The Down and Dirty on Heel Pain

Mud runs are pretty popular around here, in fact Houston’s annual MuckFest MS is coming up fast! On Oct. 15, runner’s will get ready to get dirty, toeing the line at The Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, starting at 9 am and taking off every half hour, all day long!

These events are challenging and a whole lot of fun, but if you have heel pain, you might end up having to sit this one out. Continuing to run will likely make matters worse. If you want to continue to do the activities you enjoy, you need to determine what’s behind your pain so it can be treated properly. There are many causes of heel pain, but here’s the down and dirty on the most common culprits:

Plantar fasciitis –if you’ve been logging a lot of miles, or you’re a “weekend warrior” who dives into races without training much first, this overuse injury could happen to you! Excessive or repetitive stress causes tiny tears in the plantar fascia, a band of tissues that connects your toes to your heel bone. The resulting heel pain is at its worst in the morning, as the tears that had been mending become reinjured with every new step.

Achilles tendinitis – another result of doing too much, and especially if it’s done too soon! The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to your heel and overuse or a sudden increase of intensity in your workouts can result in inflammation and pain. Powering through it is a bad idea, as the tendon can eventually tear completely and you’ll be sidelined for much longer than if you treated your injury at the first signs of discomfort.

Bursitis – there are tiny liquid-filled sacs that act as buffers between bones in our bodies, but sometimes these “protectors” can become aggravated resulting in swelling and pain. When this occurs on the back of your heel, the pressure from your shoes can exasperate the problem.

For all of these condition, rest is essential (sorry). Ice and stretches can also help. Make sure your shoes fit and are appropriate for your activity. Don’t take training too lightly, or too intensely, either! It’s important to prepare for an upcoming event, gradually increasing training as you go.

These are just a few causes of heel pain, but there are plenty more. Make an appointment with our Houston, TX office by dialing (713) 467-8886 to find out why your heel is hurting, and we’ll get you on a treatment plan for recovery—and back in the race—as quickly as possible!

Categories: Heel Pain