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How to Avoid the Sharp Heel Pain When Running

Often, runner experience pain in their heel. While the causes are numerous, once identified, the heel pain must be addressed or it will lead to complications.

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By Babafemi Adebajo
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published December 1, 2021.

Running may be a good sport, but it can also cause pain on the side or bottom of the heel. While the severity of this pain may vary from one individual to another, Runner's Heel can lead to severe complications and should be addressed as soon as it is noticed.

Causes of Heel Pain When Running

Not all athletes will experience sharp pain in the heel when running. When it does happen, the causes of heel pain vary, but some of the most common are:

  • Improper running technique.
  • Inflammation of the plantar fascia, which runs along the bottom of the foot.
  • Flat feet resulting from depressed foot arches.
  • Repetitive stress injury (or overuse).

How to Prevent Heel Pain When Running

You do not need to have burning heel pain before taking proactive steps to prevent it. A few easy-to-practice steps that will stop your feet from hurting are discussed below.

  • Use orthotics for heel pain This includes heel pads, wedges, insoles, and custom orthotics that can improve the comfort and stability provided by shoes and thus prevent pain on the bottom of your heel when running.
  • Take a break This is especially true when you have flare-ups.
  • Stretch adequately Practice calf, foot, and ankle stretching before and after running, particularly stretches for plantar fasciitis heel pain.
  • Watch your weight Being overweight or obese can aggravate heel pain dramatically.
  • Invest in a good pair of running shoes that offer stability and comfort

If you already suffer from heel pain, you can reduce inflammation with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or ice. Additionally, you should try to stay off the foot until the pain heals.

When Should You See a Doctor for Heel Pain From Running?

Usually, heel pain will respond to basic home treatment. If there is still no improvement after several weeks of management, book an appointment with your doctor for proper examination. There may be an unidentified pathology causing the pain.