Pain in the heel

Hey everyone, I was wondering if anyone has similar experience to what has happened to me recently. I was doing my second W3 run and after the podcast ended I kept running few minutes extra at the end because I wasn't really tired. I also end my run by walking/running up a hill (because I live on a hill -.-). By the end of the evening I could barely limp down the stairs due to the pain in the back of my left heel, and it wasn't much better the day after. The day after that though I felt bit braver and decided to do the last W3 run. I had to run ridiculously slow and placing every step super carefully, but somehow made it through. It was slightly painful in the beginning, but I barely knew about the pain by the time I got home. Unfortunately, it was back in few hours after and in the morning (now) I struggle getting down the stairs again. Any idea what caused this to begin with and how long should I not go running for? What could make the recovery faster? Since trying to "just push through it" really isn't working. I just kinda don't want to stop less than a month into this programme, I really enjoy doing this, but it doesn't look like I have a choice.

Thanks for any advice :)

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11 Replies

  • It's always a bit "dangerous" to diagnose over the internet, but try to google "plantar fasciitis". It does sound to me like that could be what you're suffering from. The bad news is that if this is the case, then it is a serious issue that needs addressing. The good news is that there are simple exercises that can help strengthen the necessary muscles and thus reduce risk.

  • That sounds quite discouraging, but thank you for your input. I guess I'll take time off running for now and see a GP next week if I am still in note worthy pain.

  • I'm with Tomas, hard to diagnose online, but PF is most common explanation of your pain. Does it get worse if you lift your toes up towards your shin (dorsiflexion)?

    Typically PF resolves itself within one year, and you may be running again in 6 months. Sorry.

    Please don't run again until you've had some advice from your GP. You may be allowed to exercise on an elliptical cross-training, and of course swimming is great for overall fitness without the impacts from running.

  • Maybe slightly worse if I lift my toes but not much. Well, I hope that it is not going to be so serious. I think I will give it a few days and then see a GP if I still feel it and just not run in the meantime.

    I appreciate your advice on alternate activities but I can't afford a gym membership and I'm disgusted by swimming pools (yeah, I know I'm kinda difficult...). So maybe some strength training in the meantime for me.

  • You know that sound spookily similar to what I had, twice, once in one foot, took some rest the built my time up again slowly, then bam, happened in the other foot, back again building up the time again, and then, I was aching nearly all the time, then I gave myself the permission to take additional rest days, and that did the trick, I now run twice a week, one 'long' run (building to 10k) and a 5k (park run usually) , and fingers crossed I am tickety boo, I learnt my bod can do high impact, but only twice a week, thank you very much! Do get some proper advice though, but I hope my experience may help.


  • Thank you for some positive insight, I find that helpful. I did spend today being rather grumpy over the thought of having to give up running for up to six months, it was mostly my only excuse to leave the house these days. Additional rest days seem like a thing that could help me. I imagine running on a softer surface would help a lot as well, but that requires finding a suitable route nearby that isn't tarmac and good luck with the weather. I can't have an appointment with a GP tomorrow, but I will call the practice and try to get one before the end of the week. Wish me luck :)

  • My pain began like a bruise feeling just near the front of the heel at the inner side of the arch, it would then feel like it was right in the centre of the underneath of my heel. Coming downstairs was most painful. It did take few weeks to go, I did see my gp who suggested I take up cycling! (About as useful as a chocolate teapot!). And I did see a podiatrist, but nothing untoward found. Looking back I would class it as an overuse injury, I did get my shoes checked out too, but they are fine. I was getting to 28 minutes and getting stuck on the programme - that's why it took so long for me to graduate - nearly a year. So now I am quite a happy bunny with my two runs a week. I don't stretch too much either, you'll get to know how much is right for you as you go along.

    I'm glad to have been some help, don't give up, you just have to work out what's right for you, your body will tell you.

    Good luck


  • I marked where my pain is coming from on this image -

    it is coming deep from the area, quite far from the surface. It got a lot better over today, I don't struggle getting down the stairs anymore. I can still feel it though. Overuse injury is most likely in my case. The questions are what can I do about this and how long I need to take off. I suppose the gp will answer those for me, provided they don't make me wait two weeks for an appointment. I'm not sure if there is anything wrong with my shoes, but I did consider maybe getting a size bigger - I normally wear size 6 but my toes are kinda curled up and maybe I'd be better off with 6 & 1/2 to have more room there. I doubt the gp will have any idea about that though. I'll keep your advice in mind. Thank you :)

  • Hi there, that's almost exactly where I had the pain, it always started, or I noticed it on the inside of the heel first, and it was like a bruise feeling, it took me about 4 to 6 weeks to get over it, starting back slowly. Yes, the stepping down pain did seem to go quite quickly. But if you overdo it, it will be straight back. I did go back out too quickly, so perhaps give yourself a good couple of weeks with some regular stretching and then start again, but less time and slowly and see how you get on. And of course see what the GP says.

    As for shoes, I am a size 5 and wear size 6 1/2 running shoes, it also depends on the brand, you must, must, must have enough room for your toes to move about, swell up etc., otherwise you may get blisters, black nails and all sorts of nasties, consider getting a gait analysis at a proper running shop. Don't be disheartened, hang in there, seek the advice you want and you will get there, take care of yourself, and give yourself a break, you are human, not a robot!


  • All right, well if I can get back to "some" running in two months or so, I'd be really happy.

    I did not experience much of blisters or any other serious problems with my toes as such (even though obv in the beginning, some blisters and skin rubbing against the sock/shoe is to be expected, especially with new shoes). But it feels like there could be bit more space to stretch them out. It could be that the pressure is not distributed evenly and that contributed to the heel area being strained. I have an appointment tomorrow so hopefully I'll learn more about this then.

    What kind of shop should I look for for that?

  • I think Sweatshop is a national chain, they do gait analysis, the other thing is to google 'gait analysis' in your area and see what it comes up with. I am very lucky there are at least 2 independent shops near me, the one I went to only sells running and triathlon gear, nothing else, all the people that work there are experienced runners, great for advice, there are brands that only make running shoes and no other type of 'trainer' . They can be a bit pricey, but they are an investment. To date I have not had any blisters or rubbing with my running shoes.

    Good luck.


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