Heel Pain After Running

Jan 10, 2023

Running is a great way to stay in shape, lose weight, and improve overall health and well-being. Nothing beats that runner’s high, the release of endorphins that keeps you energetic and elevates your mood. Sometimes unwanted scenarios happen, though. Heel pain after running is one of them. Since this kind of pain affects your activity levels, reduces motivation, and affects your mood, it’s important to know what your options are. Let’s take a look and learn more.

Why Do I Have Heel Pain While Walking or Running?

Several factors could explain why you have heel pain while walking or running. Sometimes the cause of pain is as simple as overuse or a decreased range of motion, but in other cases running injuries and other problems could be the culprits.

One of the most common causes of heel pain after running is plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the plantar fascia. In a nutshell, the plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue running across the bottom of each foot. It connects the heel with the toes. Activities that put too much stress on the plantar fascia, like running, are risk factors for plantar fasciitis. That could explain your heel pain, especially if you’re a long-distance runner.

Besides plantar fasciitis, your heel pain while or after walking and running can also result from the following:

  • Flat feet or high arches: having fallen or high arches put excess strain on the plantar fascia when running, thereby increasing the likelihood of pain.
  • Achilles tendonitis: an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, which connects the heel bone to the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg. The risk of heel pain due to Achilles tendonitis increases when running in worn-out shoes, in hilly terrain, and in winter.
  • Sever’s disease: pain and inflammation of the growth plate at the back of the heel. It is the most common cause of heel pain in growing children, particularly physically active kids.
  • Arthritis: inflammation and pain of the joints. Heel pain is a common manifestation of psoriatic arthritis.
  • Nerve irritation: a common cause of chronic heel pain after running is Baxter’s nerve entrapment. This is particularly common in people who overpronate while running or walking.
  • Stress fractures: one or several small breaks in the heel bone due to repetitive, long-term stress such as running or jogging.
Icing heel pain after running

What Can I Do to Help Relieve Heel Pain After Running?

There’s a lot you can do to relieve heel pain if your symptoms aren’t severe. The important thing is to be proactive and manage pain as soon as it happens, don’t ignore thinking it will go away on its own.

One thing you can do is take a break from running and other activities that cause pain during flare-ups. Start running once symptoms go away. Try performing stretching exercises that will increase your flexibility and improve your range of motion. Make sure to do these exercises every day.

If you’re looking for a quick pain relief method, you can apply an ice pack or cold gel on your heels for 20 minutes. For chronic pain, try to do this daily. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are also helpful in relieving pain. Dietary supplements such as fish oil can also be helpful, but make sure to consult your doctor beforehand.

Consider using heel pads or lifts in shoes to improve support and comfort, which will minimize pain when running.

Do I Need to See a Podiatrist for Heel Pain?

You need to come and see our podiatrists when pain is persistent, and home remedies don’t provide relief. A good rule to go by is that if heel pain doesn’t improve within a few weeks, you should consider scheduling an appointment with our office. Only a properly trained healthcare professional can diagnose the cause of your heel pain and recommend the best treatment plan.

Podiatrist evaluating heel pain after running

Treatment Options for Heel Pain

When it comes to the heel pain running subject, treatment options largely depend on the underlying cause. In most cases, MLS Laser Therapy and custom orthotics are the best options.

MLS Laser Therapy

MLS Laser Therapy is a noninvasive treatment that relies on the use of light to alleviate pain and inflammation. During MLS Laser Therapy sessions, two wavelengths are used together to reach into the painful area and thereby minimizing swelling and inflammation and treating pain.

The body absorbs the wavelengths of light, which promotes cellular activities such as increased vasodilation, enzyme production, increased production of collagen, and more. All these effects help keep heels healthy and minimize pain.

The benefits of MLS Laser Therapy are scientifically-confirmed. For example, a study from Medicine (Baltimore) confirmed the effectiveness of laser therapy for plantar fasciitis. The results persisted for three months after the treatment.

It’s important to keep in mind MLS Laser Therapy is painless, and one session usually lasts 10 to 12 minutes. Besides plantar fasciitis, laser therapy can help with sports injuries, arthritis, tendon injuries, and wounds.

Custom Orthotics

Since heel pain has a major impact on a range of motion and flexibility, orthotics are a good way to improve comfort and move more easily. The exact choice of orthotics varies from one patient to another, depending on the cause of heel pain and its severity. For instance, night splints are useful for people with plantar fasciitis.

Some people can benefit from heel seats and other inserts for their footwear. Inserts provide both support and comfort. For the best results, custom orthotics are the answer because they are adapted to each patient specifically. These amazing devices provide your feet with the best support and realign your entire body. This provides pain relief throughout your body, and gives your heel much-needed comfort.

Let Us Help You Get Back to Running Without Heel Pain!

Heel pain can be distracting, frustrating, and overwhelming. It can affect your motivation to keep running and ruin your mood. But it doesn’t have to remain that way forever. Your heel pain is manageable, and with the right approach, you can resume your favorite activity.

Make sure to contact Michigan Foot & Ankle Specialists today. You can call our office at 313-582-6222, or fill out our online contact form to schedule your appointment. Our doctors will fully evaluate your heel pain so that you can receive a treatment plan that will help you get back to running without pain.



7243 Chase Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48126


(313) 582-6222


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