Summer Activities that Won’t Ignite Your Heel Pain

Jun 13, 2019

When summer is in full swing, many people wish to be as well. You only get so many days of warmth and joy before winter begins to creep in again. If you live off a spiritual solar battery, now is your time!

If you have heel pain, however, then you might be thinking twice about some of the activities you love. Unfortunately, odds are good that you should!

Under ideal circumstances, you are already receiving treatment for your heel pain and may need to temporarily reduce or refrain from certain activities that will place high impact stress on the area—stuff like running, dancing, basketball, soccer, and other pastimes that involve your feet repeatedly pounding the ground.

And if you’re not currently doing anything about your heel pain, you are missing a critical step here! Heel pain rarely goes away on its own without some form of plan. If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, your heel pain is very likely not going to go away. It can even become worse.

There is plenty of good news, however. Just because you might need to cut back on certain activities to allow a case of plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis to heal rarely means that you have to be stuck on the couch surfing Netflix all summer.

Plenty of activities remain that are low-impact on your feet while still providing a big benefit to your body and mind. If you’re an athlete who is a bit one-note about the types of workouts you do (which might have lent to your development of heel pain in the first place), you might even find some great new cross-training opportunities when you get back to full speed again.

But first, there’s always a caveat when it comes to decisions like these:

Summer Activities Dr. DePalma Graphic

Clear Your Activity Plans for Takeoff

You can find guides for all sorts of activities and exercises, but not everything is going to be the best fit or recommendation for your particular situation.

Heel pain is not universally similar for everyone. The causes—and the influences behind those causes—can differ from patient to patient. This means that a great choice of activity for one patient to take up might run some risks for another. It’s not a highly common risk, but it’s still one that’s worth bringing up with us.

As a bonus, if you do discuss your activity and exercise plans with us, we can not only suggest what would be the safest ways to go about them, but also recommend ways to get the best benefits that match your personal goals and recovery needs!

So remember that the activities we’re discussing below are suggestions. They may likely be great choices for many people suffering from heel pain, but you should still make sure they’re the best for you specifically. And, of course, if any activity is causing your heels pain, stop doing it immediately! 

Activities that Can Take the Edge Off Heel Pain

When switching up your movement to still get the most out of summer while letting your heels cool, put the following under consideration:

  • Who doesn’t like to hit the water during the summer? Doing laps in the pool is a fantastic form of exercise that keeps your cardio up without placing extra body weight on your heels. Also consider water aerobics; a great way to get resistance training in with little of that resistance going to your feet.
  • Whether taking a bike out on some nice trails or using a stationary bike at the gym, either method will place much less stress on the feet than running. If you have access to one, and the situation would prefer it, you may even want to consider using a hand cycle. Comfortable, hard surface shoes may give your heels added protection, if needed.
  • Elliptical Machine. A way to make a running-type motion without as much stress on the heels? It’s definitely worth a try!
  • Leg Exercises. Keeping up strength in the lower legs will be important as you recover. Curls (pulling your foot toward your posterior, against resistance) and extensions will work the quadriceps. Work your legs side-to-side, inward and outward, with resistance bands to work the outer and inner thigh muscles as well.
  • If you are lucky enough to have easy access to a proper vessel, equipment, and waterway, rowing outside is a great way to work upper arm strength and take in some peaceful time. If not, rowing machines at the gym may be an option.
  • Yoga. Any form of stretching exercise will benefit you greatly not only during a recovery period, but for most activities you will want to do in the future, too. While there are plenty of videos you can find on YouTube to pick up some poses, an in-person class with an expert instructor will help you get the most out of this practice.

Getting Back on Your Heels

Whether a treatment plan for your heel pain includes rest, ice, custom orthotics, laser therapy, lifestyle changes, or other recommendations, one requirement of every plan is patience.

If you try to push yourself in various ways too hard, too quickly, you run a big risk of extending your recovery time or causing new damage. The best type of treatment plan will accommodate for the body’s needs and include a gradual buildup back to full strength in proper time.

The experts at Burlington County Foot & Ankle Associates will provide the best advice to get you back to all you love as quickly and as safely as possible, and even help you make some changes to prevent future problems from sidelining you again. Give us a call at (609) 714-0052 to schedule an appointment, or fill out our online contact form to reach us electronically.

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