Perhaps, running is the most basic form of exercise. But sometimes, it causes heel pain. Heel pain after running may be linked to structural concerns, plantar fasciitis, or improper movement patterns. Yes, it may be common for people to experience heel pain, but it requires immediate care to avoid further complications and misalignments. In this article, we will learn the causes of heel pain after running, its treatment, as well as prevention.
Causes of Heel Pain After Running
There are many causes of heel pain after running. Sometimes, it may be due to a reduced range of motion in your ankle, or you simply overused your heel. Aside from pain, you may also suffer from muscular imbalances and other symptoms, which may cause you discomfort.
You are mostly at risk of heel pain if you are overweight or injured. These factors greatly affect your movement and alignment patterns.
A person who has very high arches or flat feet is more at risk of heel pain because his foot shape triggers excess strain on his plantar fascia, a thick ligament found at the bottom of the foot. Inflammation, pain, and tearing of this ligament lead to plantar fasciitis.
Back Of Heel Pain After Running
It is called Achilles tendonitis. The pain can also affect the outer and inner side of the heel as well as the foot.
Ball Of Foot Pain After Running
It is caused may be due to Neuroma. This occurs when the nerves in the ball of your foot become swollen. People with Morton’s neuroma usually experience a sharp, shooting, or burning pain in the ball of the foot. This usually feels like a small stone or lump under the foot.
Side Heel Pain After Running
It is caused may be due to a sprain, stress fracture, cuboid syndrome, tarsal coalition, peroneal tendonitis, callouses, or posterior tibial tendonitis. Most foot pains are due to mechanical causes, linked to injury, strain, or bone structure problems.
Other causes of heel pain after running include
- Autoimmune Problem
- Nerve irritation
- Neurological Problem
- Sever’s disease
- Stress fractures
Treatment For Heel Pain After Running
Treatment options may depend upon the cause of the heel pain and include:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to reduce swelling and pain of your heel. But if it is not effective, your healthcare provider may give you corticosteroid injections. However, this kind of treatment option should be given with caution due to its adverse effects after long-term use.
Your doctor might also recommend you to have physical therapy that can stretch your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. This can also help strengthen your leg muscles, which can stabilize your heel and ankle.
You can also use athletic taping, if possible, to give better support of your foot. Your doctor may also suggest insoles, orthotics, or other assistive devices that give foot support and cushion as well as correct foot faults during the healing period.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy may also be aimed at the affected area to stimulate and encourage healing. This kind of therapy is usually suggested if the above-mentioned methods are not effective.
If therapy for heel pain is not effective, then your doctor may prescribe you to undergo surgery. The surgery involves the detachment of your plantar fascia from your heel bone. Although this can relieve help pain, this will weaken your foot arch.
2. Night Splints
Night splints can be used in your foot and calf while you are sleeping. This lengthens the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia by stretching them. Yes, you can find it online, but it is always advisable to consult your doctor before you try using night splints.
3. Home Remedies
Some heel pain may not be that serious. Heel pain may go away on its own. Maybe, you overused your heel; that is why it is painful. Try to rest for a while. Avoid standing, walking, or running for long periods.
Try to use ice on the affected area. This might relieve heel pain. Use foot supports like help cups and wedges. Be cautious of your footwear, especially if you are an athlete, you need well-fit shoes to provide support to your heels.
Prevention Tips For Heel Pain After Running
In order to prevent heel pain after running, you should reduce the stress on that part. Here are some of the ways on how you can prevent heel pain
- Wear comfortable shoes on hard ground
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Make sure your shoes are properly fit
- Avoid shoes that cause pain
- Give your feet a rest
- Warm-up before you run
- Wear suitable running attire
Heel pain after running is very common and mostly not serious. There are various home remedies to minimize heel pain, such as applying ice on the affected area, giving your feet a rest, and changing your footwear. If the pain is severe, you need to seek immediate help from your healthcare provider. It is just a mere heel pain, but it should not be taken for granted.
Doctor, author and fitness enthusiast, Ahmed Zayed, MD, is a surgery resident with a passion for helping people live a happy healthy life. He is the author of numerous health-related books and contributor to several medicine, health and wellbeing.