How Runners Should Treat Plantar Fasciitis

Natalie Cecconi
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Why Do Runners Develop Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a common running injury that is often exacerbated as the summer temperatures continue to rise.

The condition is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a long, strong, fibrous band of connective tissue that runs from the heel to the toes along the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis most often affects people between the ages of 30 and 60 and it can strike at random.

The condition can be caused by overpronation, running on hard surfaces, high arches, and high heels. This condition is also often found in people who are overweight and/or those who have been on their feet a lot.

The pain caused by plantar fasciitis usually strikes during the first few steps after getting out of bed or after a long period of inactivity. Eventually, the pain lessens as you move around and become more active.

Exercises are the first line of treatment for plantar fasciitis. They help relax the plantar fascia, which in turn promotes the healing and repair of the plantar fascia. Some of the exercises recommended for plantar fasciitis include stretching exercises, core strengthening exercises, and exercises to be performed on a foam roller.

Finally, massage a few times a week to increase blood flow and relieve stress.

How to Recognize Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a thick tissue that runs under your feet. The plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone and the ball of your foot. The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel.

Despite what its name suggests, the plantar fascia itself is rarely injured. Instead, the inflammation is usually caused by injury to the tissue around it. For this reason, it’s important to take steps to prevent the onset of plantar fasciitis, as well as to treat the condition if you already have it.

How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis in Runners

Plantar fasciitis is a painful and frustrating injury that can be a major threat to your fitness. A sudden blow to the heel, or a fall, can strain the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that supports the arch and the heel.

When this tissue is injured, it swells and causes sharp, stabbing pain in the heel. But most of the symptoms of plantar fasciitis are usually not caused by an acute event, but by a single, recurring stress on the fascia during activities such as running. The first step before treating this condition is to differentiate it properly from other causes of heel pain.

If you have plantar fasciitis, you will experience pain in the heel after physical activity and at the end of the day. The pain will be present when getting up in the morning and will ease during the day, but after physical activity, the pain gets worse.

Increasing your fluid intake, lowering your sodium intake, and switching off running shoes may be some of your best options for dealing with plantar fasciitis. Exercises and stretches that relieve tension can also be an essential part of your plantar fasciitis treatment.

Also, find the best plantar fasciitis running shoes for you.

Let Your Feet Rest

The most important advice I can offer runners with Plantar Fasciitis is to rest, and do not do any running for at least two weeks consistently. Typically, this is enough time for inflammation to settle and the injured tissue will get some time to heal.

If you are persistent, this is enough time for your body to repair itself naturally. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, and there are certainly cases of people who didn’t let their feet rest and still suffered from the nagging pain.

What about workouts?

However, once the inflammation has subsided, you can start doing other forms of exercise. You can incorporate swimming which will hugely help improve your circulation. If you add cycling too, you’ll be doing double the good for your body.

At this stage, you can start some light exercises usually in the form of strength workouts and stretching. You can also start swimming and cycling but at a very light level. Remember not to overdo it. This is your time to rebuild your strength, and you’re already a step ahead of the healing with this type of recovery workout.

Apply Ice

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common running injuries, and runners and non-runners alike have found all sorts of home remedies for it. The usual approach is to apply ice to the area to reduce inflammation and swelling.

At home, you can do this by filling a plastic bag with ice cubes and wrapping it in a cloth. Then, place it on the arch of your affected foot for 10 minutes, three times per day.

Stretch Correctly

The plantar fascia is a ligament that runs from the heel bone to the toes, supporting the arch in our feet. It is very similar to your Achilles tendon. This tendon like ligament is attached to the heel bone by two strong bands of collagen fibers called the medial and lateral insertions. These bands are the weakest attachment sites of the fascia.

A painful inflammatory condition of the plantar fascia is known as plantar fasciitis. It is characterized by an intense, sharp pain in the bottom of the heel (the plantar surface). The pain is most commonly felt when you first get out of bed or when you get up after prolonged rest.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is prone to injury due to high impact activities, most commonly running. Another common cause is an imbalance in foot pronation. This time overpronation is the culprit.

Pronation and supination are the two possible movements of your feet.

Pronation is turning your foot inward when weight-bearing.

Supination is turning your foot outward.

Imaging the foot position while placing your heel on the ground.

During pronation, the plantar fascia is lengthened. During supination, the plantar fascia is contracted.

Find the Right Footwear

For the treatment of plantar fasciitis, you need to wear shoes that will provide the right amount of shock absorption both during heel contact and toe off.

With the sporty running shoes currently on the market, you will have no shortage of options.

However, if surfing the shoe aisles fills you with dread because of your foot pain, it’s best to find a running store that will help aid your search.

Ask for assistance and advice when searching for the right pair of shoes.

You need to wear shoes that have flexible soles, good arch support and a durable mid-sole. Look for shoes that support your arch, have a mid-sole that’s firm and a flexible fore-foot. Shoes that are built with high-quality materials are more likely to offer the support that you need.

Keep your heel well locked in during that first hour of wear. If you notice the painful symptoms returning, keep your heel firmly in the shoe until after the first hour. This will settle your foot back into the correct position and prevent your heel from slipping. Remember not to force anything.

Wear the recommended socks and as soon as you feel you’ve got the fit right, start wearing them for extended periods of time. If pain starts to arrive, back off slightly and see if things improve.

Try Orthotics or Plantar Fasciitis Taping

Plantar fasciitis affects the plantar fascia, which is the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot that helps the muscles in your foot and leg contract to provide support and stability.

When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, it results in pain in the bottom of your heel and excessive stretching when you put weight on your foot.

The primary treatment for plantar fasciitis is rest, or non-weight bearing. For a few days, you should avoid activity or exercise and focus on taking care of your feet. This can help to reduce inflammation and pain. You should also give yourself a break from standing and walking around as much as possible.

If non-weight bearing is not enough to take care of your plantar fasciitis, you can also try a few other steps to help reduce the pain and prevent it from re-occurring.

You can try to stretch using a rolling pin.

You can also use a heating pad, ankle weights, or elastic bandages to take some of the strain off your feet. You can try using a sock and a bandage or get an orthotic or plantar fasciitis taping to offer some additional support and stability.

All these techniques may help reduce pain and discomfort while you try to heal the plantar fasciitis.

Surgery as a Last Resort

If you have had plantar fasciitis for long enough, you should consult a foot or ankle specialist.

Plantar fasciitis is known as the "spurring of the plantar fascia," and it is caused by micro-tears in the tissue.

The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes. It supports the arch of the foot.

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that stretches from the heel to the ball of the foot. It’s made of nearly parallel strands of connective tissue that are continuous at both ends.

When you’re standing, the bottom of the fascia spreads out and forms a fan shape. When you’re walking, your toes push off against the floor and the fascia absorbs and releases energy.

Plantar fasciitis develops when the fascia becomes irritated and inflamed.