
Identifying potential triggers is a good start, it does not necessarily mean you would need to eliminate these triggers just find ways to manage them. As obviously if you spend a lot of time at work standing and that is a trigger, not going to work is not an option! However changing shoes, perhaps doing some stretching throughout day and adding in some strength work could help you manage it.
So let’s look at those management options.
Firstly footwear. Experiment with different footwear to see which makes it better or worse. Usually footwear with good arch support helps but different types work for different people.
If a change of footwear doesn’t help, Orthotic insoles fitted by a podiatrist can help.
Stretching. This can be done a couple of ways.
Putting the foot across the knee, and flexing the ankle whilst pulling the toes toward you stretches the entire bottom of your foot.
You can also try rolling the foot on a ball to stretch it out.
Stretching the back of the calf both with the knee straight and then bent can help to release the Achilles and therefore the Plantar Fascia.
Strengthening exercises include.
Single Leg Deadlift
Squats on toe tips.