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7 Best Heel Spur Exercises

Best Heel Spur Exercises

Walking with pain can be extremely frustrating, especially when it lasts all day without getting any better.

Research shows that heel spurs are one of the most common causes of heel pain. Thankfully, most heel spurs can be treated through simple conservative methods like exercise.

How Exercise Can Help

Heel spurs (also called calcaneal spurs) is a bony growth at the bottom of the heel that occurs due to calcium build-up at the bottom of the heel.

This condition doesn’t hurt most of the time, but it can be quite painful, especially when plantar fasciitis (inflammation of a strong ligament that runs between the heel and toe bones) is involved.

As such, podiatrists recommend conservative treatments such as exercises, orthotics and ice to help relieve pain.

For symptomatic calcaneal spurs, exercise is an effective way to reduce pain and improve your quality of life. A 2020 study showed that calcaneal spur exercises along with other conservative treatments can drastically reduce heel pain within 10 days.

This article provides a list of the best heel spur exercises you can do to reduce heel pain while stretching and strengthening your foot and leg muscles.

1. Wall Calf Stretch

A wall calf stretch can help limit the pain in your heel because it targets these heel muscles.

Here is how to do a good wall calf stretch, also called gastrocnemius-soleus complex:

  1. Stand before a wall and get into a lunge position, putting one leg forward and slightly bent and the other straight behind you.
  2. With the back leg straight and your foot flat, lean forward and move your hips toward the wall. If you feel a stretch in your calf on the straight leg, you’re doing the exercise right.
  3. Hold for thirty seconds, relax, repeat ten times, and then go again.
  4. Now, do the steps above on the other leg.

2. Heel Drops

Heel drop is another exercise that helps relieve heel spur pain while strengthening and stretching your Achilles tendon and calf muscles. You can do this exercise on a set of stairs with a sturdy railing or with an exercise step.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Set your exercise step against a wall and stand on it; make sure your feet are flat, and your back is straight.
  2. Hold the wall for support and move your right foot to the back of the step. Ensure the ball of your foot is on the step edge, then lower your right heel toward the floor, keeping your right foot straight.
  3. Hold the position for thirty seconds; feel that stretch in your right calf.
  4. Now this step two to three times and immediately switch to the other leg and repeat the process.

3. Heel Raises

Heel raises are strength-building exercises that help relieve heel soreness while improving its function.

Here is how to do heel raises to treat heel spur pain:

  1. Stand in front of a stable surface, like a chair, to provide steady support for the exercise.
  2. Roll a small washcloth and place it on the floor; then, place your toes on it. Ensure the roll is high enough so that your toes are slightly flexed.
  3. Do ten heel raises on one leg by slowly lifting yourself on your toes, pause, and then go down slowly.
  4. Do two sets of ten and repeat on the other leg.

4. Ball Rolling

This exercise requires you to roll a ball under your foot; it helps relax the foot muscles and reduce inflammation.

If you don’t have a ball, you can improvise – for instance, you can use a frozen water bottle. Once you have your ball or frozen water bottle:

  1. Place it under your foot.
  2. Then, roll the ball (or bottle) back and forth for two minutes.
  3. And repeat on the other leg.

5. Foot Stretch While Sitting

Foot stretch exercise while sitting helps to relieve muscle tension. Do a foot stretch exercise by:

  1. Sitting on a chair and extending the affected leg.
  2. Stretch the arch of the foot by pulling the tips of your toes upward.
  3. Place your hands on the unaffected leg and feel the tension in the sole of the affected foot.
  4. Hold this position for ten seconds and then repeat for two to three times.

6. Foot Massage

You can also massage the sole of the foot with the heel spur to relax the muscles and reduce pain in the area. Massaging the area can increase blood circulation, thus helping it heal much faster.

Here is how to perform a heel spur massage:

  1. Cross one leg over the other with the affected foot on top.
  2. Extend the toes backward and press your hands firmly on the sole (not the heel) of your foot.
  3. Hold the position for ten seconds, release pressure, and repeat ten times. You can do this two to three times a day, including after waking up or sitting for a prolonged period.

7. Towel Curls

Towel curls or scrunches work all the small inner foot muscles. Here is how to perform the exercise to relieve heel spur pain:

  1. Sit in a chair and set a small towel on the floor.
  2. With your toes, grab the middle of the towel and curl it toward you.
  3. Repeat ten times, rest for a minute, and repeat ten more times.
  4. Now, repeat the whole routine on the other foot.

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Previous article Stress Fracture of the Heel Bone
Next article What is a Heel Spur?

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