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Foot stretches are the best types of heel spur exercises to help manage the condition when there is a knob or projection in or around the calcaneous or heel bone. Pain occurring with heel spurs is a product of the extra hooking bump pressing against the supporting structures of the foot. Stretching the foot increases flexibility and strength while aiding in the reduction of pain.
When the heel bone has an abnormal edge or outcrop, also known as an osteophyte, it can jab against the soft tissue on the soles of the foot and on the plantar fascia. Fascia is fibrous netting surrounding the internal structures of the body. The plantar fascia is a strip of thick supporting tissue which runs from the heel to the toes on the bottom of the foot.
Inflammation and resulting foot pain, ranging from a localized area in and around the spur to all-over foot pain, can happen when the plantar fascia becomes irritated and tight. This is a condition known as plantar fasciitis. When this band tightens, the fibrous webbing supporting the rest of the foot can become involved. Whereas heel spur exercises will not get rid of the extra hook of bone on the heel, stretching exercises can alleviate tightness in the foot.
Stretching heel spur exercises should incorporate the entire foot and ankle. Begin by moving the foot up and down, and side to side. To increase the stretch of the plantar fascia, bend the knee, grasp the balls of the feet and stretch the toes towards the body. Tension in the soles of feet may also be relieved by running the foot across a tennis ball.
Performing a modified runner's stretch may also help diminish pain due to tightness. Stand at arm's length from a wall with one foot directly in front of the other. Keeping the feet planted on the ground, bend the forward knee and lean into the wall. To enhance the stretch of the bottom of the foot, add a squat with the modified runner's stretch. This can be accomplished by bending both knees while leaning into the wall.
A plantar fascia stretch can also be performed by hanging the heel off a step and pushing the heel down. While on the step, rise up on the toes to boost the overall strength of the foot and ankle area. Heel spur exercises incorporating strengthening can also be accomplished by picking up small objects, such as pebbles or marbles, with the toes.