Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Heel pain
Display Avatars Sort By:
wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Heel pain on 07/31/2011 07:53:21 MDT Print View

Hi everyone. I've been going light for several years and, in particular, my footwear. About a month ago, I did a hike on uneven, fairly rocky, terrain using my INOV-8 Talon 212s. At day's end my heel really hurt. My suspicion was the minimalist 212s.

Two weeks later I did the same hike in INOV-8 315s which provide more support. Same problem.

Yesterday, I did the same hike in rigid backpacking boots and had the same horrible pain in my left heel. I'm trying to get to the bottom of this and read this thread several times:

No pain when I pinch my heel.

Any thoughts what I might be dealing with here?

Mark Primack
(Bufa) - MLife

Locale: Cape Cod and Northern Newfoundland
Achilles tendonitis on 07/31/2011 09:13:05 MDT Print View

Certainly sounds like you have an inflamed achilles tendon. Very common. Some folks call it heel spurs. It is a strain of the achilles tendon where it attaches to the heel. If the pain is severe, it could be a small tear in the tendon. I have suffered from it for many years. Ice and ibuprofen definitely help. The doctor will tell you to stay off your feet, as it can take months to heal, though in many cases it is chronic. You need to wear shoes with good support, which does not necessarily mean heavy. Before, after, and during hiking, try stretching your hamstring, calf, and achilles tendon. I also find Superfeet off-the-shelf insoles quite helpful. You will also find plenty of info on-line.

PS: I became interested in light backpacking specifically because I have suffered from achilles tendonitis for more than 15 years. Lightening my pack by more than 50% has definitely helped.

Edited by Bufa on 07/31/2011 09:16:53 MDT.

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Location of pain on 07/31/2011 09:55:25 MDT Print View

I should have been more precise in describing the location of the pain. It is coming from the bottom of my foot, in the center part of the back. The achilles area does not have any pain.

If you look at the arrow marked "Heel Bone", the pain is just forward of that:

Foot diagram

It feels as though someone took a 2"x4" and whacked the bottom of my foot in the back.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
RE heal pain on 07/31/2011 10:02:12 MDT Print View

This is my foot Dr. in this video. I have Plantar fasciaitus in both feet and with the help of his orthdics, and his taping method it has saved my hiking, still not 100% all the time but at least I can still hike, and for me this was the only option since I'm alergic to motrin and the like.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Re: Heel pain on 07/31/2011 10:03:50 MDT Print View

Sure sounds like plantar fasciitis, but of course nothing is like a doctor's opinion. My experience was the heel pain gets to the point that walking even short distances like 100 feet is not possible without pain and limping. It was always the worse in the morning or after sitting, stepping out of bed was painful. If it is PF it will only get worse without changes.

My problem was I left it undiagnosed. As I would walk on it it would loosen up and the pain would go away so my self treatment was to walk more. I was trying to walk 12 miles/day. It hurt the most when I would sit, again I figured ...walk more. Well it has taken almost a year to heal up. Last September I was barely able to walk and now on rare occasion after sitting I can still feel it.

My thoughts...first go see a doc, stop walking long distances, and the right show/inserts helped (over the counter ones worked fine for me).


Edited by jshortt on 07/31/2011 10:05:29 MDT.

Clint Hewitt
(WalkSoftly33) - F

Locale: New England
Plantar Fasciitis on 07/31/2011 10:23:07 MDT Print View

Sounds like it to me. Does it hurt getting out of bed in the AM? (when your body is at its tightest)

I believe the footwear you choose directly impacts your chances of this. Going to boots in my opinion is going in the wrong direction.

Plantar Fasciitis issues are caused by the tightening and shortening of the tendon. I think this is caused by wearing shoes that have a raised heel.

I recommend not using products such as super feet, as they only contribute to the isolation and shortening of your foot tendons.

After your body warms up a bit in the morning try stretching your feet and calves. After this some careful and controlled toe raises, with the aim of slowly going lower as you loosen up. (over the that session as well as the following days)

I hiked for six months last year wearing Five Fingers, if you are not familiar with them the important thing to note is that they where neutral shoes, meaning they had no heal raise. My tendons where fully stretched out, from going up and down hills. A month after my hike ended I started to wear a pair of big clunky boots. After about a week and a half my "heel" on both feet started to hurt while getting out of bed or just general walking. Then it dawned on me why. The boots had shortened the tendons required range of motion. I immediately stopped wearing them and began stretching and doing controlled incrementally deeper toe raises, with in a week I was pain free. Listen to your body, don't push it, give it time.

