Plantar Fasciitis And Running
Heel pain can be a real problem for joggers and runners and can put stop to your exercise program if not treated. Luckily, the solution might be easier than you think and best of all, it’s free too.
I have just started running and doing more workouts at the gym recently and my heel pain has come back to haunt me, along with tight hamstrings and calf muscles too.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Injuries such as Plantar Fasciitis, where the band of tissue that stretches between the toes and the heel becomes inflamed, accounts for around 10% of injuries. When the tissue becomes tight or over stressed, it becomes very painful where it meets the heel, leading to those sharp pains.
The tell tale sign of Plantar Fasciitis is getting a sharp piercing pain in your heel or around the sides of your heel. This is most common when you are not running, and most prevalent during the first few steps out of bed in the mornings or after sitting or resting for a long period of time.
Read more: Plantar fasciitis symptoms and first signs
Runners can cause the onset of Plantar Fasciitis by only doing what might seem to be normal activities. Increasing your distance or intensity may cause the Fascia tissue to become stressed or through wearing shoes that do not have enough shock absorption.
If you switch between running on hard and softer surfaces, you may find that you begin to get painful feet after running. Also, if your calf or hamstring muscles are tight or you have high or low arches on your feet, this can lead to tension in your Fascia tissue too.
So there is quite a bit that can cause this injury, although it may not be immediately obvious what the cause was.
How can I treat the pain of Plantar Fasciitis?
The best advice that your doctor can give you is to stop running completely. However, I suspect that this is the last thing you want to happen. Running with Plantar Fasciitis pain can extend the recovery time and make the condition worse overall, leading to more pain and discomfort for longer periods.
The longer you leave the injury untreated, the harder it will be to resolve the problem.
If you really have to run, make sure you ice the sole of your foot afterwards to help reduce the tension in the tissue. Going from running to resting will cause the tissue to contract, causing pain.
Night splits and special socks can help.
Wearing devices such as a night splint may also help reduce the pain in the morning. In some cases, wearing support socks or splits overnight can help reduce the time that it takes to repair the fascia after running injuries.
However, there is some good news for us runners who want to fix their Fascia pains. All you need to do is to reduce the amount of running you do and introduce some other activities to make up for it.
Run for less distance or intensity and stop immediately when feeling the pain come on.
However, some runners (me included) actually feel less pain when they are running, because the Fascia tissue becomes stretched. But the pain will come after you have stopped.
If you are able to, reduce the running and start to do other activities such as swimming, which is low intensity on your feet and will provide support for your body.
Relative rest training works well for fixing Plantar Fasciitis in runners.
This training plan is called “relative rest” and is recommended for people with sports related injuries. Perhaps riding a mountain bike can be another option rather than running. Perhaps if you were running in a group, they will let you tag along on a bike instead.
If these other sports sound like a really terrible idea to you and running is the only option, try introducing some periods of rest to your workout plan.
Walking for around 50% of the distance will help reduce the stress on your feet. Once you become more accustomed to the pain and changes in your workout, you can increase the speed and distance, always keeping your focus on your Plantar Fasciitis pain so you can cut back when needed.
Using the relative rest training will definitely help you continue to work out, whilst helping your foot pain problems heal at the same time. You need to make sure you are taking the right steps towards fixing the problem, otherwise you will be in pain for much longer.
It has been reported in the medical press that symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis will be resolved in more that 80% of people within a year if they take proper steps to remedy the problem.
You don’t need to spend lots of money on getting it fixed too – simple stretches or wearing supports in your shoes might be enough to sort it out for you.
Simple, regular calf stretches can help.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis will also need to involve treating the underlying causes, such as tight calves. James Amis, an Orthopaedic surgeon who has over 20 years experience in dealing with this problem suggests that this is the most common cause and solution for Plantar Fasciitis.
Stretching the calf muscle for 3 minutes, 3 times a day by balancing on the edge of a stair and rising up and down on your toes, can be enough to fix the problem for most people.
However, this will take time and should be approached as a long term solution, rather than a quick fix.
So, to recap on this article:
- Alternating your training program can help with Plantar Fasciitis pain.
- Stretching your calf muscles can help, over time.
- Wear proper shoes if you need to.
- Speak to your doctor or podiatrist.