Can a solution be so simple that people don’t believe it can actually solve their problem?
That’s part of the problem we face at the One Stretch: “You mean if I simply stretch my calves, three times a day, for three minutes a day, over a period of a few weeks to a few months, I can eliminate my heel pain? You mean this is how I get back to what I love doing?”
The answer is that yes, in more than 95 percent of the cases, this can help people find relief from plantar fasciitis, midfoot arthritis, or Achilles problems—and with this protocol they do it the RIGHT way.
Yes, there’s an abundance of research that supports how tight calves lead to ailments such as plantar fasciitis, but that doesn’t mean people always “see” things so clearly. While a lack of education can’t be blamed on a patient, as strange as it sounds, sometimes the truth is just too simple for people.
That said, our approach has always been that education helps people.
Education helps you know the “why” behind what you’re doing. In theory, if you know the “why” behind something, you are more likely to do it!
Education helps with compliance (in theory) and it also helps with motivation (in theory).
It’s important for you to understand what’s causing your heel pain, how your foot works, and how stretching—the right way and with patience—can eliminate your pain…And that is why we continue to educate people when it comes to calf stretching and your heel or foot pain.
“The Stretching is Easy”
The stretching is easy, but it’s sometimes frustrating because it can take up to several months to eliminate the pain completely. What’s more, during this process, there can even be discomfort as our calves gradually return to their “normal” (or optimal) length.
That’s a “truth” that you’re not always going to hear, or want to hear for that matter, but any such change to your body takes time.
Painful Heel Syndrome aka Plantar Fasciitis
You may have heard it called plantar fasciitis, or heel spur syndrome…some say it’s because of being overweight, out of shape, too much exercise, an injury, or a heel spur. All of this is simply not true. That horrible, sharp pain in your heel occurs at different times in people, due to a variety of causes.
If you’ve noticed heel pain when you get out of bed, or heel pain that worsens when you stand up, or heel pain while exercising, or severe heel pain after a day on your feet—that is the pain we’re talking about.
That pain is a symptom: it’s a symptom trying to tell you to look to the cause…so that you can treat that cause!
“But how can tight calves be related to the pain that is in my heel?”
The plantar fascia attaches to the base of the toes and narrows down to a smaller, weaker attachment at the base of the heel bone, or calcaneus. The larger calf muscle at the back of the leg becomes the Achilles tendon as it narrows down to the heel bone.
Your Achilles tendon has a very strong attachment into the back of the heel bone.
Because the Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia are both connected to the heel bone, the tension on one is equal to the tension on the other. Then, when you go to take a step, your body puts more stress on your plantar fascia—and hence the heel pain in the morning when you first take those steps getting out of bed.
First Discomfort (For Some), Then a Breakthrough
We educate the One Stretch community on the “why” behind their pain, how they might experience discomfort, and why they have to be patient to see results/. But we also try to remind them as much as possible that just because the symptoms go away, doesn’t mean you should stop stretching.
In fact, this is the opposite of what should be done: the person who has had plantar fasciitis, then stretches their calves using the One Stretch, only to find relief—this is the person who most definitely needs to continue to stretch.
To put it simply, the mere fact you haveor have hadplantar fasciitis means you are a “too tight” person, so you are more likely to get tight agin in the future. Your symptoms might have resolved, but the underlying cause, your calves, are likely to retighten over time left unattended.
Again, when the calves are too tight, they are causing incremental, progressive damage to the foot and ankle in other places and you might not know it until you know it (as in, feel the symptoms.)
Think of your heel pain as the proverbial minor “heart attack” that wakes you up and gets you back on the path to a healthy lifestyle preventing further damage. In your case, a history of plantar fasciitis is your early warning to start preventative stretching and creating a much healthier foot and ankle.
Start the Healing Process
Find out more about the One Stretch here, and stay tuned for our #SaveYourFeet challenge for you.