Heel Pain

Causes of Heel Pain While Running

There are many causes that create heel pain in runners some of which are overuse, foot structure, and even shoe type. People with flat feet or very high arches are particularly prone to heel pain after running as these foot shapes can put strain on the plantar fascia, a ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot. With correct footwear and regular stretching, such issues can usually be alleviated.Heel Pain when running can usually be attributed to one of the following.


heel pain in runners


Heel Spurs

Is a condition that commonly affects runners, is caused by a variety of factors. The most common cause is due to insufficient or improper cushioning, leading to increased pressure and friction on the plantar fascia. This continued stress and strain on the heel can result in a calcium deposit, forming a bony outgrowth over time. Other causes of heel spurs include overuse and excessive running, inadequate stretching, dramatic changes in surface or terrain, and improperly fitting shoes.  More information on Heel spurs


Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is a common condition affecting the feet of many individuals, particularly runners. The condition involves inflammation of the Plantar Fascia, a thick band of tissue stretching from the heel bone to the toes. When the tissue tightens, the fascia does not stretch and flex as it should, leading to painful inflammation. Those affected by Plantar Fasciitis will experience pain when walking or standing on the heel and arch of the foot, as well as inactivity-related stiffness. Treatment of this condition typically includes rest, stretching, orthotics, massage, ice treatments, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.  More information on Plantar Fasciitis.


Bruised Heel (Fat Pad Contusion)

Runners can place the foot at risk for a number of injuries including a bruised heel or Fat Pad Contusion. Because the calcaneus is the largest bone in the foot and the primary weight-bearing bone, it is subject to injury.  A heel bruise can be a painful injury and can be the result of either one acute injury or from repetitive impact on the foot. Although moderate injuries can result in a contusion to the fat pad surrounding the calcaneus or a deep bone bruise, repetitive injuries can result in a calcaneal stress fracture.  More information on Bruised Heel


Achilles tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. It plays a crucial role in running by enabling the foot to push off the ground. However, repetitive stress on the Achilles tendon can lead to micro-tears and inflammation, resulting in Achilles tendonitis.

Achilles tendonitis can be acute or chronic, with the latter being more common among runners. Acute tendonitis is usually caused by a sudden increase in intensity or duration of training, while chronic tendonitis develops gradually over time due to repetitive strain on the tendon.  More information on Achilles tendonitis.