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Ask Dr. Salada – A Real Pain in the Foot

Q:  I’m a runner and recently started feeling pain in my heel when I run. It feels like I’m stepping on a rock with every step. What does this mean?

A:  Heel pain is a very common complaint for many populations, especially among avid exercisers, such as runners and participants in other high impact sports. Pain in the heel can be caused by issues such as heel spurs or another condition called Plantar Fasciitis. Pain due to these issues can be caused by improper “loading” on the arch of the foot. The fascia (connective tissue) gets overstretched and sometimes can even get pulled off of the bone, causing micro-tears which then become calcified and cause a spur. These conditions can be eased by applying ice to the arches two to three times immediately after exercising for ten minutes or so each, with a ten minute break in between sessions. Also, try strapping the arch with tape before exercising for extra support.

As always, if the symptoms don’t resolve in a week or so with these conservative treatments, consult your doctor. If the pain gets worse quickly, see your doctor immediately to identify other causes of pain. Your doctor may have you stay off the foot for a specific period of time. When you’re ready to get back on your feet, you may have to shorten your workout routine or change the terrain for a complete recovery. Take care of your feet; they are your most precious piece of exercise equipment!

Until next time, keep moving!!
Elizabeth Salada

Dr. Salada is board certified in Internal Medicine and has been in practice in San Diego since 1996. She attended medical school at Wake Forest University where she received high honors in Family Practice and Internal Medicine. Her final training was obtained from Pennsylvania State University where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine.

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