Keep Running, Even with Plantar Fasciitis

The Runner.
The Runner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re a runner who experiences frequent heel pain, there’s a chance you could be suffering from plantar fasciitis. It can be extremely painful, but with proper treatment in your own home, there’s no reason you can’t keep running.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Sometimes referred to as Jogger’s heel, plantar fasciitis occurs as a result of straining the ligament that supports the arch of your foot. It can cause the ligament to become swollen, weak, and inflamed, making it difficult to stand or walk. Plantar fasciitis is most common in middle-aged people, but anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet, such as joggers who run on hard surfaces, can suffer from it as well.

What are the symptoms?

Plantar fasciitis is characterized by sharp pain in the heel that gets worse after putting weight on it after a period of rest. Those who suffer from it usually report that the pain is especially intense right as they get out of bed in the morning or after they’ve been sitting for a while. They also claim that it is especially difficult to bend their toes toward their shins due to the tightening of the Achilles tendon. Typically, the pain will begin to dull with continued movement.

If you believe you have plantar fasciitis, consult with a physician. After reviewing your medical history and a quick exam, medical professionals can usually diagnose plantar fasciitis without having to take X-rays. However, you may be asked to have X-rays taken in order to rule out any other causes for your heel pain.

How can it be treated?

20090403 - Clint's foot tape - GEDC0145
(Photo credit: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL))

Unfortunately, this injury can be stubborn. It can take over a year to straighten itself out without treatment, but you could be back to your old self in as little as six months if you stay positive and continue to treat your plantar fasciitis right at home. Physicians will recommend you simply stay off of your feet as much as possible, but if you’re passionate about running, this advice may not suit you. You should try to rest whenever you can, but there are other ways to treat this injury.

You can begin by strengthening and stretching your calf muscles. Tight calf muscles play a big part in the onset of plantar fasciitis, so exercising them will not only help treat the injury, but it will also aid in preventing a future one. You should also roll the arch of your foot over a soda can or a tennis ball to stretch your feet and the injured ligament, and exercise your toes by picking up small objects such as marbles.

Heat and cold are always easy, effective treatment plans for just about any injury, but be careful how you approach it. Try to avoid using only heat on your heel since that can make your symptoms worse. Use ice as much as possible to relieve the pain and reduce inflammation. If you plan on taking contrast baths, be sure to end it by soaking your foot in cold water.

Also, never underestimate the power of a good shoe. Find running shoes with the proper arch support for your foot and that aren’t too tight. And, even if they appear to be in excellent condition, replace your shoes after a year or so as they’ve likely lost most of their shock absorption.

Above all else, stay positive. Sometimes, plantar fasciitis seems like it’s here to stay, but that doesn’t mean you’ll need to give up running. Stay active and diligent in your home treatments, and you’ll be back in shape in no time.

Written by The Brace Shop

The Brace Shop is the fastest growing online orthopedic brace store in the USA. Since 1995, the Brace Shop has sold braces and other extremity products to millions of satisfied customers.

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