Plantar Fasciitis - Causes Symptoms And Preventions For Pain Free Running
Plantar Fasciitis (or Fasciosis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain and can be quite debilitating for a runner unless treated properly. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue (Plantar Fascia) that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. As a common injury in the running world, we wanted to shed some light on what might be causing this excruciating pain, some of the symptoms you need to look out for and some tips on how you can prevent it in the future! Time and time again we meet customers that have ignored the initial signs and hobble in the door to us looking for help.
Your plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot and absorbs shock when you walk. If tension and stress on this bowstring become too great, small micro tears can occur in the fascia. Often, this happens with insufficient support in running footwear or when mileage is increased too quickly, but it can also appear out of the blue for those who don’t pay attention to stretching this vital tissue before & after running. What is most important to understand here is that the body functions as one big kinetic chain. In terms of plantar fasciitis specifically, one needs to look at the plantar fascia, achilles tendon and calf muscle complex as a 3 way kinetic chain. Tension anywhere in this chain will have a domino effect on the other 2 parts of the chain and can leave you more susceptible to the onset of plantar fasciitis.
If you fall into the following demographics, you will be a little more predisposed towards the dreaded plantar fasciitis:
- Age: it is most common between 40 & 60 year olds.
- Certain types of exercise: Any sports that involve running for long periods of time will increase the stress on your plantar fascia. Sudden increases in mileage or intensity of running can often trigger the onset of plantar fasciitis.
- Foot mechanics: Both fallen arches and high arches can result in additional stress on the tissue. It is extremely important that you are running in the correct type of shoes that suit your foot mechanics.
- Occupation/daily routine: Occupations that involve many hours on your feet will increase the chances of plantar fasciitis. Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes that suit your foot mechanics and consider some of our preventions below.
What are the early signs of plantar fasciitis? Runners who regularly run long distances can be at a higher risk of getting plantar fasciitis. It typically starts out by causing a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. This is the point where your plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone (subtalor). The pain is usually worst with the first few steps in the morning, although it can also be triggered by long periods of standing or when you get up after sitting. The pain is usually worse after exercise, not during it. We’ve highlighted some top preventions to help you avoid this very painful injury!
Plantar Fasciitis can be one of the most stubborn running injuries that will persist and come back to haunt you unless treated properly. The approach to cure needs to be looked at like piecing a jigsaw together. To fully understand the approach to treatment you need to consider the 3 way chain mechanism briefly discussed earlier. If there is an unusual amount of tightness anywhere in this chain then it will greatly heighten your chances of getting plantar fasciitis.
Here are some tips on how to treat it -
- Reduce volume and intensity of your training
- Instant relief: Icing using an icy water bottle, painkiller and anti-inflammatory creams will provide some immediate, short term relief, but properly addressing the problem doesn’t stop there.
- Appropriate stretching: Regular deep stretching of the calf muscle complex and some foam rolling for myo-fascial release will help free up muscle tightness and thus reduce tension further down the kinetic chain. Massaging the tension out of the plantar itself using a foot roller pre and post workout will also work wonders.
- Night splints are a great way of ensuring your plantar fascia and the calf tissue are stretched. It is recommended to wear these to bed after a long or medium length runs, or when the pain increases. You can also wear them the night before a long run or a long day on your feet to try and prevent any pain on the day.
- Get the right footwear: It’s important to get sized and your gait analysed properly to ensure you are training in the right footwear. At The Run Hub we offer expert Gait Analysis in store and use video analysis to record and breakdown your running gait piece by piece.
- It is also important that your footwear is still fit for purpose. Like car tyres, your runners will have a certain lifespan depending on the mileage you do. A good rule of thumb is ~500 miles /800km. If you are unsure of what signs to look out for, contact us today & we’ll be sure to help you.
- Stick to your plan: Sticking to your training plan will reduce the chances of you massively increasing mileage too quickly. Following a well used training guide and gradually building towards your target distance is key when training for a new distance e.g. the marathon.
Conclusion: At The Run Hub, we want to provide you with a one stop shop for all your running needs. As passionate runners, we know how frustrating injuries can be. We’re on hand to offer any advice we possibly can so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Click Here to see our wide range of running products aimed at reducing your chances of injury and maintaining strong body mechanics!