Patients commonly come to our office seeking advice and guidance due to issues with heel pain post exercising. Heel pain ranges from mild to debilitating and results from faulty biomechanics, obesity, or injury from placing too much stress on the heel bone and the tissues that attach to it. This common ailment can derive from tight muscles and joints due to inactivity periods, but over time pain can become overwhelming and unbearable to handle.

What causes you to suffer from heel pain after exercising?

The average individual has twenty-six bones, thirty-three joints, and more than one hundred tendons in their foot and ankle. The largest of the bones in this region is your heel. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, when it comes to exercising, tasks such as running can cause an impact on your feet that is around three times your body weight. When you are exercising, overuse or injury of your heel can lead to pain.

Common causes of heel pain associated with exercising are:

  • Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis occurs when too much pressure is placed on your feet, leading to damaging the plantar fascia ligament, causing pain and stiffness.

  • Fracture

The twenty-six bones in your foot support your body weight, allowing you to walk and run. Injuries can lead to a fracture or break in more than one bone of your foot.

  • Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendonitis is caused by overuse or injury to the Achilles tendon in your foot and is most seen in runners.

  • Foot Sprain

A foot sprain is an injury to a ligament in your foot or ankle.

  • Heel Spur

A heel spur is an abnormal growth of extra bone that develops when the body tries to repair a problem by building extra bone.

  • Bursitis

Bursa is fluid-filled sacs that act as a cushion between your bones. When they become inflamed, it causes a painful condition that affects the joints known as bursitis.

How can you stop heel pain associate with exercising?

  1. Stop heel pain from starting by ensuring you have completed foot stretches before and after exercising every time.

There are so many excellent exercises that can help prevent heel pain. Below you will find a few of our specialists’ favorite foot stretches for treating or preventing exercise-related heel pain.

  • Calf Stretch

This stretch requires you to stand with your palms flat on the wall at chest level. You then set one foot back several inches, keeping your knee locked straight. The goal of this stretch is to lunge toward the wall without lifting your heels.

This stretch works best when you hold it for ten seconds, then relax. Making sure that you do at least three sets on both legs.

  • Towel Stretch

The towel stretch requires you to sit on the floor with your feet straight in front of you. You then take a towel and loop it around one of your feet so that your foot flexes.

This easy stretch should be done at least three times on both sides of your legs, holding for ten seconds and then relaxing.

  • Water Bottle Exercise

For this exercise, you will need a frozen water bottle. You then sit this bottle on the floor, rolling it back and forth under your sole. The ice in the bottle, along with the action of going back and forth, will help decrease and swelling and inflammation you have.

  • Plantar Fascia Stretch

This stretch is one that you perform in a seated position. You start it by crossing your affected foot over the knee of your other leg. You then grasp the toes on your painful foot, slowly pulling them toward you in a controlled fashion.

This stretch should be repeated twenty times for each foot and held for ten seconds at a time.

  1. Reduce the likelihood of heel pain post exercising by taking it slow and incorporate breaks into your workout routine.

No athlete or athlete wannabe wants to hear that they should take it slow or incorporate breaks into their workout routine, but these tips are essential if you’re going to prevent heel pain as you start your journey towards a more active life. Gradually, you will be able to increase your workout intensity as you feel ready.

  1. Make sure you are wearing proper shoes when excising to reduce heel pain.

Wearing the proper athletic shoes for exercising can not only improve comfort, but they can help you to prevent injuries. Exercises such as running and jumping put excessive pressure on the feet, ankles, and legs. As you look for shoes, make sure they are sturdy, comfortable, offer good arch support and a cushioned heel.

  1. Utilize custom orthotics to prevent heel pain derived from exercising.

Finding the right shoe for your foot is always essential, but especially when it comes to exercising. In a previous article, we told you all about how custom orthotics help with foot health, mentioning that custom orthotics help prevent injuries during high-impact activities such as running and jumping. Custom orthotics do this by helping to balance the foot, leading to improvements in your athletic performance.

  1. Prevent heel pain by adding a foot soak to your nighttime routine.

Soaking your feet for just thirty minutes after exercising can help reduce heel pain. Instead, you choose to soak your feet in an ice bath or warm water; we suggest adding Epsom salt to the tub. This soothing practice is guaranteed to reduce inflammation, thus soothing heel pain.

We should note that if you choose to soak your feet in an ice bath, it should be done for fifteen minutes only, whereas a warm water soak can be utilized for thirty-minute segments.

  1. Schedule time for recovery in your workout plan to avoid heel pain.

It is crucial, rather you struggle with heel pain or not, to allow your body time between training sessions to recover. It is vital to listen to your body to ensure that you will enable any condition or injury to recover between sessions.

When should I see a doctor for heel pain?

Continuous use of an injured area on your body will almost ensure you make an injury worse. If you find that your heel pain lasts more than a few days, it might be time to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. After all, you don’t want to ignore the issue and suffer from more severe problems down the road.

The tips listed above are excellent for reducing heel pain after exercising, but they are not meant to be long-term solutions for you. If you consistently struggle with heel pain, we want to encourage you to reach out to the specialists at Metro Tulsa Foot and Ankle Specialists. You could have an undiagnosed foot condition or injury that is holding you back. We are here to help you get relief from heel pain and put your best foot forward! You can schedule your appointment online or contact our office at 918-747-4855 to get on our schedule. We look forward to seeing you soon!