Walking, running and jumping can put a lot of strain on your legs. Although the legs, as strong limbs, can withstand a large amount of force, the pressure can increase and cause heel pain. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, running affects almost three times a person’s weight.
Running is a common exercise, but it can sometimes cause heel pain. Heel pain from running is often related to plantar fasciitis, structural concerns, or inappropriate movement patterns.
There are several other factors that can cause heel pain, but one of the most common causes is plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the heel).
Prompt care and treatment of heel pain is essential to prevent misalignment and complications. According to Health Line, the following are the preventive measures for heel pain and effective treatments in case of its occurrence.
Causes of heel pain after running
In the case of heel pain after running, several factors may play a role, although it can be due to the ease of overuse or reduced range of motion of the ankle. Often, some effects combine to cause pain, muscle imbalance, and other symptoms.
If too much weight and too much damage affects your alignment and movement patterns, you may be at greater risk for these problems.
People with flat feet or high arches are more prone to heel pain after running because these forms of foot put more pressure on the plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia is a thick ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot. Pain, inflammation, and rupture of the plantar fascia are also known as plantar fasciitis. Other causes include conditions such as:
Tension bone fractures
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel and sometimes the arch of the foot. This pain usually starts mildly and people often feel it when they get out of bed in the morning, as well as after sitting for a long time. Although pain levels can vary, the discomfort often subsides after a while of walking.
Pain from inflammation of the soles of the feet can last a long time and cause complications. Continued inflammation of the plantar fascia can lead to scar tissue. This can make the disease more difficult to treat, and inflammation of the soles of the feet can cause pain in other parts of the body. Problems with the knees, hips and back are also caused by changes in body movements.
How is heel pain treated after running?
There are several treatments for heel pain. With early treatment, the symptoms of home remedies are more effective, so start caring as soon as the symptoms appear. The following methods can help reduce pain, stress and inflammation.
Rest yourself and your legs while running and exercising. Stay away from running and any other activity that causes pain for a while. Do not start these activities until the symptoms subside. To relieve pain and increase flexibility two to three times a day for at least five minutes of each session, do gentle stretching exercises for the legs and feet.
Reduce inflammation with ice and take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
To reduce pain and inflammation, use an ice pack on the heel and surrounding areas several times a day for 20 minutes. You can also take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as:
Also natural painkillers such as:
Fish oil supplement
Acupuncture and massage treatments can also be used to relieve heel pain. The following treatments are available for self-medication at home:
Ice therapy: Apply ice on the heel three or four times a day for about 15 minutes. Using ice directly on the skin can be uncomfortable, so you should wrap the ice pack in a damp towel and place it on the heel.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): This group of people helps reduce discomfort and inflammation.
Foot orthoses: Foot orthoses are custom footrests and fit inside shoes. In people with orthopedic problems, the arch is supported, which helps to distribute the weight evenly when walking on the heel.
Splint: Using a splint at night is also a useful option. The splint stretches the arch and the leg and reduces foot discomfort.
Change activities: This option can also be useful for people who switch from strenuous activities such as running to more suitable exercises for the heel. Low-impact options include swimming and walking.
Use heel pads or shoe inserts
For more comfort, use a heel pad, side wedge or lift in your shoes. An over-the-counter or custom orthosis device can improve stability and correct muscle imbalance, as well as prevent excessive or incorrect foot movement. Avoid going naked. This can increase the stress and strain on the heel.
Try a night splint
If your foot needs complete rest or you should not work too hard, you can use a special plaster or splint to support your feet and ankles for a few weeks, and a night splint is also available. These support devices keep the foot in the correct position while lying down.
Medical treatment options
Although home remedies may be enough to reduce heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis, they may not always work. If home remedies fail, your doctor will recommend other medical treatments, such as:
Steroid injections: Steroid injections are an option when heel pain persists. Your doctor will inject an anti-inflammatory steroid into your heel. Repeated injections of steroids can weaken the fascia, so not too many injections can be given.
Surgery: The surgery option may be the last possible solution. There are several different surgical methods to reduce heel pain. For example, a procedure called plantar fascia secretion involves cutting a portion of the fascia to reduce tissue tension.
Inflammation of the soles of the feet can interfere with exercise. Continuing certain activities can make heel pain worse, but staying unemployed and avoiding exercise is also not helpful. Exercise is still possible when dealing with plantar fasciitis, but activities that put a lot of force on the heel should be avoided.
People should consider activities that do not normally involve a heel blow, such as boating, swimming, and lifting weights.
Time to see a doctor
Heel pain can usually be treated with home remedies and preventative measures. However, see your doctor or physiotherapist if your symptoms do not improve within a few weeks. These specialists can diagnose the cause and prescribe the appropriate treatment plan, which can include injecting corticosteroids into the heel area to reduce inflammation and pain.
You may also be referred to a foot and ankle surgeon, although surgery is not a common option. He prescribes the best treatment by determining the main source of heel pain through examination and photography or other imaging tests. If there is any severe pain in the heel that limits the ability to walk or is accompanied by redness and swelling, you should see a doctor immediately.
How to prevent heel pain after running?
Continuing preventive measures is important even if the heel pain is being treated because the underlying cause of the heel pain is likely to continue. This option helps prevent the symptoms from getting worse or worse.
Change walking patterns
Pay attention to where your foot hits when you first hit the ground when running. Most people run with the impact pattern on the back foot, which is thought to play a significant role in heel pain. Refer to the midpoint or forefoot to see if the impact reduces or relieves the pain.
While this may not work for everyone, you may also notice excessive pressure on the inside or outside of your foot. Keep in mind that changing the impact pattern can put more pressure on the knee or other parts of the foot and lead to more pressure.
Choose different levels to run
If possible, run on grass, dirt trails or an artificial trail, and gradually schedule jogging. Also avoid running on hard, flat surfaces such as concrete floors or tiles. If you have no choice but to run on a hard surface, buy a good pair of shoes to prevent injury.
Do stretching exercises before and after running
Do simple stretching exercises twice a day, plus before and after running. Some simple exercises to relax the muscles are:
Stretching movements on the foot and ankle
Stretching on the leg
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight puts a lot of pressure on the lower body, especially the knees, wrists and heels, when running. Losing extra weight helps to create a feeling of lightness in your legs. In addition, you may be more balanced overall, which helps maintain healthy movement patterns.
Invest in a new pair of running shoes
Invest in a good pair of running shoes to support the structure of your feet. To reduce the pressure on the plantar fascia, choose shoes with a good arch, you can also protect your feet with glue or straps. You can get help from a doctor or physiotherapist to choose the right shoes.
in the end
Listen to your body while running and afterwards and adjust your exercise program accordingly. Pay attention to your running patterns. Make any necessary changes, especially when you have heel pain.
Ask a coach or friend to observe your technique and point out any imbalances that can lead to heel pain. If this option is not possible for you, make a video of yourself running to check your abnormal movements.
Always treat heel pain as soon as it occurs. Avoid running until the symptoms subside. See your doctor if you are unable to treat heel pain at home.
Translator: Elahe Zarei