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> Heel pain after running – why does it torment many runners? 

Heel pain after running – why does it torment many runners? 

Publish date 16.05.2023

You can read it in 7 minut

Heel pain after running – why does it torment many runners? 

Does your heel hurt after running? You can’t ignore it. What you disregard today can have a negative effect after a few more workouts. You need to know that pain in this part of the body often bothers runners. Therefore, if you feel that something is wrong with your heel, it is best to go to a specialist. 

The causes of pain can be several. In this article, I’ll tell you which heel-related injuries are easiest for runners, and when you need to make an appointment with a physiotherapist. If you feel heel pain after running, this is the article for you. Read on! 

Heel pain after running – plantar fasciitis

Let’s start with the basics, after all, not everyone knows what plantar fasciitis is. Therefore, first I will give you some information on this subject:

  • otherwise known as the plantar fascia, 
  • is located in the sole of the foot and is made up of connective tissue.
  • It consists of three bands – the bands connect the heel and toes of the foot. 
  • is responsible for mobility and stabilization of the foot during walking and running, it alternately tightens and relaxes. 

When running, this part of the foot can become strained. There are cases that the plantar fascia can even tear. You certainly don’t want to experience this. 

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis? 

  • Heel pain after running, localized in the sole of the foot. 
  • This pain intensifies when you get up after waking up, but also when you sit or stand for a long time. 
  • If your injury is really serious, then you will experience pain even when walking. 

Will plantar fasciitis go away on its own?

Unfortunately, no. If you don’t do anything about it, the pain may get even worse. This will certainly happen when you continue to train hard and subject your feet to a lot of effort and pressure. Then from a simple inflammation, it can go to a tear of the plantar fasciitis. 

How long does it take to treat such an injury?

Unfortunately, it is not a quick treatment. You need to know that it may exclude you from running for several weeks. The time to return to full fitness varies, ranging from a few weeks to several months. 

Why? It all depends on how extensive the injury was and, what are the other accompanying symptoms. As you can see for yourself, heel pain after running is not to be taken lightly if you feel it after running. Prompt diagnosis and help from a doctor can protect you from several months of exclusion from training. 

Who is particularly vulnerable to these problems and injuries with the plantar fascia?

First of all, people who are over the age of 40. At this age, regeneration begins to change and certain injuries will take longer to heal. What’s more, some tissues degenerate – when it comes to the heel, fatty tissue is lost from it, which weakens the soft tissues, leading to more frequent injuries. 

People who are overweight must also watch out for this problem. The greater the body weight, the greater the pressure on the plantar fascia. Therefore, overweight people should try other sports activities at the very beginning of their adventure in losing pounds. If your BMI is already at a good level, you can start running. However, keep in mind that despite a good weight and BMI, you are also at risk for this injury. 

However, that’s not all, more common problems with this injury can also be:

  • prolonged standing – standing puts pressure on the tendon for several hours. Therefore, when you know that your job involves several hours of standing, it’s worth investing in the right shoe inserts. You can also do some stretching exercises. This really helps. 
  • constant tension in the calf muscles and Achilles tendon, 
  • the structure of the foot – not everyone has a perfectly built foot, there are people who have ex. flat feet. Such a condition can contribute to more frequent heel pain after running. 
  • the hard sole of shoes,
  • the intensity of training – many runners want to achieve good results quickly. Because of this, they do intense workouts that put stress on their feet. If you are thinking of increasing the distance from day to day then think about your body and how it may react to such daily changes. Think about good workouts, extending the distance but not so intensively. Rational workouts, proper footwear, additional exercise, and regeneration day are the key.
Plantar fascitis - Pain in the heel after running

Heel pain after running and tarsal tunnel syndrome 

Another difficult term? You should know it if you are a runner. Tarsal tunnel syndrome arises when the nerves in the foot are compressed all the time. 

How do you recognize this ailment yourself?

