Running with Heel Pain?

Discussion in 'Ask the Docs' started by jimwb, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. jimwb

    jimwb Barefooters
    1. Massachusetts
    2. Florida -...

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    I started running “completely” barefoot 8 weeks ago. After 3 weeks I had left heel pain. I took a week off without a lot of change. Now, 4 weeks later it is still bothering me. I have continued running three times a week, trying to land softly and bend my knees more. I ice it two times a day. Am I doing the right things? I am afraid that if I don’t run until it is completely well, which could take several weeks; I will lose all my gains?

    My left heel has a dull deep discomfort in the middle that hurts more when I press on it. It does not change throughout the day and it does not radiate anywhere. There is no discoloration. It does not hurt if I squeeze hard on the sides. It does not change with foot or toe position. When I walk on it with shoes I am aware of it on every step, but it is not painful. It does not hurt at all during a run except for the few times when my heel touches down directly on a small rock. The pad on my left heel feels a little harder than my right and the skin is a little tighter.

    It seems like it has been improving, but much more slowly than I would like. I don’t know what the mechanism is for something to become chronic. Is it normal for this type of an injury to take so long to heal and should I change what I am doing? I can’t find any barefoot runners talking about the type of heel pain that I have. I only see PF or back of the heel pain.
     
  2. Dr. Andrew Klein

    Dr. Andrew Klein Barefooters
    1. Minnesota

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    Hi Jim, It is hard to

    Hi Jim,



    It is hard to determine the exact generator of your pain, but I think we can safely put it in the box of overuse injuries.

    Some advice: It is time to stop running for a little while. Running was the cause, and will not likely be the cure as well. You will regain what you lost, probably quicker than you think. However, continuing to run on it is not helping. Also, I would recommend you stop icing. Ice is good for inflammation, but will slow healing eventually. I usually only recommend a day or two of icing, unless the situation calls for it. You might try taking a thin piece of foam and making a donut shape big enough to circle the sore spot and taping it to your heel every morning to diffuse some pressure as you are walking. Also, make sure you are massaging your calves and the bottoms of your feet to ensure there is no muscle or fascial tension causing your pain (stay off the sore spot).

    As far as what the problem is, I can’t say for sure. Your history suggests a bone bruise, but it could be any number of things. If the pain doesn’t resolve with rest within a couple weeks, a visit to your friendly neighborhood health practitioner is in order.

    Remember, barefoot running is a lifelong pursuit not a goal to be attained. Go slow and take time to heal. I recently overdid it a bit too. Took two weeks off, and it took me three weeks to get back to where I was. Five weeks total is a short time in my lifespan.

    Good luck!
     
  3. It sounds like Dr A is

    It sounds like Dr A is correct - bone bruise. Possibly, you just over did it - too much too soon. Soaks, rest, and then start back very slowly.
     
  4. Dr James Stoxen DC

    Dr James Stoxen DC Barefooters
    1. Illinois

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    Hello there,

    I don't know if your pain has been resolved but I hope that my videos can help you with your problem.

    Self-Help Deep Tissue Treatment Of The Ankle (Subtalar Joint Outside)


    Self-Help Deep Tissue Treatment Under The Big Toe And Second Toe

     

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