Plantar Fasciitis is a common condition in runners affecting the bottom/sole of your foot called the plantar fascia and into the heel bone. When we run, we absorb a lot of the forces and stresses through our body, especially our feet, but when too much pressure is being placed on the tissues it can cause them to tear or cause damage to them.
The Plantar Fascia is a thick long ligament that attaches from your heel bone on the bottom of your foot all the way up into the balls of your foot which helps support the arches of your feet.
This ligament acts as a shock absorber and provides support when walking, running or when direct forces/pressures are added to the foot.
Overtime, the more pressure placed on the fascia the more susceptible it is to damage and then created inflammation.
Generally if you have this injury, you will feel:
Pain at the bottom of your foot near the heel
Pain in the morning when waking or after a long period of rest
Pain that occurs after exercise/activity
This pain may often feel sharp or achy and may not persist all the time but only when the fascia has been used.
There are lots of other contributing factors to PF but as a runner… management can be tricky if you are unsure of what to do.
If you think you have this injury, but you do not want to stop running then do not worry, you will not have to stop your training altogether - but may need to make some adjustments or changes. For example:
Off-loading where possible: This could be a form of swimming or cycling whereby your are not placing bodyweight onto your foot.
Performing simple but easy stretches and rehabilitation based exercises (using pressure point balls or resistance bands).
Footwear: Have you thought about the type of trainers you have, are they the most supportive for your foot type and gait. You may need to get a gait analysis to identify what shoes are suitable for you.
Orthotics (insoles): If you have PF, you may struggle with walking on hard surfaces, an insole can provide an extra bit of cushioning and take the pressure off when walking/running. If you are in-doubt it is best to speak to a podiatrist.
Make training adaptations: If you are training for an event it may mean that you have to cut back on your mileage or time spent running for a few weeks while your foot is inflamed. Speak to a coach or a sports therapist/physio who can help make a plan for you going forward based on your symptoms and current exercise routine.
At SV Sports Therapy we carry out gait assessments and assess, diagnose and treat those with Plantar Fasciitis Injuries. Get in touch today if this is you.
Look out for for Part.2 on Rehabilitation for Plantar Fasciitis.
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