What happened to my heel? It's tingling
August 5, 2008 12:57 AM   Subscribe

I overtrained. A week later, my heel is still tingly and uncomfortable. What's going on?

My left heel has felt tingly and kind of weird for about a week now. It's not really painful, just uncomfortable and annoying. If I'm focusing on something else it's generally ignorable, but when walking I'm leading with my toes to avoid putting pressure on it as it's uncomfortable to land on the heel regardless of the shoes I'm wearing.

Me: Mid-20s, moderately high blood pressure, low body weight, been running for about a year, slight pronator.

Timeline: Two weeks ago on Wednesday I went for a 15-mile run. I'd previously run a few half-marathons and I generally run at least 10 miles / week. I felt pretty much fine afterwards.

I was thinking I was pretty hot shit at that point, so the following Monday I went for a 10-mile run. I don't exactly remember when it started, but sometime after that is when the tingling began. Nothing remarkable happened on this run, but I did feel a bit dehydrated at the end (it was much warmer than the previous run).

Friday night I felt like I had had enough of this and went for my usual ~6 K run at a personal-best pace. Nothing changed for better or worse after it.

Speculative diagnoses I've looked at:
* Plantar fasciitis: It's not really painful, just uncomfortable. No change in symptoms in the morning. Walking or running makes it feel slightly worse.
* Sciatica: The sensation is very localized and there's no numbness.
posted by 0xFCAF to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
You may have damaged your Achilles Tendon. It can be felt as pain or tingling in your calf, foot, or heel. If you don't warm up first there is a strain on tendons and muscles and this especially applies to the Achilles Tendon as it is the longest tendon in the body. Improper exercise can place the load of nearly the entire body on the tendon. Warming up for a few minutes can loosen the tendon and keep it more flexible during work outs.

In general, do not take Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drugs for pain relief. These would be Aspirin, Motrin, and Alieve. Instead take Tylenol and use warm and cold packs alternatively to relieve the symptoms. But check with your doctor if the symptoms are not resolved in a few days.
posted by OneCrayon at 3:08 AM on August 5, 2008

I don't have any insight into your heel, unfortunately, but your running habits sound strange to me and I would expect them to lead to injury. It sounds like you don't do any running for up to a week at a time, and then you run 15 miles at once? That sounds crazy. When I was in cross-country in high school we would run upwards of 40 miles a week, but I never heard of any one of us running more than 10 miles at once. I'm pretty sure you have to work up to longer distances gradually. ...just my two cents.
posted by creasy boy at 3:27 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Indeed, I even indicated the stupidity of that particular sequence by starting out the question with "I overtrained."
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:35 AM on August 5, 2008

Indeed you did. Sorry for the derail.
posted by creasy boy at 5:41 AM on August 5, 2008

It's been going on too long. I say, ask an orthopedist, and get an MRI. It's probably nothing, but if it isn't nothing, you want to deal with it now and not later, when it'll be much harder.
posted by Citrus at 7:33 AM on August 5, 2008

I'd get it checked out...those sort of annyoing running injuries tend to lead to more severe problems if you ignore them and keep running.

Also, how old are your running shoes? I find that replacing them after 4 months really helps reduce injuries.
posted by emd3737 at 7:41 AM on August 5, 2008

Is the pain worse in the morning? If so, my IANAD guess is plantar fasciitis.

Sit down and cross your legs with the injured heel on top. Press on that heel. Does that pressure cause pain? If it does cause pain, it's less likely to be plantar fasciitis. The fascia hurts partly from pressure but mostly from your foot to leg angle when you stand. That's why it hurts in the morning, because your foot position while sleeping allowed your lower leg muscle to shorten. You need to stretch the lower leg/foot muscles to relieve pressure on the fascia.

A visit to the doctor is in order. In the meantime: PRICE - Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
posted by 26.2 at 11:37 AM on August 5, 2008

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