Unfortunately plantar fasciitis is a common injury for runners. It’s a condition that can not only affect your ability to get out and run but also degrade your everyday quality of life as every step causes pain and discomfort. This condition can take years to heal if not treated correctly. Let’s take look at how you get plantar fasciitis and what to do about it.
What causes plantar fasciitis? The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that runs from your heel to the base of your toes. This can become inflamed by overtraining, suddenly increasing your distance, wearing poorly fitted or unsuitable running shoes or having flat feet.
How do you know if you have plantar fasciitis? It often begins as a deep ache in the centre of the heel, or perhaps a stabbing pain. It may also show itself as a contracted or hobbled foot first thing in the morning. These tend to fade or disappear once the feet are warmed up during a run, but it can be deeply painful until that happens.
How common is plantar fasciitis? It’s quite common, with around 8% of people having some experience with the condition. It is most often found in runners that wear inappropriate footwear, but also can present in obese or otherwise sedentary people. Hard surfaces, infrequent movement and hard inflexible soles can all contribute.
How can I avoid plantar fasciitis? There are a few simple things you can do to avoid plantar fasciitis. Wear correct footwear, run on softer surfaces where available, and don’t push your new training distances by more than 10% increases each week. Stretching your feet muscles and Achilles tendon before running can also reduce the risk.
How can I reduce the pain of plantar fasciitis? As soon as you notice it, take action. If you leave it the pain will worsen. Ice the effected area, and make sure to wear supportive shoes even when you’re not running. Try rolling a golf ball underfoot to get some relief. Consider taping your Achilles tendon or investing in orthotics. Continue to stretch your feet before any running activities, or first thing every morning.
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