Topic Overview

You may be able to relieve heel pain by stretching tight
calf muscles. See a picture of a
calf stretch exercise.

  • Stand about
    1 ft (30 cm) from a wall and
    place the palms of both hands against the wall at chest level.
  • Step
    back with one foot, keeping that leg straight at the knee, and both feet flat
    on the floor. Your feet should point directly at the wall or slightly in toward
    the center of your body.
  • Bend your other (front) leg at the knee,
    and press the wall with both hands until you feel a gentle stretch on your back
  • Hold for a count of 10 (increasing the count to 30 or longer
    as you continue over several weeks). Switch legs and repeat. Do this 3 to 6
    times a day.

Foot-strengthening exercises done with a towel and weights.
See a picture of a
towel curls exercise.

  • Place a towel on the floor, and sit down in a
    chair in front of it with both feet resting flat on the towel at one
  • Grip the towel with the toes of one foot (keep your heel on
    the floor and use your other foot to anchor the towel). Curl your toes to pull
    the towel toward you.
  • Repeat with the other foot. To increase
    strength, later use
    3 lb (1.5 kg) to
    5 lb (2.5 kg) weights on the
    other end of the towel (such as a can of fruits or vegetables).

Foot-stretching exercises done with a towel. See a picture of
a towel stretch exercise.

  • Sit down on the floor or a mat with your feet
    stretched out in front of you.
  • Roll up a towel lengthwise and then
    loop it over one foot (around the ball of your foot).
  • Take one end
    of the towel in either hand and gently pull the towel towards your body to
    stretch the front of your foot. Repeat with the other foot.

Some people may choose more intensive strengthening and
flexibility programs, especially competitive athletes, people who want to
return to a heavy sports program, or people who are highly motivated. A
physical therapist or trainer can help supervise a program recommended by your
sports medicine specialist or a foot specialist, such as an orthopedist or


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O’Connor, MD – Emergency Medicine

Current as ofMarch 21, 2017