Don’t Let Heel Pain Ruin Your Thanksgiving Run!

In the past few years, we’ve noticed a growing Thanksgiving tradition here around Palm Desert and the Coachella Valley—turkey trots!

The idea of going for a run on Thanksgiving Day might seem strange to some, but when you think about it, it’s not too unusual.

For starters, they’re mostly all 5K distance, meaning almost anyone can participate and have a good time—children, families, seniors, athletes, and non-athletes alike. Even moderate-paced walkers can typically finish the course in around an hour or less.

On top of that, many turkey trots are tied in with a local charity or fundraiser. What could be more fitting on a holiday dedicated to thankfulness, sharing, and generosity?

In fact, there’s a ton of these going on right here in our Coachella Valley community, so if you’re looking to add a good pre-meal workout to your holiday tradition, you’ve got options.

For example:

  • Martha’s Village and Kitchen Thanksgiving Day 5K (Palm Desert). This one starts at the corner of El Paseo and San Pablo Avenue, at 8 a.m. Your registration fee and any additional funds you agree to raise go toward supporting Martha’s Village and Kitchen, an organization that provides food, emergency housing, childcare and development, career training, and other services for homeless people and families in Coachella Valley. (Your registration also includes a beer at the end of the race, if you’re over 21!)
  • Running Wild’s WILD Turkey Trot 5K (Palm Springs). Palm Springs residents might instead choose this turkey trot, which also begins at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The course is fast and flat certified, meaning that if you do want to take this one a little more seriously, you should be able to set a great time. A portion of your entry fee will go to support the Mizell Center Meals on Wheels Program, which provides nutritious meals for homebound senior citizens.
  • Turkey Trottin’ on the Trails (La Quinta). If you’re looking to escape the city, this turkey trot starts out near the intersection of Avenida Montezuma and Calle Chillon and follows the Bear Creek Trail south—so you’ll get plenty of panoramic views of the Santa Rose mountains.

We certainly encourage our patients to be fit and active, and turkey trots are a great way to get some exercise, have fun, and maybe even support a good cause!

That said, if your heels are in pain, your “turkey trot” might turn into more of a “hobble gobble.”

In fact, if your heels are in pain, you’re probably not going to have much fun no matter what your Thanksgiving plans are. Working in the kitchen, setting the table, playing a little flag football in the yard, Black Friday shopping … pretty much any activity that isn’t eating or watching football could be somewhere between aggravating and excruciating, depending on the severity of your condition.

So, if you’re worried about heel pain ruining your Thanksgiving run—or your Thanksgiving Day in general—you’re going to want to take some precautions to keep that from happening!

For our intrepid turkey trotters:

Prepare your body

Although 5Ks don’t require extensive training, they can still be a challenge for those who aren’t used to running three miles (or walking briskly for 45-60 minutes) at a time. Going too hard when you aren’t prepared can lead to pain and injury in your feet.

We’d recommend that you at least do some training before the race day. Go on some long walks. Alternate between jogging and running as you are able. It’s okay to work up a good sweat, but don’t push yourself if you genuinely start to feel pain. Listen to your body.

Also, don’t forget to warm up and stretch before your run, and cool down with a short walk afterward!

With a little bit of conditioning beforehand, you hopefully shouldn’t have any problems with pain on race day. Remember to have fun!

Wear the right shoes

When it comes to turkey trots, “the right shoes” can mean different things to different people. But in general, you’re going to want a good, comfortable pair of well-cushioned athletic shoes to support and protect your feet throughout the run.

Now, there are some variations depending on your situation. Are you a total novice looking to walk most of the course? Any pair of walking shoes will probably be fine. But if you plan to actually do a lot of running—or even pushing yourself to set a new personal record—you’re going to specifically want a pair of running shoes.

If you’re in pain now, don’t wait—get treatment now!

Many cases of mild-to-moderate heel pain can resolve with a little bit of rest and home care. That’s all well and good, if you can spare the time. But if your pain isn’t responding to rest—or you want to feel better in time for the turkey trot—you’re going to need some extra help!

Fortunately, that’s what we provide here at the office of Harvey Danciger, DPM—and heel pain is one of our top specialties!

Because heel pain has so many different possible causes, an accurate diagnosis is a crucial first step toward building an effective and efficient treatment plan. An expert examination will help you find the fastest route to relief—no more following recommendations at random from “Dr. Google”!

And beyond that, we offer many advanced treatments and tools to help you get better. That includes custom orthotics, unique and custom made inserts that cushion and support your feet in the exact ways and places they need to function properly—even during a race!

It also includes laser therapy, which is simply one of the very best treatments available for a wide range of painful inflammatory conditions (including most forms of heel pain). Not only does laser therapy produce a rapid analgesic (pain-relieving) effect, but it also accelerates the natural tissue healing process already at work in your body.

Better yet, treatments are quick, pain free, and have no side effects. Bottom line, if you want the quickest possible relief from your pain and return to activity, this is the tool that has the best chance to put you back on your feet.

So do you want to make sure you close out Thanksgiving at a trot, rather than a hobble? Give our Palm Desert podiatry office a call today. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Danciger at (760) 568-0108.

Dr. Harvey Danciger
Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle
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