Dear Running Profs,
I’m prone to pain under my heel, how can I stop it?
While I can’t be 100% sure, this certainly sounds like plantar fascia, a band of tissue which runs along the base of the foot. This is a very common running injury and there are numerous reasons why you might be more prone to it.
When an injury occurs like this though, either you haven’t reached the root of the problem or there hasn’t been enough time for it to fully resolve.
Seek Professional Advice
The first thing to do is to have your running gait analysed; experts will pick up on any asymmetries or pronations and it may be that you’ve ramped up your training too much at once, in which case rest, and then build up your training more gradually.
Resist the temptation to make up for lost time by doing too much too soon.
Stretch, Flex & Roll
You need to ensure that you’re doing flexibility exercises such as calf stretches – make sure you that release your hamstrings too.
A foam roller can help with both.
The plantar fascia will also need releasing. Roll a frozen water bottle, tennis ball or spikey ball around under your foot to help loosen it.
Strengthening exercises play a big part in rehabilitation: doing exercises with resistance bands can help strengthen the muscle around the ankles, calf raises and (every lazy runners favourite) picking thinks up from the floor with just your toes.
Change Your Shoes
While some runners have reported achieving pain-free running by purchasing expensive orthotics, others have found a cheaper alternative. A good running shoe can really help with Plantar fasciitis (see our guide here) as it will offer additional arch and ankle support which is so crucial for supporting the tissue in the foot.
Remember if none of these basic solutions work, it’s always best to see a physio.