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How to Get Rid of Heel Pain Running

How To Get Rid Of Heel Pain Running

Dr. Arnan Sisson, PT / January 27, 2022

The best way to get rid of heel pain when running is to get help from a physical therapist who is familiar with running injuries.

As noted above, there are many different causes of heel pain when running. Additionally, each person is different and requires a unique treatment approach specific to them.

However, if you're just looking for some quick tips, here are a few general tips that work for many people.  As a word of caution though, don't use these tips as a substitute for getting profession treatment for your heel pain.

Stretch Your Calves

Stiff calves are common to many types of heel pain when running.  Actually, trigger points in your calves can be an additional cause of heel pain when running that wasn't mentioned above.

In addition, stiff calves cause you to overpronate when running.

Many runners already do calf stretches, but most do them wrong.

Additionally, HOW you stretch your calf muscles can make a big difference.  However, many people stretch their calf muscles WRONG.

Rolling Your Calves

Since trigger points in the calves can cause heel pain when running, rolling your calves using a foam roller or a muscle rolling pin can help.

I personally think the muscle rolling pins work better for smaller muscle group like your calves, whereas the foam rollers are better for larger muscle groups like your quadriceps and hamstrings.

Don't Overstride

When you take too long of strides when running, it promotes a heel strike pattern of running.  That mean your landing directly on your heel.

This can lead to stress fractures, heel spurs, or Baxter's nerve problems.

Instead, taking shorter, quicker steps encourages more of a midfoot strike pattern of running.

Additionally, since you're not taking as long of a stride, your vertical displacement from the ground is less which decreases the ground reaction force with each step.

Don't Overtrain

Increasing your milage too quickly can cause many different types of running injuries, not just heel pain.

The general rule of thumb is not to increase your milage by more than 10% per week.

That means that if you're training or a half-marathon or a full marathon, you may need to allow 4-6 months or more to work up to the proper mileage depending on your baseline.

Proper Footwear

Runners are quick to blame everything on their shoes.  It's usually not just the shoes, but they are one factor.

In general, you should change your running shoes after 500-600 miles.

Additionally, you want to make sure you're wearing the proper running shoes for your foot type.

What Kind Of Running Shoes Should I Wear For Heel Pain?

There's no one best type of running shoes for all kinds of heel pain.  The best running shoe for you depends on your foot type as well as how much your foot pronates when running.

In general, running shoes fall into one of 3 different categories:

  • Motion-control shoes
  • Stability shoes
  • Neutral Shoes

Motion Control Running Shoes

Motion-control shoes, as the name suggests controls pronation of the foot  They are good for severe overpronators.

Stability Running Shoes

If you have flat feet that moderately overpronate when running, you probably need a stability shoe.

Stability shoes give a moderate amount of pronation control while being a little lighter than motion control shoes.  Stability shoes are good for moderate overpronator

Neutral Running Shoes

Neutral running shoes don't control pronation.  They are designed to keep the foot in a neutral position while providing cushioning and shock absorption.  Neutral shoes are good for people with high arch feet or people who overly supinate when running.