Q : How can I minimize heel pain while running?
A : One of the most common problems runners face is plantar fasciitis or heel pain. This may be caused secondarily by a heel spur or just simply by the repetitive trauma of heel strikes during running. If you’re experiencing heel pain, relax—know that it will get better. Don’t be in a hurry to keep up with a heavy training schedule.
First, try alternating training. Cross train by running every other day and lift weights or cycle. Perhaps you can use an eliptical machine on alternate days.
Second, stretch the foot after exercising, then ice the heel area for 20 minutes. Also, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like Motrin or Aleve may be helpful.
Third, check your running shoes. Be sure to rotate your training shoes or get new running shoes every three to four months or every 400- 500 miles of use. Remember the materials in running shoes wear down after continual use. Also, a custom-made orthotic device may be helpful in solving problems of plantar fasciitis.
Finally, if heel pain persists, see your doctor. You may need an X-ray or more in depth treatment.
Remember running and training are meant to be enjoyed—make it fun.
Dr. Nick Andriacchi - Chicago Ridge Medical Center
Medical & Surgical Treatment of Foot & Ankle