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The Dreaded Heel Pain – What to do if you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis

The Dreaded Heel Pain – What to do if you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis

Original Blog entry at


By Chris M. Byrne, DPM

As a runner, you likely know someone (or have experienced yourself) the ever-dreaded plantar fasciitis, also known as “heel pain” or “bone spurs.”

If you are reading this post, the hope is that you are maintaining injury-free training for the City to Sea Half Marathon and 5kby following a guided training program, such as the one offered by Pinnacle Training Systems.

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, with pain localized to the bottom of heel. The pain tends to be worse upon initial rising from a non standing position, like getting out of bed in the morning. Its cause is most commonly associated with overpronation mechanics of the foot during walking or running. In the athlete its cause may be related to overtraining, with repetitive stress to the plantar fascia ligament at its attachment to the bottom of the heel.

If you are currently experiencing heel pain, it’s important to begin treatment as soon as possible, even prior to seeing your specialist. Two avenues of treatment need to be pursued simultaneously:

1. The first portion of treatment is to treat the heel pain just like you would a broken bone. If you have a broken bone you immobilize the fracture until it is healed. The temporary use of a highly-supportive shoe and an orthotic are essential in decreasing the mechanical stress on the plantar fascia. Err on the side of caution by purchasing a pronation control running shoe and a firm orthotic like Superfeet or Powerstep brands. It’s always important to have your foot and shoe needs evaluated by the experts, and the staff at Running Warehouse have the expertise to make sure that you are in the right shoe (and they carry the Superfeet and Powerstep brands). Don’t forget to purchase the shoe and the orthotic together. Absolutely NO BAREFOOT walking during the period of recovery is mandatory. Yes, that means the comfortable pair of flip flops or slippers are OUT!

2. The second portion of treatment is to eliminate the inflammation with the simple use of ice to the heel several times daily for 5-10 minutes, temporary use anti-inflammatory medications like Advil or Aleve, and the possible use of a cortisone injection if you are being treated by a specialist.

A few other tips:

a. Stretch your calves several times a day.

b. Roll a golf ball or perform some deep tissue massage to the heel.

c. Consider the use of night splints.

d. Keep your cardiovascular conditioning going with high-intensity biking or spin classes, but keep off of the roads with the running until you recover.

e. Most of all DON’T get frustrated. Plantar fasciitis will resolve, allowing you to get back running. After recovery, you may not need the use of a pronation control shoe or an orthotic. Adding in some barefoot running as well as intrinsic muscle strengthening to your training program may be all you need for future injury free running.


Here’s to fun, INJURY FREE training and great success at the City to Sea Half Marathon and 5k!