Plantar fasciitis is a common overuse injury among runners, characterized by inflammation or irritation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes. It is often associated with pain at the bottom of the heel and along the arch of the foot, particularly during the push-off phase of the running stride. The discomfort is typically most severe in the morning after getting out of bed.
Physical therapy can play a crucial role in the prevention and management of plantar fasciitis in runners. It may involve exercises focused on strengthening the calf and small foot muscles, as well as stretching the plantar fascia and calf muscles to alleviate the aches associated with the condition. Additionally, physical therapists can provide guidance on proper footwear, arch support, and running techniques to address poor running mechanics that may contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.
While running with plantar fasciitis is possible in mild cases, it is important to listen to the body and seek advice from a doctor or physical therapist to assess the cause of the symptoms and develop a comprehensive plan to resolve them. In more severe cases, running should be avoided to prevent exacerbating the condition and to allow for proper healing. Cross-training and low-impact activities such as swimming, biking, or rowing may be recommended as alternatives to running to minimize discomfort from plantar fasciitis.
SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES
- Pain Profile: Typically, there's a sharp pain when you first stand in the morning or after resting. The discomfort can increase after long periods of walking or running.
- Common Causes: Overuse and improper foot mechanics are major causes. Running too much or on hard surfaces like concrete can worsen it. Runners with flat feet, high arches, or tight calves are more prone to it.
TREATMENT AND PREVENTION
- Immediate Actions: Rest, ice your foot, and stretch.
- Footwear Adjustments: Orthotics or shoes designed for plantar fasciitis can help.
- Physical Therapy: A therapist can guide you in exercises to improve foot mechanics and prevent further issues.
- Surgery as a Last Resort: In severe cases, surgery might be necessary, but it's usually the final option after trying other treatments.
In summary, plantar fasciitis is a common and painful condition for runners, caused by repetitive strain. Treatment involves rest, proper footwear, and possibly physical therapy. With appropriate care and prevention strategies, runners can overcome this challenge and continue their training and races pain-free.
PLANTAR FASCIITIS FAQs
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis in runners include:
- Pain: Pain is the most common symptom of plantar fasciitis in runners. It is typically felt at the bottom of the heel and along the arch of the foot, and it may be most severe in the morning after getting out of bed.
- Tenderness: The affected area may be tender to the touch, particularly at the insertion point of the plantar fascia on the heel bone.
- Calf Tightness: Runners with plantar fasciitis may experience tightness in the calf muscles, which can contribute to the development of the condition.
- Decreased Ankle Range of Motion: Runners with plantar fasciitis may experience a decrease in ankle range of motion, which can affect their running mechanics and contribute to the development of the condition.
- Swelling: In some cases, runners with plantar fasciitis may experience swelling at the heel.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention and rest the affected area to prevent further injury. A physical therapist can provide guidance on appropriate exercises and stretches to help alleviate symptoms and prevent future injuries.