Exercise before your running exercise

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Photo of my left heel using Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 mobile phone.

My left heel hurt after I ran yesterday, 27 October 2018. After constant searching for answers to why this happened to me, I found out that I might have a Plantar Fasciitis or Achilles Tendonitis

There are many reasons why our feet ache after running. All runners experience Chronic Plantar Fasciitis or jogger’s heel and other foot pain whether it is after a long distance run or a short distance run. Other than Plantar Fasciitis, some of the most common of these foot pain include Metatarsalgia, Fat Pad Syndrome, Posterior Compartment Syndrome, and Stress Fracture.

Metatarsalgia is an irritated long bone of the foot including all five metatarsals in the foot caused by excessive contact or improper contact with the ground which is also the reason why continuous training with sufficient breaks in-between is recommended.

Fat Pad Syndrome is the feeling of getting a central bruise in the middle of the heel and the difference is that stabilizing the heel improves the pain but if it does not get better easily, it can really be plantar fasciitis.

Posterior Compartment Syndrome involves the foot numbness resulting in enlargement of the sheath of fascia that contains the deep compartment of the calf. It can either be acute which is life-threatening and chronic which happens over a long period of time. “Tight calf” or Deep Vein Thrombosis is another cause of this syndrome.

Stress Fracture is another foot pain that usually develops in the balls of the feet or otherwise known as metatarsal heads. It can also happen in the shin and the femur.

The last one, Plantar Fasciitis, is a pain under the heels or even in the arch of the feet. This is commonly caused by tight calf muscles, stiff ankles, or even stiff toes and then running or walking for a long distance while having limited ankle movements. It can also be due to our weight since it develops strain on the plantar fascia.

The Plantar Fascia is a connective tissue similar to a thick tendon or ligament starting at the heel bone and extending along the bottom of the foot up to the toes.

Most of the time the plantar fasciitis symptoms will be worst upon waking up and getting out of bed but should usually disappear later at the end of the day.

Standing or walking on a hard surface for a longer period and wearing shoes that are not meant for your foot type can also increase pressure and load to the plantar fascia.

Intrinsic foot muscles or small muscles that are weak, limited ankle mobility and big toe mobility, and heel spurs or calcaneal spurs are also the main cause to experience plantar fasciitis.

All of these foot pain can be avoided by exercising before doing our running exercises. Some of these exercises include the following:

  • Seated Toe Stretch
  • Arch Raise
  • Jumping Jack
  • Single-Leg Calf Raise
  • Double-Leg Calf Raise
  • Seated Calf Raise (Toes Out, Toes Neutral, Toes In)
  • Ankle Mobilization
  • Farmer’s walk on toes
  • Dumbbell jump squat
  • Downward dog

Additional cycling, whether outdoor or indoor cycling, can help since this is another form of cardiovascular exercise. Swimming is also an alternative especially if you know how to swim.

In my case, as a personal form of treatment aside from the mentioned exercises, I also considered doing the following:

  • Temporary reduction on my training which I will replace with indoor cycling or outdoor cycling if my bicycle is already fixed.
  • Performing mild and gentle calf muscle exercise prior to running including wall stretches.
  • Using shoes that are meant for my feet type which is a flat foot or over-pronated foot type.
  • Checking shoes for flexion stability especially when the shoes bends before the ball of the foot.
  • Performing toe curls for the strengthening of the intrinsic foot muscles.
  • Visiting a sports podiatrist, hopefully, since this is a specialized medical profession so I made need to do a lot of research first before I will be able to contact a real sports podiatrist.

I did not consider this foot pain or heel pain as gout since this is a complex form of arthritis and my foot is not suffering from swelling or redness. Gout also attacks the joints and not the ligaments in our feet. In any case, I may need to have a general check-up as soon as possible since I still have not used this perk from one of my Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) cards.