Running and Heel Pain
Imagine the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, and not a care in the world. Well, there are only a few things that can bring about that kind of feeling and one of them is running. Even better, there are countless benefits associated with it. Yes, apart from the obvious fact that running keeps your weight in check, you also benefit from being especially fit.
- It is a well-known fact that runners have an increased lung capacity, hence an increase in endurance levels to keep going mile after mile.
- Running also helps in the prevention of blood pressure because the expanding and contracting of the arteries means that you have a healthy flow of blood through your body.
- If you are having one of those days where you feel like punching something, a quick jog around the neighborhood park will do wonders for your mood. Running boosts the brain serotonin levels responsible for making you calmer and relaxed. You will be literally “chasing a high” and well, if that doesn’t give you the boost you need, then, keep chasing!
- Running is also beneficial to the increased joints, bones and ligament strength and stability, which comes in handy when running on those uneven terrains. Your body will have the strength to withstand it.
There are two sides to a slice of bread. Just as there are plenty of enjoyable health benefits that come with running, there are some, not so pleasant, pains associated with it as well. Our bodies are not immune to injuries such as ankle sprains, breakage, and other related pains. An example of one injury is Plantar Fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Don’t let the big word scare you. This condition is also known as the “Policeman’s Heel” in relation to the long hours spent on their feet. It is just pain experienced at the bottom of the foot and on the heels. It is a very common orthopedic condition of the feet.
This pain can be as a result of running, extended periods of standing and weight related. The over extension of the plantar fascia, which is the broad band of fibrous tissues found on the bottom of the foot, can exasperate this condition to cause heel pain, heel spurs, and arch pains.
A tightness, rupture, or inflammation of the Achilles tendon found on the back of the leg also poses a risk factor for Plantar Fasciitis.
If your work involved strenuous heavy lifting, this can put excessive strain on your heels and can result in tears in the tissues of the feet. Continuous overload may prevent healing and in turn, cause chronic inflammation and tissue degeneration.
How to Diagnose Plantar Fasciitis:
Pain is a way of your body telling you that something may be wrong and we rely on our feet for just about everything. I imagine that if you are a runner one of the worst things that any one can tell you is that you can no longer pursue a passion that brings joy. So you can’t afford to ignore any pain!
A simple self-diagnosis can be done to determine if you have Plantar Fasciitis. Most people experience pain in the morning when getting out of bed or when standing up after a long period of being seated. This pain or discomfort quickly subsides.
However, it is an obvious sign that something is serious when there is a continuous throbbing pain or the feeling of a sharp stabbing pain in the heel, then:
- An X-ray procedure is necessary to rule out any fractures, infections, and tumors.
- An Ultrasound is also important when it comes to measuring the thickness of the veins and connective tissues of the feet.
In most cases, medication and other simple non-surgical treatments may suffice, however, if the pain persists and you start to experience:
- Chronic nerve pains
- Severe swelling
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Foot stiffness
These symptoms will most likely start to affect the productivity in your life, then there are surgical procedures available that can relieve them. So consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
Most exercises relating to any foot injuries are best done under an orthopedic surgeon or a physiotherapist’s supervision, such as:
- Stretching of the Plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon. This is to minimize further damage to the area.
- Cold and Heat Packs: Place the gel pack on a foot stool and then put your heel on top can help with relieving pain or inflammation.
- Wearing a Dorsiflexion Splint brace overnight will keep your foot raised at a 90-degree angle which helps with those mornings start-up pains.
- Rolling your foot on a plastic bottle of hot or cold water and depending on your symptoms, experiment on both to see which brings you more relief.
- Medication such as anti-inflammatories in tablet form as well as steroid injections is an option depending on the length of symptoms and the pain levels.
- Shock Wave Therapy is a noninvasive procedure that is used by passing shock waves in the affected area in order to manage chronic pain.
How to Beat Plantar Fasciitis
As earlier discussed, this condition can be caused by a number of reasons such as workload pressure on the heels, standing for long hours at a time, excessive exercising to mention a few. Now, while it wouldn’t be a good idea to quit your job, there are ways you can keep Planta Fasciitis at bay.
- Invest in proper orthopedic shoes to take the pressure off your feet. Swap those high heels for flat well-padded shoes.
- Wearing heel-cups (Orthosis) when walking
- Heel and toe exercises such as flexing the plantar tendon, stretching and curling up your feet, and tiptoeing.
- A foot massage regulates blood circulation.
- Keep a healthy weight as too much of it tends to put more pressure on your heels and the tendons.
Remember to help your feet by staying off them, whether in pain or not. You only have the two.
like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.