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Running and Heel Pain

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:

  1. Numbness
  2. Chronic nerve pains
  3. Severe swelling
  4. Deep vein thrombosis
  5. 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:

  1. Stretching of the Plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon. This is to minimize further damage to the area.
  2. 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.
  3. Wearing a Dorsiflexion Splint brace overnight will keep your foot raised at a 90-degree angle which helps with those mornings start-up pains.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

4 thoughts on “Running and Heel Pain

  1. Extremely well written and informative. I enjoyed that your flow was right on target with what is it, what can I do, and how can I beat it! I think the flow is perfect. I like the page, but unfortunately I could not review the youtube, but that might be my firewall issue.

    1. Hi Janell,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for the heads up on the youtube. I’ll see if the problem is on my end.

  2. Hello

    I enjoyed reading your article on running and heel pain, have you experienced this yourself personally? I was just curious if you knew this from your own experience, the foot bath product does look very refreshing. Would this bath help muscle feet problems as well, I have feet pain at the end of my day from over tired muscles?

    1. Hi Jeffrey,

      I used to run track and the problem that I had is that sometimes hard training led to a sprained ankle. Through the process of healing, I later learned about other foot problems such as heel pain. I suspect that the steps I took to prevent future ankle related injuries, such as wearing shoes with a good arch support and stability, helped me prevent heel pain. That said, my interest in back pain relief trends led me to throughly investigate the link between running and back pain. This ultimately led me to examine the many ways runners, walkers, and the ordinary active person can have foot problems.

      Now, here’s what I have to say about ice bucket for feet. I think it could help you with your feet providing that you use this caution. Prolong use of icing can cause frostbite. You should soak in the water and ice for no more than 20 to 30 minutes. Also make sure your feet are not bleeding or have open cuts as this will make things worse. Now, some people find soaking their feet in a bucket of ice and water uncomfortable. If this the case with you, you might try products such “Ice Feet” found on amazon. This product is basically ice packs designed like feet and you wear them with socks. You can learn more about the product using this link: http://amzn.to/2nc0KDo

      In any case, I wish you well. Feel free to contact me any time. Also thanks for you question. I realize now that I need to follow up the information about heel pain with steps that people can take to get relief. So, I’m going to do my very best to investigate trusted products and treatments that can bring real relief to those suffering from heel pain.

      Thabo

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