Are you Getting Pins and Needles in Your Heel?

by Butch Phelps on January 10, 2010 · 10 comments

in Active Isolated Stretching

When you wake up in the morning, do you find your heels hurt and even so bad sometimes, you can’t walk? This is technically called Plantar Fasciitis. You may have gone to a Podiatrist. Your doctor may have prescribed a pair of orthotics or injections of cortisone. You may have purchased a pair of MBTs or any other type of shoe design to help with heel and foot pain. All of these products and services work, FOR THE SHORT TERM! Here’s why.
The pain you feel in your heel is caused by the upper calf muscles just below the knee. I am sure you have probably been told to stretch your calf. I am also sure the stretching technique you were given probably sounded like this. Lean against a wall, one foot further back than the other and lean into the wall for 15-30 seconds. You should feel a stretch or pull around the back of your ankle, the Achilles tendon area. Correct? This is an old stretching technique that unfortunately most current professionals choose to continue to do. First let’s look at why is doesn’t work, then I will show you how to do it right.
By leaning against a wall, you still must maintain a portion of your weight on the foot you are trying to stretch. Otherwise you would fall down. Your calf muscles run from under your foot to just above your knee and there are 4 of them. The Achilles tendon, which is on the backside of your ankle, consists of 2 of your calf muscles. Getting the picture? At best you are stretching the lower part of 2 muscles, when there are 4 muscles creating the problem.
The shoes you may have purchased are great for THE SHORT TERM. They will not fix the problem. Ever heard your friends say,”I love these orthotics, or shoes, so much it is the only thing I wear.” That’s because the muscles in their calves have shortened so much, they can’t wear anything else. The MBTs, with the rounded bottoms, allow the calf muscles to atrophy, get weaker, because the shoe does the work of walking and not your calves. So what do you do?
Get an 8’ rope or belt, nothing stretchy. Stretchy bands are for strength training which shortens the muscles. Sit on the floor with your hips against a wall. Lay one leg straight out in front of you, so the back of your knee is touching the floor. For those of you with very tight hamstrings, this part of the exercise will help to lengthen your hamstrings, muscles in the back of your thigh. Once you can lay your leg flat with your toes pointing to the ceiling, put the rope around the ball of your foot and pull back. Hold for 2 seconds then release. Never, ever hold a stretch for more than 2-3 seconds. Once you hold longer than 2-3 seconds, you will tighten the muscles. Then repeat this stretch 10 times. Now turn your foot inward and repeat the stretch. Next turn your foot outward and repeat the stretch. Congrats, you have stretched all 4 muscles from behind the knee. Do this daily for a week and your heel pain should go away. Continue stretching your calves this way every other day from now on and the pain will not come back.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

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