Heel Pain in Runners

heel pain in runners

Heel Pain in Runners

Heel Pain in Runners 600 400 Ace Health Centre
Heel Pain in Runners is one of the most common injuries that will present to a Podiatrist. There are many causes of heel pain in runners. For the purposes of this article we will focus on heel pain due to overuse, in particular Plantar Fasciitis.

What causes Heel Pain in runners?

Running is a high impact sport. During running, peak ground reaction forces are typically 2-3 times body weight. This places considerable stress on the foot structures, in particular the Plantar Fascia and heel bone. Heel pain occurs when to load going through the plantar fascia continually exceeds what the tissue can tolerate. An example of this is when we increase our training volume or intensity too quickly. In this case our body hasn’t been given adequate time to get stronger and cope with the increase in load.

Tips to Prevent Heel Pain when running

  • See a Podiatrist or Physiotherapist who can assess your Running technique and foot posture.
  • Choose the correct Running shoe for your Foot Function, a Podiatrist can guide you on this.
  • When starting a new activity or sport, start out slowly managing training load. Doing too much too soon does not allow adequate time for tissues to adapt to the increased load they are under.
  • Strength and Flexibility, engage in some strength and conditioning exercise specific to your sport.
  • Quality Sleep and Nutrition. Sleep is very important for recovery, growth and repair. Fuelling the body with the right types of foods also plays an important role in injury prevention.

How can a Podiatrist help to treat Heel Pain?

The most important part is to reduce the load in the damaged tissues. As Plantar Fasciitis is caused by excessive load in the tissue, it is desirable to reduce the load in the short term. This helps to facilitate healing.

1) There are a few useful strategies for this;

  • Foot Orthotics / insoles; Custom insoles with the appropriate design are effective in reducing the load in the Plantar Fascia
  • Strapping;Certain methods of strapping that can reduce the load in the tissue immediately leading to immediate pain relief
  • Reduce training load; by stopping or modifying running or other activities until the tissues heal and pain subsides
  • Calf muscle stretching; stretching the calf muscles has been shown to be effective in reducing the load in the Plantar Fascia

2) Increase the ability of the Tissues to take the Load

  • High Load Strength Training for Plantar Fasciitis; High load strength training is aimed at progressively and slowly increasing the load on the Plantar Fascia. This is so it can adapt to be stronger and be tolerate his forces going through it. Evidence suggests High Load Strength training may aid in quicker reduction in pain and improvements in function.


There is no need for heel pain to become a long term chronic problem. Early appropriate intervention ensures the best outcome. This ensures a quicker reduction in pain, improved function long term and reduced likelihood of reoccurrence. Custom orthotics are one of the most effective way to get out of pain and allow an increase in load.

Call us today to book with out Podiatrist and see how we can help you.