Running with Heel Pain: Spurs and the Minimalist Trend
By Dr. Jeffrey Frederick
February 28, 2014
Category: Heel Pain
Tags: pain   spurs   heel   running   barefoot   minimalist   therapy  

Sometimes there’s nothing like running around barefoot and enjoying the sensation of the floor or grass underneath your toes. Daisy, the sheltered but sweet protagonist in the new movie Barefoot, agrees. She goes without shoes wherever she can, including some unconventional places. Real-life advocates of the barefoot life say that living shoeless is a more natural state and encourages foot strength. This argument has given rise to the popular minimalist running trend. Of course, this trend does have a few downsides, one being that it can lead to running with heel pain and developing spurs.

Heel spurs result when the plantar fasciitis is tightened and swollen, straining the heel bone. This encourages extra bone growth underneath it, creating a spur. Barefoot and minimalist runners seem to have chronic plantar fasciitis more often, so if you choose to switch to those styles, you need to be careful. Working closely with experienced health specialists like those NorthPointe Foot & Ankle can help you avoid and relieve discomfort from running with heel pain.

Make sure you transition slowly from normal shoes to minimalist running gear. Keep your early runs short and easy, and be prepared for sore legs. You will most likely need time and training to adjust your gait to avoid foot injuries.

If you already have heel pain or spurs, take time to rest and relieve the inflammation. Make sure you ice, massage, and stretch out your soles regularly. Low-impact activities can help you stay active without adding strain to your lower limbs. Once your heels have recovered, you can ease back into running. You may need physical therapy or special training to help you adjust your gait so that it’s better suited to minimalist running.

If you struggle with running with heel pain, but want to be able to enjoy the sport, don’t give up. Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle for an appointment or more information to see how we can help relieve your discomfort and set your feet right. Visit the online contact page or call our Berkley office at (248) 545-0100 to reach us. 

 

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