Heel Spur Massage: Tips And Techniques

Who doesn’t like a good massage?

And the good news is that massaging your heel spurs may actually be a great way to relieve pain. If you’re looking for ways to lessen the pain, you might try massaging your heel spurs.

How Can Massaging Help Heel Spurs?

Anyone who has gotten a back massage or foot massage knows just how useful it is in relieving tension and assisting in recovery. Typically, massaging is a great option alongside other treatments like resting, icing, over-the-counter medicine, and so forth.

Various studies have shown that massage is a great way to reduce pain and stress in the muscles being massaged, which in this case are heel spurs. If you get a significant other or massage therapist to do it, you can also experience a close connection with that individual.

Massaging works for heel spurs because it can help loosen up the plantar fascia if you’re dealing with heel spurs due to plantar fasciitis and can improve circulation to get the blood flowing again.

Where Should I Massage to Help Heel Spurs?

You would think that the only place that would be effective for massage to reduce heel spur pain would be your heels, but you would be wrong. You can actually massage your calves or your heels to experience a reduction in pain.

Calf Muscles

If your heel spurs are due to plantar fasciitis or if you just have a tight Achilles tendon, it might be because your calf muscles are tight. One study found that massage alongside stretching the calf muscles is a great way to treat plantar fasciitis.

You might find it especially helpful to massage your calf muscles if you are on your feet a lot, wear high heels regularly, or are a runner because these can exacerbate the tightness in the calf muscles.

Some options for calf massages include kneading down your calves with your thumbs and fingers, grabbing your calf muscles and pulling them forward, or using a foam roller underneath your calves.

Heel Muscles

Obviously, another key area is your heel. Because heel spurs are often the most uncomfortable when you wake up in the morning, you might want to consider adding some massaging into your morning routine. Orthopedic slippers can also help.

Remember that it shouldn’t hurt—you just want to apply a little bit of pressure. You can even use some lotion or moisturizer if you want to treat yourself a little bit. Typically, you’ll want to focus around your heel, but you can also massage up and down on the plantar fascia ligament.

How Do I Self-Massage for Heel Spurs?

Depending on your comfort level, you have several options for using massage to treat heel spurs at home. You can use your hand (or ask a significant other to do it!) or you can use a tool like a ball or a foam roller. We’ll explain how each one works below!

Use Your Hands

You can massage your heel in several ways, so figure out what works for you. One option is to move your hand in a circular motion starting at your heel and moving up to your toes. Make sure that you move slowly and smoothly up your foot. Continue for as long as is needed.

You can also press your thumbs up and down the bottom of your foot, starting at the heel and moving up. If you so desire, you can also make circular motions with your thumbs. Finally, you can just use long strokes or a clenched fist to move up and down the bottom of your foot.

If you have a significant other or friend who is willing, you have a lot more options that would take more than two hands. You can have your significant other rock your heel, using one hand to hold your toes and another to cup your heel. Ask him or her to massage the heel as he or she holds it!

Another option is to have your significant other “wring” out your foot, moving to different parts of your foot with the same motion you would use to wring out a wet towel or washcloth. He or she could also gently move up and down on your arch as you pull your toes toward you.

It’s especially important to communicate how everything is feeling for this last massage, but no matter what massage your significant other is doing, make sure that you tell him or her how it feels, particularly if it’s painful so he or she can stop!

Use a Hard Ball or Foam Roller

If you’d rather not use your hands or it’s hard for you to bend that way because you’re getting a little older, you can always use something else like a hard ball, a foam roller, or even an ice cold water bottle.

You can use a golf ball or tennis ball if you have some lying around the house, or you can use a massage ball that will give you more flexibility in how much or how little pressure you apply to the bottom of your feet.

Simply move your foot back and forth on the ball, foam roller, or water bottle, making sure to apply pressure as needed. You might be especially inclined to try a frozen water bottle or cold can of pop because it can help with inflammation.

What Are Some Tips for Massaging Heel Spurs?

Now that you have an idea of where you might want to massage and how to do it, here are some tips you’ll want to keep in mind so that your heel spur massage goes as smoothly as possible!

Comfort is Key

If you don’t have a significant other to help you, it’s important that you can easily and comfortably reach your feet. The foot massage will be in vain if you have to throw out your back to do it.

If you’re just not able to comfortably bring your heel up to you, get a significant other or friend to do it. While they will be able to reach your feet much easier, you will also have to keep them informed of the amount of pressure they are applying and how it feels.

When in Doubt, Use a Tool

You can also just resort to using a tool like a ball, foam roller, or water bottle to make it easier to massage your feet. You just have to roll back and forth from a seated position. If you use a foam roller, it might be easier to adjust since it’s a little taller.

Don’t Push Through Pain

As the saying goes, “no pain, no gain.” But that’s not true for massage! If you experience any pain, you need to ease up on the pressure. If it still hurts, you need to stop entirely. Otherwise, you might make things worse.

Keep an Eye on Time

Finally, this isn’t meant to be an hour massage session. You should keep your sessions short and between 5-15 minutes. The upside is that you’ll easily be able to sneak in a massage before and after work.

Add Some Variety

As you massage your heels and feet, you can always jazz things up with some lotion or moisturizer as well as some other home remedies like using essential oils or massaging your heels in an Epsom salt bath.

Final Thoughts

Waking up with intense pain in your feet every day due to heel spurs is not ideal, but there are ways to mitigate it. Massaging is definitely one of the best options because it will alleviate pain and you can treat yourself.

Just make sure that you aren’t spending too much time massaging your heels, you’re doing it the right way, and it isn’t painful! And it’s a good excuse to ask your significant other for a foot massage.

Mayo Clinic. “Massage: Get in Touch With Its Many Benefits.” Last modified October 6, 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/massage/art-20045743#:~:text=Studies%20of%20the%20benefits%20of,Digestive%20disorders

NDTV Food. “7 Natural Home Remedies for Heel Spurs to Relieve the Pain.” Last modified June 15, 2018. https://food.ndtv.com/health/7-natural-home-remedies-for-heel-spurs-to-relieve-the-pain-1659362.

Saban, Bernice, Daniel Deutscher, and Tomer Ziv. “Deep Massage to Posterior Calf Muscles in Combination With Neural Mobilization Exercises as a Treatment for Heel Pain: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial.” Manual Therapy19, no. 2 (April 2014): 102-108. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2013.08.001.