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Types of Heel Pain
Heel pain is quite a common issue for
runners, both for newcomers and experienced runners.
Your heels take the initial shock when you land on your feet, each and
For many people, landing on their heels seems natural, but more and more studies show that mid-foot landing is better (see more at the end of this page).
The constant pressure on your heels is sometimes too much, because of
which you get heel injuries.
In this article I will discuss the following heel injuries:
pain in the bottom and the back of your
Heel Injury #1: Heel Spurs
Heel spurs will cause pain in the arch
of the foot and in the front of your heel. The pain will likely be most
acute when you first rise in the morning and try to take a step.
The pain can also be more acute after sitting for extended periods. The
pain is felt at the front part of your heel, where the arch and the
The heel spur is likely caused by straining the fascia, which forms the
arch in the foot. With this strain, the fascia have literally been
ripped off of the bone of the heel. This will cause some blood to
remain in the area.
With time, these drops of blood calcify while
sitting on the bone. This calcification has caused an extra little bone
to form. This little bone is known as a heel spur. This pain that is
felt is not to the heel spur itself, but to the fascia and flesh that
How to Treat and Prevent Heel Spurs
See below under Plantar Fasciitis.
Heel Injury #2: Plantar
Plantar fasciitis is one of the single most common heel pain
complaints. Its unwelcome arrival is signaled by acute pain at the
front of your heel or along the arch. There may be significant pain
when you initially get out of your bed.
It hurts a lot to walk on it
first thing in the morning. Expect the same thing to happen after you
have been sitting for a long time.
Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are almost the same and often used as
synonyms for each other. To determine if you are actually experiencing
plantar fasciitis, press really hard with your thumb on the center of
the heel. If the pain is felt at the center, it is indeed plantar
In the foot, the arch is formed from fascia. Fascia connect the ball of
the foot to the heel bone. Plantar fasciitis occurs as a result of your
body weight moving through the arch in such a way that the arch is
flattened or overstretched.
In the most extreme of cases the arch will lose its flexibility
completely and will no longer spring back. This resulting condition is
known as fallen arch or flat feet. Plantar Fasciitis can be aggravated
by excessive running or running on the balls of the feet.
How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
To relieve the condition cut back on the running or stop running for a
while. Since plantar fasciitis is really inflammation in the fascia,
anti-inflammatories will likely reduce the swelling. Immediately after
you finish running apply ice to the area; ten minutes on and then ten
minutes off, repeating this one more time.
Another way of treatment is corticosteroid injections. These give
It is a good idea to provide added support to the arch. First, try arch
strapping. If this does not help, use arch supports. This will reduce
some of the burden on your heel. It will raise the arch, providing the
fascia with some needed slack. That way the arch won't have to stretch
Some products to deal with heel spurs / plantar
There are some products available which can help in the battle against
plantar fasciitis. A good choice is a heel spur kit which combines a number of products together.
Heel Injury #3: Pain in the
back and bottom of the heel
Pain in the bottom and back of the heel,
also known as Apophycitis of the heel, is heel pain
that often occurs in runners under the age of twenty and is most common
among children around age eleven. The pain radiates up the backside of
the heel. If you were to get a hold of the heel and give it a hard
squeeze, the pain would be intense.
The heel bone may not fully fused until after adolescence. Until then
it is in two separate pieces. If you are less than the age of twenty
and have been regularly running long distances, these two bones may
have separated before they fully fused.
How to Treat Pain in the Back and the Bottom of
To relieve this sort of heel pain, try strapping the heel with adhesive
tape. Simply put one piece of tape around the bottom part of your heel
towards the front, and then another strip around the back toward the
top, going from your inner anklebone all the way to your outer
The next step is to place another strip of tape to the bottom, right
behind the first piece. Be sure to overlap them by about 1/2 an inch.
Do exactly the same thing at the backside of your heel. Continue adding
tape, and alternate between the back and bottom part of the heel. You
should also wear heel pads. Depending on the severity of your injury
you may have to stop running for a few weeks or even months.
It is not uncommon to feel some heel pain when you are a runner.
You can learn to identify the most common sources of heel pain and
treat some of them yourself.
Others are best left to a qualified podiatrist.
Do not forget to also check out my
heel spur page.
Wish to get more running tips?
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Running Tips Newsletter or to my
from Heel Pain Page to Running Injuries Page
from Heel Pain Page to Best Running Tips Homepage
Running Injury Prevention
Foot Pain |
Black Toenail |
Stress Fractures |
Posterior Tibial Tendonitis |
Heel Pain |
Achilles Tendinitis |
Heel Spur / Plantar Fasciitis |
Knee Pain |
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB) |
Leg / Calf Cramps |
Shin Splints |
Hamstring Injury |
Upper Body Injuries:
Nipple Chafing |
Side Stitch |
Back Pain |
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