Heel Pain & Runners: What You Can Do To Alleviate This Foot Problem

Heel pain is not uncommon among runners, both for recreational athletes and people competing at a more competitive level. With a high tolerance for pain, many of them continue to stick to their routine, albeit at a lower number of miles than they normally run. Some runners put off seeking treatment for the issue, because they are concerned they will be told they will have to stop running for several weeks to rest the affected foot and choose to tough it out instead.

Continuing to run on an injured foot will only aggravate the initial injury and may cause even further damage. When it comes to heel pain and runners, getting a proper diagnosis should be your first step.

Heel Pain & Runners: Major Causes of Injury

When you consult a podiatrist for heel pain, the two most likely causes are plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the ligament at the bottom of the foot tears where it attaches at the heel. The tearing causes inflammation, is painful. Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which runs down the back of the lower leg. It connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis are:

            •           Pain under the heel, especially when taking the first few steps in the morning or after sitting

            •           Discomfort that lessens with activity but becomes worse with sitting

Achilles tendinitis symptoms include:

            •           Pain, especially on movement of the heel and foot

            •           Swelling may occur in the heel and area around tendon

Treatment for Runners’ Heel Pain

Rest the injured foot to give it time to heal. Apply ice for pain relief. Place an ice pack on the foot for up to 15 minutes at a time, three or four times a day. If you notice swelling, use an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or Aspirin to reduce your discomfort.

If the pain is worse when you take your first few steps, put your shoes on as soon as you get up. Wear shoes with good arch supports and good shock absorption. Limit walking or standing on hard surfaces.

Consult a podiatrist if pain persists for more than a week. You’ll want to have a complete exam and an expert opinion about a treatment plan at that point. If you are experiencing runner’s heel pain that has not resolved, please fill out this appointment request form