How to Prevent (and Recover from) Plantar Fasciitis
It’s one of the most common injuries and can become a nagging problem for runners. But what exactly is Plantar Fasciitis? And how can you treat it?
WHAT IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS?
The Plantar Fascia is the tissue that supports your arch during the stance phase of your running gait. When your foot is on the ground, your arch flattens and the fascia stretches — often beyond its limits. As a healing response, the fascia goes into recovery mode and becomes swollen. This inflammation causes pain and discomfort in the heel or arch of the foot. While people of all activity levels can develop plantar fasciitis, runners and busy people on their feet are especially susceptible to this affliction because of the repeated stress on the essential muscles of the foot.
IS IT PREVENTABLE?
Luckily, there are things you can do to avoid falling victim to the painful swelling of Plantar Fasciitis. Buying shoes from a running-specific store instead of a department store, will help you to find the right shoe that will provide adequate foot support. An added bonus in finding the right shoe for you, will also reduce the likelihood in developing other potential injuries to the back, hips, knees and ankles AND minimise the chance of developing bunions. Some people tend to inherit the use of orthotics (insoles) to help support their feet, however if the orthotics that aren’t designed for your body are inserted into your shoes, potential injuries may arise. It is always advised that you get assessed by your Osteopath or Podiatrist before implementing these into your regular footwear.
If you’re a keen runner then another prevention tactic may be to reduce your running stride. When runners over stride, the fascia is under maximal stretch and a short stride not only shortens the fascia, it also takes strain off the Achilles tendon and shin fascia — two other common places for running injuries. Your Osteopath and Foot Specialist will help you to determine if this change is appropriate for your running stride.
HOW TO TREAT IT?
Ice packs and anti-inflammatories can be used when the injury is particularly painful, such as after a run or first thing in the morning. To ease the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis on an ongoing basis, Osteopathic treatment can help you to get relief and reduce potential injuries in the future. You may require ankle and foot taping which we can teach you to do yourself, and will work with you to best manage the pain with home based exercises.
Plantar Fasciitis can be incredibly painful, especially for those logging long-distance runs, but with the right treatment and prevention methods, you’ll be running and walking easy — and pain-free — in no time.