Stretch out that sore heel

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

By: Jeff Ash

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If you have pain on the bottom of your heel first thing in the morning, it’s probably plantar fasciitis.


That’s the bad news.


Here’s the good news, from Dr. Jason George DeVries, a foot and ankle surgeon with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic: “Most people who get it won’t need surgery.”


Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the long, thin ligament connecting the heel to the front of the foot and supporting the arch of the foot. Those most likely to get it are women, overweight people or those who do a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces at work. Those who walk or run for exercise also may get plantar fasciitis.



If you get that pain in the heel, here’s how you can fight back:


Stretching is the best treatment.


  • Standing stretch: If you stretch your calves before working out, you know this one. Lean forward against a wall, with your good foot closest to the wall and your sore foot back. Bend the knee closest to the wall and straighten the other leg, with the heel on the ground behind you. The plantar fascia ligament and foot arch will stretch as you lean forward. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Do this 20 times.
  • Seated stretch: Cross your sore leg over your other leg, resting the ankle on top of the knee. Grab your toes and pull them back toward your shin, stretching the foot arch. Gently rub the arch to feel for the plantar fascia ligament, which should feel firm. Stretch for 10 seconds. Do this 20 times. This stretch is best done first thing in the morning before standing or walking.

Wear support orthotics. Over-the-counter inserts provide arch support and cushion the foot. Soft silicone heel pads elevate and cushion the heel.


Put ice on the heel for 20 minutes three or four times a day.


Massage can work the kinks out of the inflamed tissue.


Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) can ease the pain.


“If these measures don’t resolve your plantar fasciitis, and the pain lingers, see a specialist. We can help,” DeVries says.


Further treatments can range from custom orthotics to physical therapy to cortisone injections to surgery, depending on the severity of the inflammation.


Dr. Jason George DeVries sees patients at the Foot & Ankle Center at 2020 Riverside Drive in Green Bay. He also sees patients in Manitowoc and Chilton. He is board certified and fellowship trained in foot and ankle surgery. To request an appointment, call 920-288-5555 or 877-884-8796 in Green Bay or 920-682-6376 in Manitowoc or request one online.

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.