Some of the most nagging pain is heel pain. It is one of those pains which you know that you are going to have to face day in and day out.
The unfortunate thing about it that many orthotics don't work- or the pain goes for a while but soon enough, back it comes.
So what gives?
Well we must look at that picture up above there. That will tell us what is going on.
The Gastrocnemius muscle- your calf muscle, is a powerful muscle and attached to that muscle is the tendon Achilles. This tendon attaches into the back of the heel and slightly underneath.
The plantar fascia is a length of tissue coming from the base of the heel and then splays into the toes.
These are the main mechanisms in creating heel pain.
What I have found is that true heel pain in itself is usually caused by tight gastrocs.
The tightness pulls upon the heel and the fascia then gets pulled away from the heel creating a very painful heel. And it is the position of that pain, directly under the heel- nowhere else, which is a good indication of tight calf muscles.
What you find is that as the day goes on the heel gets better. Usually because the pain chemicals do not have a chance to stay put- they are constantly being moved around and pushed out of the way. When you stop walking then they have time to collect and build up and don't relieve until you get going.
So many health professionals believe that you have heel pain caused by Plantar Fasciitis. In a way you do, but it is not caused really by the fascia itself, it is secondary to the gastroc muscle.
So they give you an orthotic and really it works, but not as good as you expect.
So how do we treat heel pain?
Heel pain can be treated by a few ways. You need
The left leg is straight, and the right one is bent.
Bend the right leg until you can feel tightness, no pain, in the back of the other leg. Hold it for 10 seconds...don't bounce. Release. Do it again 10 more times. Then swap legs and start again.
This should be done twice a day everyday until bending the leg gives no tightness to the other leg. This is a time to increase pressure, but a professional clinician should show you how. I can not because my interpretation could be very different to yours and that will not help anyone.
Make sure that your shoes are not heeled. If they are try and reduce the heel. If you have a heel, it makes the calf muscle shorter, so doing exercises will be a waste of time. Flip flops just don't work.
Sometimes the body has altered itself to compensate for the tight calf and you might need an orthotic to rebalance the problem. Then over time you can ween yourself of it. Also some orthotics can be created to have a heel raise included- this helps your calf whilst you are exercising and trying to lengthen it.
Ultimately we are not super athletes.
So we shouldn't act like one. The stretching is going to take time, the pain is going to subside over time, especially if you are not doing the work.
Also there is a point where if you have had the pain for some time then it might take a little bit of time for that issue to clear up. It might have become a chronic pain in that respect then you probably should see a health professional for your heel pain.