Why do they always give me stretching for my calf if my pain is in theheel?


Many patients with plantar fasciitis in the Worcester area are treated initially by their primary care or another doctor who always says, “When you have heel pain, try stretching.”  Stretching is a good option initially, but a lot of times it works better to do deep tissue massage to the back of the calf.  Let me explain why they recommend stretching. Stretching involves the back of the calf muscles and the plantar fascia, where the pain is in the bottom of the heel.  If you look at a typical person, they have the heel and on the upper back part of the heel is where the Achilles tendon attaches. On the bottom of the heel is where the plantar fascia attaches.  On the back of the leg are a lot of muscles that go around the ankle joint that cause the movement, and they insert around the foot and some of them insert around the area of the plantar fascia. All of these get tight when you’re walking with a limp due to the heel pain. If these aren't loosened up, you’ can’t adjust the way that you walk properly to reduce the pain and symptoms on the plantar fascia.  It’s very, very effective and very helpful to do deep tissue massage to the back of the calf, and that may be professional massage, it could be using the Graston technique with a physical therapist or the trigger point tools to get into the back into the leg. Plain stretching, I think, can have its place, but I don’t find it as beneficial as the deep tissue massage.

To Your Health,
Dr. Donald Pelto