If you read my previous article, “A Runner’s Battle With Heel Pain,” I left you hanging without an answer as to what Tommy’s injury was. Don’t worry, you can find that answer here!
If you did not read the article, I will fill you in with a brief summary.
Tommy decided to run hills one day and performed it at a high intensity. He did not give his body a chance to recover and continued to run hills daily. One day he notices a pain above his heel. He continues to run but it does not get better. He uses a massage gun on his calf but his heel still hurts. Luckily he runs into a friend who has experienced a running related injury in the past and recommends Tommy to go see a physical therapist. The story can only end in one way, which is Tommy being able to get back to running without pain. You will soon find out why!
Tommy didn’t know how persistent his heel pain would be. He thought he could keep running at his same intensity, volume, and frequency and that eventually he would be fine. Does this sound familiar to you? Numerous times I have seen runners continue running without any modification of their training regiment due to the belief that running with pain is normal and that the issue will get better on its own over time. Just use a foam roller, that special massage stick or massage gun, and wear a compression sleeve and you’ll be fine right?
That is completely false.
I have also seen runners avoid seeing a qualified health professional due to the fear of being told to stop running. Sadly this happens all too often. Honestly, there is a part of me that cannot blame runners who avoid seeing their physician. Often times you are not going to be given a clear cut plan or guidance on how to navigate your injury. You may get caught up in the medical system with being told to stop running and in the meantime get all sorts of imaging done.
In the event that nothing shows up on the imaging, you will likely be told, “Nothing is wrong with you. Go back to running and take it slow.” After this you may start running again. However you will likely still feel pain, and you have no idea what to do about it. I have seen this too many times. But let me tell you, there is hope, and a physical therapist who specializes in treating runners can help you navigate the complexities of getting back to running without heel pain.
Enough of me rambling on, you are probably still wondering what was causing Tommy’s heel pain?
The answer is, Tommy was dealing with an insertional Achilles Tendinopathy.
Stay tuned for my next article on Achilles Tendinopathy and how runners dealing with this injury can get back to running without pain!
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