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dealing with heel pain
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Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
dealing with heel pain on 08/28/2009 12:43:37 MDT Print View

my left heel will occassionally hurt - not just ache, but transmit the worst pain i've ever felt. i thought it was a heel spur, but it gets better, eventually.

anyone have some ways to deal with heel pain? i'm planning a trip in a few weeks and don't want to have it cut short.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
check if plantar fasciitis on 08/28/2009 18:17:12 MDT Print View

Have a look online for the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, a pretty common cause of heel pain.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Heel Pain on 08/28/2009 18:36:47 MDT Print View

I got Planter Fasciitis in 1995..Go see a foot doctor and get custom maid Orthotics. In the meen time ice and rest--rest is very important-just get off your feet..I was lucky enough to see a Olympic Foot Dr....He told me the most important thing to do is Rest, and stretch, stretch your calves and feet.. Ice for twenty minutes then then put your feet in the bathtub for 10 min. as Hot as you can take-then ice for 20, then back in the tub and finally ice again- always end icing...The hot-cold, hot-cold gets your blood moving and gets the scar tissue out. Please PM if you need more help..I was a Pro Athlete (Back in the Day) and delt foot problems a lot- STRETCH!!!!!!!!

Edited by Creachen on 08/30/2009 21:35:18 MDT.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
the classic symptom on 08/28/2009 18:37:58 MDT Print View

The classic symptom is intense pain when first placing weight gradually letting up as you move around, repeating.
I remember the pain getting up in the morning being unbelievable.
There are lots of methods of taping the foot and heel cups along with anti-inflammatories that can help you but first you have to get it diagnosed.

Edited by pyeyo on 08/28/2009 18:38:45 MDT.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
ouch on 08/30/2009 21:32:33 MDT Print View

in the morning, my heel pain is just awful. if i let hot water run on it in the shower, it "loosens up' and i can walk on it. i have a heel cup in my shoe and that seems to be helping.

stretching and ice are helping as well. not much a doctor is gonna do - i'm over weight and i'm sure that's not helping matters.

thanks for the info.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
weight does matter on 08/31/2009 18:24:17 MDT Print View

It seems this commonly aflicts pregnant women, possible due to quick weight gain.
I would have someone look at this even if it is to assure you that isn't a heel spur too.
Also they can show you decent methods of taping and splinting that really do help.
Often the idea of a cortisone shot is thrown out there too; I'm not saying to not do this but at least get a coupke of other opinions first.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
several months later... on 12/29/2009 11:52:33 MST Print View

went to the doctor and got some x-rays of my foot - two real nice heel spurs. i'm at the point where i can put sustained pressure on the heel, but it still hurts after walking or standing for an hour or more.

i'm going to try a weekend trip in the next 2 weeks or so. i really wanted to be out on the trail this fall, but not being able to walk really put the hurt on. and of course no exercise meant more weight gain.

i have a goal for 2010 - 500 miles and 25 nights on the trail. part of that will be a week on the AT with a train ride home.

Edited by asciibaron on 12/29/2009 11:53:44 MST.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
heel pain on 12/29/2009 12:56:45 MST Print View

Here is what worked for me- it took several months.

Throw away any shoes that cause the pain.

Buy a good athletic running shoe that fits your arch
perfectly. I needed help from a podiatrist for this.

Get quality (maybe custom) arch supports of the hard
plastic variety.

Stay off your feet until the pain goes away.

Have an accu-pressurist show you how to massage the
tendons and muscles of the calf.

When it no longer hurts to do so, do calf stretches.

The heel spurs are caused by the fascitis, not the other
way around. If you don't treat the swelling and the short
calf tendons, the spurs will grow.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: several months later... on 12/29/2009 13:06:04 MST Print View

I blame "arch support" for this. The plantar fascia is not meant to be stretched so when it gets stretched more than a small amount you get tearing, usually at the heel. The overstretching is caused by the foot muscles being weak and not able to support the arch properly. You can either go barefoot and strengthen those muscles or buy arch supports as a crutch. Either option will work but only one is a cure.

If you've been in shoes with "good arch support" for a long period of time and switch to something with little to no support without doing so gradually you have a good chance of developing plantar fasciitis.

For me, shoes with higher arch support like a lot of people think they need causes problems. My plantar fascia winds up banging in to the arch of the shoe and I wind up with a bruised arch. Dealing with this now due to trying a stiffer soled shoe than normal. Shoe didn't flex like I need.

Edited by simplespirit on 12/29/2009 13:06:47 MST.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
inserts on 12/29/2009 13:17:48 MST Print View

i have switched to a low arch footbed and that has really helped, as has stretching the calf. the pain is nothing like it was - beign able to walk from my desk to my car used to be the longest i could walk (1/4 mile) - now i can walk for about 3 miles with little discomfort.

correctly tying my shoes has really helped too.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
dealing with heel pain on 12/30/2009 11:07:55 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 04/28/2015 11:51:18 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: heel pain on 12/30/2009 15:40:52 MST Print View

Dave O: Throw away any shoes that cause the pain.

Chris W: I blame "arch support" for this. ... You can either go barefoot and strengthen those muscles or buy arch supports as a crutch.

Would that more people would heed these words.


Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: several months later... on 12/30/2009 16:18:40 MST Print View

The moment I feel a heel or arch pain, I fix it on the spot or pay mucho later. This is done (if standing) by holding the toes up for about 30 seconds.

Like others have said, it’s a great help to have the perfect shod arch. Another area that used to give me extreme pain is walking on tarmac (or any other hard surface like cement or asphalt). This is the worst surface to hike/walk on. I’ve done 20 milers on this. Your feet WILL get sore. It helps a lot to have super super super cushiony heels, rigid arch support, and total free toe movement. I like rigid arch for tarmac and also for a lot of scree scrambling (to prevent underside bruising).

To PREVENT plantar damage, try this stretch; it is done at night while sleeping. Sleep on your back. Meanwhile, point your toes toward your head (opposite of a ballerina toe :)). This is not natural so your toes won’t stay. But put a light blanket (or sheet) over your feet and the blanket will hold your toes in position. A sheet holds my toes easily. Your toes only need to hold this position a few hours while you sleep. This stretch also helps those people who wake up in the morning and stand on their feet and scream from the pain until their tissue warms up. Even when hiking, the moment I feel my fascia acting up, I hurry and do the toe-backward stretch and the pain goes away.

I’ve done several 20 mile days on blacktop and my feet are sore at night (no matter how much I work out). But in the morning my feet are refreshed. If you have the wrong footwear, the feet won’t recover for a long time. Another trick of the trade is to walk softly and carry a big stick :); maybe 2 sticks. This also eases leg/foot joint shocks.

Good luck in your recovery.