Get rid of heel pain

Heel pain is often caused by “tense muscles and fasciae” as well as trigger points on the foot – and the lower leg muscles.

When you loosen these fascial structures and eliminate the trigger points, you can usually alleviate your pain and often, actually get rid of it for the long-term.

In just a few moments, I will be leading you through an easy, yet very effective self-massage. You will be working on the muscles responsible for the problem and loosening the fasciae.

All that you need is a massage ball and your hands.

1. Getting rid of heel pain. Your self-massage

First, a few important points before we begin with the massage:

  • Massage yourself daily, until your pain is gone completely.
  • The loosening of fasciae and trigger points is most often accompanied by pain. On the pain scale from 1—10, you should work in the range of 4 – 7.
  • Massage the painful tissue without exacerbating the pain. In doing so, you will irritate your nervous system even more and this can lead to a further, temporary increase in pain.
  • Always concentrate on the most painful area in a muscle. If your massage is too painful, then decrease the amount of pressure applied.
  • Avoid working around these areas. Muscle or fascia pain is mostly a sign of dysfunction and that the affected structure needs to be loosened up. As long as there are no serious illnesses present, applying pressure to a healthy muscle will not cause any pain.
  • Massage each sensitive area with 10 – 15 very short massage strokes or apply static pressure to the area for approximately 30 seconds.
  • By doing the latter, the pain at the affected location should slowly subside. If it doesn’t, you are pressing too hard into the tissue and irritating your nervous system too much. Take a short break and try it again, but this time with somewhat less pressure.

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1.1 Getting rid of heel pain: Self-massage of the foot musculature and plantar fasciae.

Muscles: Abductor hallucis & quadratus plantae – fasciae: plantar fasciae

You will be amazed at what a relaxing effect a self-massage in this region has.

I personally don’t have any problems with my feet or have pain in my heels, but in the course of my own training, I often work this region.

I am always amazed at how relaxed the sole of my foot and my leg feels afterward.

So, let’s get started. I recommend using a massage ball for this region. The zones to be massaged are to be found in the rear half of the sole of your foot.

At this stage, I would like to present you with two massage possibilities for the sole of your feet.

Ischemic compression

  • Place a hard ball on the floor and stand on it with one foot. Search for pressure sensitive areas.
    Shift as much weight as possible to your “massage ball leg” without overdoing it in the process.
  • You should be able to continue to breathe easily and you shouldn’t be grimacing. Continue applying pressure for 30 seconds or more and then take a break.
  • Repeat this massage at one or two other areas of your foot. Keep in mind that it is not necessary to massage the entire zone all at once.

Begin rather cautiously and observe how your body and the pain in your heel react to the massage.

Spread the massage out over days and weeks, taking the time necessary to cover your entire foot.

Attention: If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, make sure to start slowly and carefully, and observe how your body reacts to the massage. In this case, less is more and persistence is the key to success!

The pressure-motion technique

  • Stand with one foot on your ball.
  • Search for painful areas in the sole of your foot.
  • As soon as you find one, shift more of your weight onto the ball.
  • Now, begin to alternate the movements of curling your toes down and then stretching them upward.
  • Can you feel the massaging effect this has on the soles of your feet?

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1.2 Getting rid of heel pain: Self-massage for the calf muscles

Muscles: Soleus & tibialis posterior

The soleus and tibialis posterior are muscles of your calf. They are directly connected to the heel or foot bones via their tendons.

As such, they naturally have an influence on the tension relationships of these structures.

Both of these muscles can be the cause of heel pain due to tension, or the presence of trigger points.

For this massage, I recommend using a foam roller or your hands.

Self-massage of the calf with a foam roller

  • Place the foam roller on the floor and sit down.
  • Place the calf to be massaged on the roller.
  • Now prop yourself up with your hands and roll your calf slowly over the roller.
  • Stop at each area that is sensitive and roll a few times, very slowly, over the spot.
  • Search for the sensitive areas of your entire lower leg by rotating your leg a bit in each direction.

Calf massage with a foam roller

1

Normal pressure is applied on the calf.

2

Pressure on the calf is substantially increased.

Self-massage of the calf using your hands

  • Wrap your hands around your calf and search for painful, tense areas using both of your thumbs in the areas shown.
  • Massage each of these areas with the thumbs by slowly “massaging over” each spot about 15 times.
  • The image is only an example. It goes without saying that you should concentrate on your own sensitive spots, there where you find them.