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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-14-08, 01:18 PM   #1
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Pain in heel - why?

I'll be booking a doctors appointment in the morning, but that'll take over a week to come through, so I thought someone here may be able to help.

If I stretch my calf muscle (with my foot flat on the floor) it causes a bolt of pain in the back of my heel. Not pleasant. If I cycle I feel no pain at all, and walking is fine too. In the morning the back of the heel feels slightly tight.

It's really frustrating to have to take time of the bike, but I don't want to make things worse. I've been cycling 70 miles per week and have slowly increased it to around 90 miles weekly - was feeling good on the bike, so don't really think I have overtrained.

Any ideas?
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Old 05-14-08, 01:31 PM   #2
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I have been seeing more and more articles on the web where they are going against the common "knowledge" that the best way to place your foot on a pedal is with the ball of your foot perfectly alligned with the axle of the pedal. More and more folks are stating that moving your foot forward more is a GOOD thing. One of the first places I read this was in Sheldon's web site. Now there appears to be more and more evidence that it puts a lot less straign on the lower legs. With the pedal a bit closer to the heel of the foot you are placing the pushing motion close to being in-line with your leg. Try riding on your tippy toes and you realize how hard it is to ride that way. I've also seen various arguements being made that the same it true of swinging with a bat. The sweet spot on the bat is not at the outer edge, it is a bit in from the end... same idea with pushing with your foot. You may want to try moving your feet forward a little on your pedals and see if this takes a large load off your heel.

Happy riding,
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Old 05-14-08, 01:48 PM   #3
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Thanks André
Funnily enough, I've just read the comment about positioning of the foot on the pedal - I will move the cleats back on my shoes and see what happens. As it is, I'm only cycling the bare minimum 2.5 mile commute - everything else is out of the window. Might have to revise my 3500 mile target for the year, and rest up.
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Old 05-14-08, 02:22 PM   #4
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ice for 10 min then wait 10 min then ice 10 min then wait, etc.....

if you take your fingers and press real hard in the middle of your heel do you have pain? Yes = Plantar Fasciitis and need to do stretching and wear Arch Support Strapping.

Here are some good articles on your heel pain and how to prevent and treat it.

like Andre mentioned, your setup for your shoes/pedals is probably off. Have the "axle" or center lined up with the ball of your foot. Also remember to pull up when coming out of the down stroke in order to get a full 360 degree stroke.

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Old 05-14-08, 03:22 PM   #5
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Heel Pain

Johhny C,

Good luck with the doctor, I think UniversalFrost has it right. It sounds like a classic case of Plantar Fasciitis. You can look it up on a reputable site like I had a bad case in one foot for almost eight months and the other foot for almost a year. I was trying to treat it with stretching but I could not afford to be completely off my feet.

Interestingly it never bothered me on my bike, so I was able to ride. I am also a swimmer so I was able to keep up my exercise. I have been better now for about two months so I want to slowly work back into tennis and volleyball.

I am sure your doctor will also point out other treatments (steroids, surgery, etc.).
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Old 05-14-08, 04:11 PM   #6
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It doesn't sound like plantar fasciitis to me. He said that the pain was in the back of the heel...achilles tendon area? 'Plantar' refers to the sole of the foot, and the area of pain is on the bottom of the heel when you have plantar fasciitis. Stretching before getting up in the morning, icing before going to sleep at night, and using orthotic inserts (my doctor recommended "SuperFeet" inserts) in my shoes helped me, but it still took almost a year for my plantar fasciitis to finally go away.
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Old 05-14-08, 06:24 PM   #7
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the plantar fasciitis can also casue soreness in the back of the heal or even develop other issues in the achilles area. I used to run at least 5k every day and a 10k at least once a week and I got what i thought was a heel spur, but turned out to be plantar fasciitis and turned into a stretched achilles tendon. Be carefule because you can pulled the achilles right off the bone and require a graft (usually from a cadaver) and be out of commision for months (had this happen to a friend).

Only way to tell if a spur or not is to get a x-ray with weight on the foot.
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Old 05-14-08, 11:25 PM   #8
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To start off I am not a doctor... I went through something similar to what you are describing a little over a year ago. I was having sever pain on my heels and was diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis. Typical treatment was ice and stretching which helped but did not make the pain go away. What I found is plantar fasciitis is common in people who are in their mid to late 40's and over weight. As we age and gain weight the arch drops and stretches the tendon where it connects to the bottom of the heel causing micro fractures. I tried ice, stretching and message. What worked for me was getting good quality shoes with high arches (Finn Comfort shoes) and avoided going bare foot. After about 8 months to a year I am pretty much pain free but still wear the good quality shoes.

During the period of trying to figure out what caused the pain I was convinced the pain was from riding as my foot would hurt about an hour after riding. My own solution was going with high arch support shoes and continue to stretch. Today I am good but when I spend a weekend hiking or doing things in tennis shoes my feet let me know that its still there.

Anyway, I suggest following through with he doctor and see what they say. If they suggest shoe inserts and insurance will cover it you should try that. No matter what the recommendation is, it will take time for the pain to subside.

I went to the 'Good Feet Store' and they tried to sell me $300 + worth of orthodics. I then went to a local high quality shoe store and ended up buying the Finn Comfort shoes and sandals which has resolved my problem.

Good luck... and don't try to tough your way through it... it only gets worse.
Uphill or downhill; headwind or tailwind; Pavement or Dirt ... it's all good.
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Old 05-14-08, 11:47 PM   #9
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I am a living, breathing example of how orthotics can kill the heel pain almost immediately. If Plantar Fasciitis is what ails you, you will be pleasantly surprised with this remedy.

I do own a pair of $300 orthotics from Good Feet, and while they worked like magic, the same product, purchased from Bed Bath & Beyond for $20, were even better.
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