Heel pain?

Heel pain?

Post by Lani Teshima-Mill » Thu, 06 Oct 1994 09:53:35


I've been slogging in my 5-6 mile runs and my left heel has started
bothering me. Basically when I run (ahem--"jog"), I don't really THINK
I'm a heel striker, but I don't really land on my toes (more like
midfoot). My heel starts to bother me after about 3 or 4 miles. Most
of the time, it becomes almost unnoticeable by the time I finish the
rest of my run. HOWEVER, this pain comes back later when I'm just
walking around. It *only* happens when I lift my heel off the ground,
NOT when I strike it on the ground or when I'm just standing. This is
about as detailed as I can describe it--the oddest thing is that it is
not consistent. I can't figure it out. It's not a wrenching pain--more
like a nagging pain on the very bottom-middle of my heel.

Any ideas?

--

UH School of Library & Info Studies. "Whatever the cost of our   o|<0_0>------*
libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant      \=^-| |_| |
nation." -Walter Cronkite [R.a.b.bit--FAQ Maintainer: "Think Ink!"]    \_B}\_B}

 
 
 

Heel pain?

Post by David Considi » Thu, 06 Oct 1994 21:02:19

   I've been slogging in my 5-6 mile runs and my left heel has started
   bothering me. Basically when I run (ahem--"jog"), I don't really THINK
   I'm a heel striker, but I don't really land on my toes (more like
   midfoot). My heel starts to bother me after about 3 or 4 miles. Most
   of the time, it becomes almost unnoticeable by the time I finish the
   rest of my run. HOWEVER, this pain comes back later when I'm just
   walking around. It *only* happens when I lift my heel off the ground,
   NOT when I strike it on the ground or when I'm just standing. This is
   about as detailed as I can describe it--the oddest thing is that it is
   not consistent. I can't figure it out. It's not a wrenching pain--more
   like a nagging pain on the very bottom-middle of my heel.

   Any ideas?

   --

   UH School of Library & Info Studies. "Whatever the cost of our   o|<0_0>------*
   libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant      \=^-| |_| |
   nation." -Walter Cronkite [R.a.b.bit--FAQ Maintainer: "Think Ink!"]    \_B}\_B}

This sounds a lot like a heel spur, a.k.a. plantar fascitis/heel spur
syndrome according to the pamphlet they give out in the podiatrist's
office.  Running along the bottom of the foot is a tough layer of
tissue known as the plantar fascia which connects the ball of the foot
to the heel bone, and helps support the arch of the foot.  This tissue
can get inflammed at the connection to the heel bone and produce the
type of pain you describe.  A telling indicator of this problem is if
it hurts when you get up out of bed in the morning, but then goes away
as you walk on it during the day.  Another possibility that can
produce heel pain is an inflammation of the bursa (a fluid-filled
cushioning sac that are placed at many strategic points in your body)
that is just above the plantar fascia.  In my experience, though,
doctors will generally diagnose you with a heel spur, and if it
doesn't respond to treatment they rediagnose you with a heel bursitis.

Heel spurs are more common in people with little to no arch, because there
is more stress on the plantar fascia in this case.  According to all
the medical people I have talked to, the treatment is to support the
arch as well as possible, preferably with custom-made shoe inserts
called orthotics or orthoses.  These will set you back a few hundred
bucks.  It may be that all you need is to buy a new pair of shoes with
good arch supports, however.  Additional treatments that I have heard
people swear by: icing the area well after running, taping the bottom
of the foot to support it, heel cups which are available in many running
stores, store-bought shoe inserts,  NSAIDs at an anti-inflammatory dose,
cortisone injections, and ultrasound.  You might also consider the
type of surface you are running on.  I think my heel spurs were instigated
by running on canted road surface.  (The uphill foot is the one that
went bad.) Now when I run I make sure the surfaces I run on are as flat
as possible.

I have had this problem with both feet for a number of years.  It has
really limited the amount of running I have been able to do for this
time, so the problem is nothing to trifle with.  Good luck dealing with
it!

David Considine

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David B. Considine                             Voice: (301) 286-4299
Code 916, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center     Fax:   (301) 286-1754