Heel Pain: A Common Running Partner

There are plenty of running clubs around town so people can gather and run together. Perhaps you prefer running with a friend or family member, or maybe even your dog. However, there is one running companion that isn’t preferable at all – and that’s heel pain!

Stretch for heel pain when running Painful heels often accompany runners and it’s easy to see why. Putting in a ton of miles (or not enough before competition), wearing shoes that are worn out, running on hard surfaces, not warming up properly, and increasing workouts too quickly can all lead to repetitive stress and overuse issues, most commonly plantar fasciitis.

This prime cause of heel pain frequently found in runners occurs due to wear and tear of the plantar fascia – a band of tissues that spans your arch, connecting your toes to your heel. When this band becomes irritated and inflamed, it pulls on the heel bone, producing a sharp pain, especially when called upon to expand after having been at rest. That’s why heel pain with the first step out of bed in the morning is a signature symptom!

Although rest is a four-letter word to runners, it’s a must! Take some time off and when you gradually return (the key word being gradually) be sure to incorporate some cross-training with lower impact activities into your routine. Try yoga, swimming, or cycling, for example. Other treatments to help with runners and heel pain include:

  • Making sure shoes fit well and provide enough cushion and support.
  • Using orthotics or heel pads to take pressure off your heel.
  • Performing stretching exercises to keep your arch and Achilles limber.
  • Icing the area and taking anti-inflammatory medication to minimize pain and swelling.
  • Properly preparing your body for activity – stretching, warming up, and training appropriately prior to events.
  • Avoiding hard surfaces and sudden changes in terrain, as well as sudden increases in duration and intensity of workouts.
  • Visiting Harvey R. Danciger, DPM to have your feet assessed. That way, we can determine the cause of your heel pain and the best treatment plan for you. We can also analyze your gait to see if poor biomechanics could be behind your problems, which would allow us to address your heel pain at its source.

If you’re running with heel pain, call to make an appointment today. The sooner you get treatment, the less time you’ll need to take off down the road! Dial (760) 568-0108 to reach our Palm Desert, CA office. We’ll get you back to running with your club, friend, family, or dog as soon as possible! 

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