You're nearly finished with your daily run when your heels starts to hurt. No matter how much you try to ignore it and power on, it just doesn't stop. A few days of rest might help, but if you don't notice any improvement, it may be time for a visit to your Bentonville podiatrist, Bryan M. Sheehan, DPM . Podiatrists are specially trained to diagnose and treat foot, ankle and leg issues, like these two common heel conditions that often affect runners.
The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that extends from your toes to your heel. When you strain this band, it becomes swollen and inflamed. Strain can occur for several reasons, such as tight calf muscles, running in old shoes that no longer provide adequate support, suddenly increasing the intensity of your running routine or even running on hard surfaces when you previously ran on softer surfaces.
Plantar fasciitis symptoms and treatment
If you have plantar fasciitis, you'll notice a stabbing pain in your heel that usually worsens in the morning and flares up after exercise. If you continue your usual training regimen and ignore the pain, the condition can become chronic. Plantar fasciitis is treated with rest. Although you can't run, walk for exercise, or use the treadmill, you can still swim or bike. Icing the heel can help reduce pain, as can stretching your calf muscles regularly. If your pain doesn't improve in two weeks, it's time to visit a podiatrist in Bentonville. Depending on the severity of the problem, he may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, inject a steroid in your foot or recommend that you wear a splint and orthotics. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.
The Achilles tendon serves as the connection between your heel bone and your calf muscles. The tendon becomes inflamed when it's stressed, resulting in a condition called Achilles tendinitis. You can develop Achilles tendinitis if your running shoes aren't flexible enough, you increase the intensity or speed of your run, add hills to your routine, suddenly decide to increase the length of your runs or over train.
Achilles tendinitis symptoms and treatment
Achilles tendon pain usually occurs near your heel, but you might feel it anywhere along the length of the tendon. in addition to pain, you might notice that your heel is red and feels warm, or that there's a bump on the tendon. If you develop these symptoms, stop running, use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and massage your heel and calf muscles. If these self-care measures don't help, see your podiatrist. He can prescribe medication to reduce inflammation and pain, make a referral to a physical therapist and fit you with orthotics. If pain continues, some people benefit from surgery to repair the Achilles tendon.
When heel pain keeps you from running, visit your Bentonville podiatrist at Ankle & Foot Centers of Mid-America. Call (479) 224-6411 to make an appointment. Pain doesn't have to keep you off the track.