This has come up in several of my sessions lately and I though it was easier to answer in a blog post than a social media type share!
A sharp pain or a dull ache in the heel, arch or side of the ankle could come from a number of different sources, and if you go and see a Dr, physio or sports therapist, they will give you different answers too. Google heel pain and you get thousands of sources of information.
I always like James Dunne's videos and blogs on all things running – he has some details on plantar fasciitis and exercises here.
I am no expert, but I have had heel and foot pain for a couple of summers which dramatically reduced the amount of running I could do, has had an impact on my pace and meant that I learnt a bit about the likely cause and experimented with exercises to help. So, I thought I could share my experience and you might find it helpful.
So, if you're struggling, here are some things you could try:
1. Massage the foot – you can do this by rolling a tennis ball or a rolling pin under the arch of your foot and under your heel to help the blood flow to the muscles and ligaments, or go to a professional!
2. Stretch the foot - you can flex and arch your foot, press your toes up against a step to feel a stretch under the foot, and try raising your toes when standing on the floor.
2. Stretch the calf and achilles – regularly stretching can really help relieve tightness all round. The wall stretch is good for this – have one foot close to the wall, one foot a step away and lean forward to feel a stretch in the back calf.
3. Keep the ankle mobile – do those ankle rolls before you get moving.
5. Ice the foot – I used to keep a frozen 500ml water bottle in the freezer, which helped numb the pain and reduce swelling.
6. Rest – reduce your running mileage or change the type of exercise – more strength and flexibility training and less impact is only going to be a good thing.
In order to avoid the pain coming back I continue to do the following:
1. Roll my foot on a tennis ball, massage ball or rolling pin daily for a few minutes each time
2. Stretch and roll (on a foam roller) my calves before and after running
3. Keep working on balance and single leg work to help with postural imbalances that may have contributed to the problem
4. Mainly run off road
5. If I run on the road then I keep my pace down, stay aware of the impact on my feet and keep checking my posture.
6. Rotate my trainers/running shoes so I'm not always in the same ones
7. I very rarely wear heels!