5 Ways Runners Can Quickly Heal Heel Pain
Heel pain is one of the most common problems runners face when they are training for long-distance events, such as a marathon or half-marathon. Often, this heel pain is caused by a common condition known as plantar fasciitis, in which the tissue that runs along the arch and heel of your foot becomes strained by the repeated movements and impacts involved in running. If you struggle with heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis, use these five tips to help you recover.
1. Rest Is Important
Rest is as important a part of your training plan as long runs, hill repeats, or speed workouts. If you have heel pain, take that as a warning sign that you are training too hard and increase the number of rest days in your training plan.
2. Tight Calves Could Be To Blame
Plantar fasciitis is much more common in runners who have very tight calf muscles. You can encourage your calves to loosen up a little by stretching them every day. Stand facing the wall and step one foot back, keeping your hips pointing forwards. Keep your back knee straight and bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in your back leg.
3. You Can Stretch Calves While Sleeping
You might notice that calf stretches give some relief from heel pain during the day, but when you get up the next morning, they feel tight again. For many people, this tightness makes the first step of the day excruciatingly painful, as the sudden stretch created when putting weight on the heel causes severe heel pain. Avoid this pain by wearing a night splint every night to keep your foot flexed and gently stretch the calf.
4. Are Your Shoes Too Old?
Worn-out shoes cannot provide the support and cushion you need to safely run on hard surfaces. Sometimes, heel pain is a signal that you need new shoes. To find shoes that are suitable for your feet and gait, visit a specialist running shop where the employees are runners themselves, rather than a chain shoe store.
5. A Podiatrist Can Help
Some people's feet need extra support to stand up to regular running. A podiatrist can assess your feet and prescribe custom orthotics that will allow you to run without pain. In combination with stretching and adequate rest, orthotics can help you to make a full recovery from heel pain and achieve your running goals.