One of the simplest treatment strategies for a bad case of heel pain is also one of the most difficult for active people: rest. In order to heal properly, your heels need a break from constant pounding and wear and tear of intense physical activity. But if you’re used to going for long runs almost every day—and it’s what gives you joy—giving it all up for even a few weeks can feel like a nightmare!
Fortunately, “rest” doesn’t have to mean, and shouldn’t mean, “sit around and wait for your pain to go away.” On the contrary, we like to keep people moving as much as possible during their recovery. Not only will it help you stay positive, but can also help you maintain a higher level of fitness, strength, and range of motion throughout the process, shortening your total rehab time.
True, you might not be able to go back out for another long run just yet. Like it or not, your heels do need to rest. However, there are plenty of alternative exercises you can enjoy that aren’t so hard on your feet. For example, a lengthy bike ride or nice swim at the local pool will help you keep your heart rate up. They might also even help in flexing and using your feet and ankles, without forcing them to endure the heavy strain of running, jumping, and landing.
Stretching is also an important part of almost any heel pain recovery. In many cases, heel pain is a symptom of a tight Achilles tendon or calf muscle tugging on the heel’s soft tissues. Standing calf stretches, heel raises (for example using a stair), and resistance band exercises are all often good choices. However, we’ll want to put together a program specifically tailored to the exact cause of your heel pain and your specific needs and goals for recovery.
Don’t be afraid of rest! At Gulf South Foot & Ankle, we work hard to keep our patients as happy, healthy, active, and motivated as possible throughout every stage of treatment, recovery, and rehab. It’s the best way to ensure a good result as quickly as possible, and ultimately get back to doing what you really love.
To schedule an appointment with Gulf South Foot & Ankle, please dial (504) 708-4810 for our Metairie office, or (985) 809-1464 for Covington.