Stretching Exercises Recommended by The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
Lean forward against a wall, keeping one knee straight while you bend the other knee. (If both of your heels hurt, then you need to reverse this position after you have exercised each heel. If only one of your heels hurt, the painful heel is placed further away from the wall). As you bend forward, the leg that remains straight is the one that you will be exercising. As you lean forward, you can feel your heel cord and the arch of your foot stretch. (Try to keep your heel on the ground, although as you stretch, it will gradually lift off the ground). STRETCH AND HOLD FOR 10 SECONDS. Then relax and straighten up– THEN STRETCH AGAIN. Repeat this 20 times. If your other heel bothers you, then you should stretch this side as well by reversing your position.
Lean forward as you lean onto a table, chair or countertop. In this exercise, you will flex both of your knees. Squat down slowly. Try to keep your heels on the ground, as long as you can, as you squat down. You will feel your heel cords and the arches of your feet stretch, as your heel finally starts to rise off the ground as you squat down. When you feel these structures REALLY STRETCHING, hold that position for 10 seconds. Then STRAIGHTEN UP. Repeat this 20 times.
Stand on the bottom step of a set of stairs and balance yourself on the balls of your feet. Slowly lower your heels as low as they will go and until you begin to feel your calf muscles really stretch. Hold that position for 10 seconds, then raise up and repeat this exercise 20 times.