I have run on and off for years but seem to always end up with a heel problem in training that keeps me from running the long marathons or 1/2 marathons. I have had shoes fitted with no real impovement on a steady basis. I don't know if it is actually a heal problem or a bottom of the foot tendon problem. I just know the impact makes it hard to ignore sometimes. I only have the problem in my right heal. It doesn't affect me all the time. Usually after longer runs of over 5 miles. It isn't so painful when I run but hurts when I walk afterwards for up to several days sometimes. Other times I run and it doesn't bother me. I have always used good qualtiy shoes. I have long narrow feet (15B) which limits my options. I'm not a spring chicken anymore (53 years old) but I don't think this is the problem. I have always done leg exercises, biking, skiing, hiking. Does anyone out there have this issue or suggestions on who to see about fitting or advise? Sometimes, it is akward to change your gate to minimize the aggravation.
As someone who has wrestled with plantar fasciitis and heel pain for years and have it under control finally I feel qualified to answer this. First, see a podiatrist. You may very well need orthotics, particularly as you have super narrow feet. But the real key for me (and my husband, who is a regular half-marathoner has had the same experience) is keeping the foot flexed and the calf muscles stretched. This may sound funny, but at night, when you sleep, you foot is relaxed and the plantar fascia, which is connective tissue, shortens. Later when you run or even walk, especially when getting out of bed in the morning, it puts strain on that shortened fascia, and can particlaurly hurt in the heel area. There's a really old-school but very accurate site, heelspurs.com, that has a lot of pretty clear and helpful information on it.
Your podiatrist can get you a night splint (insurance usually covers it, and I think they have lihnks to sellers on that site) They are a hassle to learn to sleep in, and you may just end up wearing it when you read or watch TV but all I can say it has been a godsend to me. I also got a calf stretcher at the sporting goods store. It's like a half-wheel that you stand on on one foot and roll your heel down. Now, I am so used to keeping my feet flexed that I find myelf doing it unconsciously while at my desk.
thank you so much for the help. I have been putting off the podiatrist due to insurance costs. i will do a bit more research. thanks again.
It's also a good idea to strengthen your lower legs and feet in addition to keeping them stretched. Try picking up marbles with your toes and putting them in a cup, curling a damp hand towel with your toes (put weight on the end as you get stronger), and spending time barefoot in your home. After about a month of that, try doing a few strides barefoot on a well manicured field or doing the last 1-5 minutes barefoot of a few runs per week.
I'd also advise using a foam roller on your calf, soleus, and achilles area to keep them supple. It's a great form of self-massage!
Cheers, - Jason.
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