Heel pain after a long ride

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Heel pain after a long ride

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    • #254856

      I experiencing something I have not had before. During my rides everything is great. When I stop riding my heels are sore with symptoms similar to plantar fasciitis. I do a few foot stretches and after about 2 hours the pain goes away and does not return until after I ride again. I wear 5.10 shoes, have a dropper post and typically will try and keep my seat in in and extended position when on flat terrain. I have not changed my set up or riding style.

      Any ideas as to the cause and remedy of this recent situation or am I just getting old?

      PS it is winter time so for now, that is my excuse.

    • #254864

      I have had similar heel pain before, not necessarily from riding, but it is usually related to tight calf muscles. Over time your calves can get tight from jumping, even just walking, basically whenever your foot does a lot of flexion (like with your foot on the pedals, when you’re heels are down theres even more flexion). Before you try adjusting anything on your bike, spend some time stretching (think heel drops) and foam rolling your calves and the muscles on the outside of your shin. Not just before and after rides, like every day(!) and hold stretches longer than you think (1-2 minutes), and you should notice a difference. Also, massaging the underside of your foot on a baseball or lacrosse ball will help too. Hope you find some relief!

    • #254871

      Certainly sounds like it might be PF but usually you would feel pain in your heel/arch as soon as you get out of bed in the morning as the fascia tightens up overnight.  I completely agree with Leah’s advice about stretching your calves as well as the fascia (by pulling back on your toes for 1min+).  Rolling a ball under your foot can also be helpful.  But having gone through PF (with each foot) I would highly recommend that you go see a physical therapist if you don’t see improvement.  The fact is that we all have imbalances and tightness which only gets worse as we get older.  If you don’t stay on top of these issues when they first arise they can become fairly limiting and will take that much longer to heal.  Keep shreddin’!

    • #254885


      I was on the right track with the stretches, just not doing them long enough. I did an easy and relatively short ride today (under and hour) without any after ride pain. I am also going to try a few more energy bars and more water on the long rides to see if that helps.

    • #254922

      Great thread. For many of us as we get older, it is stretch (and stretch well) or seize up.

      • #254938

        Ha! Old or not, if you’re out there riding 1-10x a week then you’re an athlete IMO so you should treat your body like you’re an athlete – stretch and take care of it 🙂 I used to take stretching for granted, a few marathons and lots of $$$ in physical therapy later, I now have a daily stretching ritual and do yoga 1-2x a week. Whatever it takes to keep moving!

    • #501130

      Hi Oldandrolling, did your heel pain ever go away? What did you do?

      I just noticed some very subtle heel pain on a 3 hour ride yesterday (granted, 9th day in a row of 2-3.5 hour rides (3K-4K elevation with steep climbs). My heels didn’t bother me when I woke up this morning, but when I push super hard with a finger, I feel a little pain on each heel bone. And if I ice they feel a little sore. Not sure if could be onset of PF. I ride a lot at slow cadence 40-60rpm on my climbs to train grinding harder gears, and never over 80rpm except on my easy ride days (2-3x/week, but still big climbs on those.) I tend to peddle mid foot with large peddels.

      Also ride in 5 10s. Btw, they tend to get very flexible even if not worn, which may contribute to the problem, so going to switch to my new 5 10s, ice, elevate, stretch (which I never do), and continue riding, but at higher cadence, and see if it improves. Likely need to also reduce ride volume then more gradually increase.


      I did have this problem a couple months ago when I was jogging 4 miles 2x-3x/week and MTB 3x-4x/week. I stopped jogging, iced/rested a couple days and pain went away. But now have without the jogging. Getting old sucks,  but I do realize I took a chance on injury with so many days on bike!



    • #501185

      Yes, it worked itself out. I was upping my riding duration during that time and I think it was just my muscles and tendons getting used to the longer more challenging rides. The pain lasted approximately 8 weeks and has not come back  even though I have continued to increase my duration and goals over the last year. Keep riding consistently and I think you will be fine.

    • #501775

      Great to hear!  I iced a lot (and continue to so 3x/day), took 1 day off, and did a few days of easier (3-4 hour endurance rides) at higher cadence. Have not had the heal pain since. I suspect too many days in a row of high force, and out of the saddle riding were the main culprit.

      Oh, I also noticed that my heal hurt more with foot pronation, so with now new Five 10’s, I put in a Dr Sholls insert that stiffens the shoe around the arch and lifts it.

    • #502114

      In the beginning, everyone has this problem, but gradually the problem is solved

    • #502329

      Great to hear you guys are both feeling less/no pain. But consider things like this a heads up. Repetitive motion issues are common across all ages. However, if you’re 50+ (or even 40+) the body is nowhere near as flexible or adaptable as it was when we were younger. Calf and hip tightness are very common but are often not recognized as the imbalances that result typically lead to pain in other areas (knees, feet, etc). There’s a number of resources that are worth referencing.

      Too many people (myself included) learn the hard way. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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