Plantar fasciitis – Part of the running series

Do you ever start out your run with pain in your heel or wake up in the morning not being able to put weight on your foot because your heel hurts?  You may have plantar fasciitis as 10% of runners develop it. 

The plantar fascia is a band that extends from the heel to the toes. It helps support the arches of the foot and allows for a more stable foot as you take a step forward.   It can be irritated by tightness in your calves or weakness in your foot muscles.  Symptoms subside with activity, but they can and usually return when we stand and bear weight on our feet after a period of rest.  Recent studies have found that no inflammatory process is actually occurring in the plantar fascia, which may explain why anti-inflammatory or cortisone injections may have had limited effects.  Pain is occurring due to changes in the tissue from overuse.  Consequently, “fasciosis” may be better terminology rather than “fasciitis.”

Why are runners susceptible?

–         Recent changes in activity, especially rapid increase in mileage

–         Poor pre season conditioning

–         Tightness in ankles and calves

–         Weakness in the foot muscles and calves

–         Poor foot wear for your foot type

How do we prevent it?

–         Stretch the calves and/or plantar fascia

–         Strengthen foot muscles

–         Strengthen calves and core

–         See your physical therapist, podiatrist, or a reputable shoe store for recommendations on proper footwear.  Make sure you are following a program that balances stretching and strengthening, along with proper training progression.

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