If you do have a small tear in your Achilles tendon, RICE, DO NOT do the toes raises, try doing the ABC's with your toes, to promote circulation and get the repairing life fluids to the injured area.

I hope that helps!

Clint Hewitt
(WalkSoftly33) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Plantar Fasciitis on 07/31/2011 10:32:29 MDT Print View

You can go to a doctor, but they do not always no best. They often know conventional wisdom and most likely they will want to send you to an orthopedist who will want to sell you hundreds of dollars of orthopedics. Health care is alot about making money and not solving problems

Oh yea and ditch the boots and any supportive insoles (barring you don't have other foot issues that orthopedics DO help)

Im not saying don't go to the doctor, just give your body a chance to heal its self first, and gain its full range of motion back, then if you still are experince pain you may have a more serious issue, and your money will be worth spending at the docs.

This is clearly my opinion on the subject, I am not a doctor.

Good Luck

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Heel pain on 07/31/2011 19:43:50 MDT Print View

Is the pain in only one foot? If so, you may have injured the plantar. Hopfully rest will allow it to recover. If both, then you are probably carrying too much weight on your body or hiking too much with infrequent hiking in between. Usually rest, stretch and getting the weight down cures it for most people.

marc mitnick
(marcbarrym) - F
Re: Heel pain on 08/01/2011 11:32:24 MDT Print View


The first two things that come to mind would be either plantarfasciitis as you suspect or the possibility of a bone bruise.
Although the rage these days is the "minimalist" approach to foot wear, as far as I am concerned it may be the worst advice ever given.
Perhaps in our evolution the foot was designed to walk without coverings, but the foot was not designed to walk on concrete and asphalt. This problem is further exacerbated when people try to do things like walk on a rocky terrain. The bottom of the foot is minimally protected.
If you happen to be someone who pronates excessively (feet over flatten out) then wearing a minimalist shoe is an accident waiting to happen.
The problem is once you have the heel problem, no matter what you wear, the foot will probably hurt.
You will need to have the foot issue addressed by a foot specialist which in all probability will result if some kind of orthotic device to cushion the heel and prevent the plantarfascial ligament from over stretching.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: minimalist approach on 08/02/2011 01:49:42 MDT Print View

"Although the rage these days is the "minimalist" approach to foot wear, as far as I am concerned it may be the worst advice ever given"

I think it may be the opposite. However, there are some things to be considered. Like any exercise program (yes minimalist is exercise) one has to start out with a moderate conditioning program. Additionally, one should be in good physical condition, that means not being not overweight. Minimalist success really requires that one does this almost all the time. When I was a kid I only wore shoes to school. During the summer I never wore footwear, and I played sports and games in the streets everyday. The first two years I was in high school I ran cross country and track barefooted. I even did long runs on cement and asphalt.

I am not "minimalist" but most of the time I wear flip flops or go barefooted. If I could get into a store or restaurant barefooted, I would probably throw away the flip flops. I normally hike in trail runners, but sometimes run and hike in VFFs or racing flats. I think most foot problems are due to too much weight on the feet, infrequent hiking/running followed by a lot of hiking/running, and clunky footwear. I have been hiking and running for almost 50 years and have never had this kind of injury. But I have never been overweight or had long periods of time without walking, hiking, or running. Shoes inhibit the foot's ability to stretch its structure on a regular basis. Shoes immobilize your feet. Your feet need lots of fresh air and exercise.

Most plantar injuries are weight related or the result in a sudden increase in activity.

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Update on 08/02/2011 18:45:12 MDT Print View

Thanks to everyone's help, and suggestions, I decided to take measures consistent with PL. I've stretched my foot over the past three days, learned several foot-taping techniques on youtube, and even found out the correct tape to buy.

I went on the same hike today that I did on Saturday when the pain was intense. This time, my foot was taped with Leukotape P and I wore a non-custom, non-rigid orthotic from my podiatrist. There was no pain at any time during the hike nor any residual pain once home.

Wow....I'm amazed. Thanks!

Edited by wiiawiwb on 08/02/2011 18:46:48 MDT.