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Family Foot & Ankle

Stop Running with Heel Pain and Get Help

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Runners—especially long distance runners—don’t like to stop. That’s why you will still see them suited up and training in Cincinnati even when the temps dip below freezing or the snow flurries fly. Does this describe you? Then you know how tempting it is to try to run through the heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis. We have a word of advice for you: don’t.

Even in the first stages, when you just feel a twinge of pain under your heel one morning when getting out of bed, it is best not to keep training at the same level. Sure, the pain seems to disappear once you’ve walked around a little, but it will come back like a bad penny if you don’t seek treatment for this condition. The best thing is to cut back on the running until the plantar fascia has healed. Even then, it takes a regimen of stretching and a gradual return to activity to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen all over again.

Other things can cause heel pain, but the tell-tale symptoms of plantar fasciitis are 1) being able to pinpoint the pain to the front underside of the heel bone, and 2) experiencing it sharply after a period of rest—especially after sleeping all night.

The name may not be totally accurate, because the injury often doesn’t involve inflammation of the ligament (the “itis” part of the name), but rather a degeneration of the tissue. There is some thought that repetitive motion in the same shoes causes the ligament to develop a weak spot that is subject to damage. If that is the case, it may be useful to switch out shoes and try alternating activities, so that different muscles and tendons are used. This helps strengthen them and avoids all the stress being put on the same spots.

Besides resting and buying more supportive shoes from a source like “The Running Spot,” other conservative treatments include stretching and strengthening exercises for your feet and calves, massage, taping, night splints, and custom orthotics.

If you have the classic symptoms, give Family Foot and Ankle Center a call at (513) 728-4800 in Ohio or (859) 282-1572 in Kentucky for an appointment at one of our Cincinnati area locations. We’ll help you find the solutions to your heel pain so you can get back on the road again.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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