Avid runners may experience heel pain, a common problem that can affect their performance and eventually lead them to podiatric services. If you spend a lot of time pounding the pavement, it’s important to recognize the types of problems that may afflict your heels.
Usually, the problems are the result of overuse or improper footwear. Here are some types of heel pain that runners may encounter:
- Plantar Fasciitis: This common problem occurs when the tissue at the bottom of the foot in conjunction with your heel becomes inflamed. The pain may be a stabbing sensation near the heel and is usually most evident in the morning when you take your first steps of the day. It may subside a bit during workouts but tends to feel worse after exercise. Foot specialists recommend a combination of physical therapy and over-the-counter pain relievers. Advanced cases may require injections or surgical treatments.
- Calcaneus Stress Fracture: When the large heel bone fractures, it can cause a bruise-like sensation that gets worse with time. Foot specialists typically advise patients to stop running for up to eight weeks. In more severe cases, doctors may apply a cast to the heel. The problem is often associated with a dramatic change in running speeds, an increase in mileage, or weight gain.
- Nerve Pain: Sometimes the simple act of repetitively forcing the foot to the ground, combined with your body’s posture while you run, can result in nerve tension. You may notice a burning or tingling sensation in the heel, and the pain tends to get worse the more you run. Your foot specialist may recommend physical therapy.
There are a few steps runners can take to alleviate foot or heel pain. Stretch regularly, and get fitted to ensure you’re wearing the right type of shoes for your feet. By taking precautions and listening to your body, you can stay on top of any potential issues and prevent them from becoming worse.
The team at Foot & Ankle Specialists are the leading foot care professionals in Ohio. If you’re experiencing foot pain, heel pain, or have an ankle sprain, these skilled podiatrists offer state-of-the-art care. Visit the foot specialists’ website to learn more about their services. Call (513) 769-4408 for their Blue Ash office, (513) 541-5709 for Cincinnati, or (513) 423-0672 for Franklin, OH.