Ever wondered why you experience side heel pain after running?
Running is an appealing cardio workout that adds years to your life by keeping you fit and healthy. It’s an ideal workout that strengthens your muscles, but what happens if you start to experience side heel pain after running?
Side heel pain is a complaint common to many runners, including professional athletes of all ages.
If you experience it, this article gives an insight into everything you need to know about this pain (and how to fix it)
TRIGGERS OF SIDE HEEL PAIN AFTER RUNNING
1. PLANTAR FASCITIS
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of side heel pain after running, affecting almost 10% of American adults in the US.
It involves inflammation of the thick tendon tissue connecting the bottom of the foot to the heel. It is caused by excessive use, injury, and misuse of the heel.
According to Mayo Clinic, factors such as age, types of exercises, foot mechanics, and obesity heightens your risk of getting plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis symptoms include mild or excruciating pain, stiffness on the heel, swelling, redness, and arching arches on the heel.
HOW TO FIX PLANTAR FASCIITIS
Medications– Take over-the-counter drugs (ibuprofen and naproxen) to relieve pain and inflammation caused by plantar fasciitis.
Therapy sessions-physical therapy(stretches), night splints, and orthotics (arch support)
injections -injection of steroid medications
Some home remedies recommended by Mayo clinic include, apply ice, stretches.
2. SEVER’S DISEASE
Sever’s disease, also known as calcaneal apophysitis, is an inflammation of the foot’s growth plate.
It’s common in children and adolescents participating in sports. This is because their tendons, muscles, and bones are still growing and changing rapidly.
Sever’s disease is also caused by repetitive and excessive pressure on the heels, and it’s
symptoms include tenderness, pain, and swelling of the heel.
How to fix sever’s disease: Rest (keep away from activities that put excessive pressure on your heels), Over-the-counter medication, stretching and strengthening exercises, change of footwear.
3. ACHILLES TENDONITIS
Achilles tendinitis is a painful inflammation of the Achilles tendon which connects the calf muscles to your heel bone.
Achilles tendinitis is caused by running without a proper warmup, playing sports such as tennis that require quick stops, wearing high heels for longer durations, and bone spurs at the back of your heels.
Achilles tendonitis symptoms such as pain and swelling of the heel, skin on the heel, and limited movement might be the reason you experience side heel pain after running.
The best way to fix Achilles tendinitis is by avoiding intense physical activities, icing frequently, wearing a brace on the heels, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medicines as ibuprofen to reduce pain on your heels, stretches.
4. STRESS FRACTURE
A stress fracture is a crack that can appear in either the bone of your heel or foot triggered by excessive pressure, overuse, or injury.
Factors that heighten the risk of getting stress fracture include running on hard surfaces, sudden trauma, diets that lack vitamin D or calcium, and wearing inappropriate shoes.
Symptoms of stress fracture include severe pain on your heels, swelling, and pain that gets worst when you stretch.
To avoid further damage, rest for a while, ice your heel for 10-15 minutes, bandage your heel for stability and elevate your heel to avoid swelling.
5. INAPPROPRIATE FOOTWEAR
Your daily running footwear may be the reason you experience side heel pain after running.
Inappropriate footwear makes the soft tissue beneath your feet struggle to maintain a good foot position due to the dampening impact of forces caused by running.
Sometimes shoes like ice skates, roller skates, steel-toed boots stiff rainy boots may result in side heel pain.
To fix this, wear appropriate shoes that fit the dimension of your foot.
6. NERVE IRRITATION
The nerves in your heels may be sensitized when exposed to too much pressure. This irritation may trigger side heel pain after running because of the neurogenic pain associated with it.
Any nerve sensitivity along the sensory unit can cause pain anywhere in the body area, including the side of your heel.
Symptoms of nerve irritation include pain at rest, tingling, and dull ache on the heel.
There’s no specific way to treat nerve irritation. The best way is to be patient and take ample rest as nerve irritation takes a while to heal.
7. HEEL BURSITIS
It is an inflammation at the side of your heel caused by an awkward landing putting pressure on the heels. It can also be caused by incorrect footwear.
Heel bursitis symptoms include awkward pain at the back and side of the heel and swelling of the Achilles tendons. If left untreated, the pain could get worst.
Factors that increase the risk of getting heel bursitis include intense workout without warming up, history of arthritis, and activity level changes.
To fix heel bursitis, avoid intense activities that cause pain to your heel, icing, and ultrasound treatment.
8. HEEL BUMPS
Heel bump, also called Haglund deformity, is a condition common in teenagers. It is a bony bump that usually appears where the Achilles tendon attaches to your heel.
Wearing high heels before the bone is fully developed causes it, or having a flat foot.
Its symptoms include pain in the heel, muscle cramps, and bumps in your heels.
To fix this condition, you should take medications, do physical therapy or surgery to remove the bony ridge at the side of your heel. This will heal the side heel pain after running.
9. HEEL PAD SYNDROME
The heel pad is a thick cushion-like structure surrounded by stretchy muscle fibers found on your heel. It acts as a shock absorber protecting your heel, bones, and joints.
If the thickness or elasticity of your heel pad changes, this leads to heel pad syndrome. Due to too much wear and tear, the heel pad tends to shrink or lose elasticity causing pain in your heel.
This syndrome triggers intense activities like running to cause intense pain. That’s why you feel get side heel pain after running for a while.
10. FLAT FOOT
A flat foot is where your entire foot is in contact with the ground when in a standing position.
When you have a flat foot, you have little or no arch to support the foot. With time, the arch becomes too flat, making the ankle tilt outside the heel.
Symptoms of flatfoot include pain inside your arch, heel, and ankle. When you have flat foot, wearing excessive inner heel wear can be seen outside the shoes.
To avoid side heel pain after running caused by being flat-footed, wear proper shoe gear, braces and buy over- the- counter inserts.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE A DOCTOR FOR HEEL PAIN?
According to the Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, there’s no need to extend until the pain in your heel gets worst.
You should seek medical attention immediately for doctors to examine early enough its cause and get proper treatment.
Heel pain can control your life and make you stop doing activities like running, which you enjoy doing, and that’s why early treatment is necessary.
Treatment options include medical injections, physical therapy, and surgical methods.
According to Raleigh Orthopaedic, you should see a doctor if you aren’t sure about the cause of your side heel pain after running. They recommend seeing the doctor if you have the following signs and symptoms:
- Discomfort in the affected area making you unable to walk properly
- Getting heel pain when at rest.
- Swelling and discoloration on your heel.
- Fever, redness, and warmth are symptoms that you have an infection.
- Any unusual symptoms.
IS IT OK TO RUN WITH HEEL PAIN?
According to Kinetic Revolution, you can run with heel pain as long as the pain is mild and settle by the next 24 hours.
However, according to Healthline, you should take a break from running as it exerts pressure on your heel, causing pain.
Also, side heel pain tends to increase with repeated running. Only resume running when the pain has subsided or after seeking complete medical attention.
After running or engaging in any intense activities, pay attention to your body to see if you experience any heel pain. If you notice any of the above symptoms of side heel pain after running, resort to self-care medications at home or visit the doctor to seek medical attention.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]