  •  A burning or tingling sensation in the foot will be characteristic – the pain radiates to the higher parts of the leg. 
  • You may also feel a general weakness in the foot and its mobility. 
  • Such pain in the heel after running does not bother you all the time, as it usually disappears when you rest. However, do not ignore this phenomenon. More serious injuries can wake you up with pain at night. 

Where does tarsal tunnel syndrome come from?

Most often, it is a complication of an injury you previously experienced. It is a sign that something has coalesced badly. Other causes include abnormal tarsal structure and injuries to the ankle joint. 

If you are experiencing any discomfort, it is best that you contact a physiotherapist. They will introduce the appropriate treatment, medications, and exercises to help you get back to full fitness. Don’t ignore heel pain after running and its symptoms, as an ignored condition may end up not with a physiotherapist, but with the intervention of a surgeon.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome - heel in the pain after running

Heel pain after running – Achilles tendon

Do you feel pain in the back of your foot? It may be caused by the Achilles tendon. Inflammation of this tendon is very common in runners, so you should know its symptoms. 

  • pain in the lower part of the calf,
  • usually hurts after getting up from the bed, 
  • as far as runners are concerned – the pain appears at the beginning of the exercise, then mellows, and then intensifies after training, 
  • stiffness of the foot tendon, 
  • there may be difficulty in scrambling the foot upwards. 

Who is most at risk for this type of injury? 

  • Athletes who do not perform a warm-up. You’ve surely heard many times by now how important it is to warm up before doing any physical activity. Spend about 15 minutes of your training on this activity and avoid many injuries. 
  • Changing shoes to those with too stiff a sole can also be a cause of this condition. 
  • It will also occur more often in people who are overweight.
  • Runners who run on terrain that has a large number of downhill and uphill runs are more likely to suffer from this type of injury. 
  • You certainly won’t be surprised to learn that Achilles tendon ailments can worsen with age – all due to a decrease in tendon elasticity. 

If you do develop Achilles tendonitis, be sure to follow your doctor’s advice. If left untreated and ignored, Achilles tendonitis can develop into a very serious injury that can end in surgery and exclusion from running for many months. 

Can it be treated on its own?

No. If you feel pain in the heel after running go to an orthopedist or physiotherapist. If you can’t get in right away and have to wait for your appointment, then you can use – temporary – ointments and gels. It’s best to choose ones that have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. You can also apply cold compresses to the painful area. Remember, however, that this is only a temporary solution and will combat the symptoms temporarily, but will not destroy the problem.

Running technique and pain in heel after running

You’ve surely heard many times by now about good running techniques and the problems they can cause if you don’t run properly. Heel pain does not always have to mean a serious problem. If you feel pain in both heels while still running, you may just be running poorly technically. 

Heel pain after running occurs when you don’t strike out from the midfoot, but just from the heel. After such training, you can’t be surprised to feel pain in this area. If you hit the ground with your heel for many kilometers then micro-injuries can occur, which will make themselves known. 

Therefore, you should learn to run from the midfoot. This will minimize injuries not only to the heel but also to other parts of the foot. After all, you want to avoid injury right? No athlete wants to be excluded from training for several weeks or months. 

Good technique vs heel pain after running
With good running technique you will be able to avoid heel pain after running.

Heel pain after running treatment

As you can see for yourself, heel pain after running should not be ignored. There may be various causes of this ailment. Never ignore it. If the pain does not pass, go to an orthopedist or physiotherapist. The doctor will suggest treatment so that you can run again without pain. 

To cure such ailments, rehabilitation, physical therapy, appropriate exercises that you will be able to do at home, and painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are usually used. 

If the condition is really serious, then you must be prepared for surgical intervention and surgery.

As you can see for yourself, the causes of heel pain after training can be several. If you have a problem with your heel and it has been hurting for a long time, then it is worth going to a specialist who will examine you and localize the cause of the pain. Remember that it is important to get proper treatment. Don’t ignore it, as long procrastination could end up in surgery. Take care to run properly and purchase good footwear.

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