November 2, 2006

New Stretch Helps Painful Heel Spur

U.S. researchers found patients suffering from heel spur syndrome had a 75 percent chance of having no pain after using a stretch.

The two-year follow-up study involved 82 patients with plantar fasciitis, all of whom were part of an original clinical trial of 101 patients in 2003.

The patients were taught a new stretch, specifically targeting the plantar fascia, which was developed by study author Dr. Benedict DiGiovanni of the University of Rochester and Deborah Nawoczenski of Ithaca College.

The stretch requires patients to sit with one leg crossed over the other, and stretch the arch of the foot by taking one hand and pulling the toes back toward the shin for a count of 10.

The exercise must be repeated 10 times, and performed at least three times a day, including before taking the first step in the morning and before standing after a prolonged period of sitting. More than 90 percent of the patients were totally satisfied or satisfied with minor reservations, and noted distinct decrease in pain and activity limitations, according to the study published in Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.