Put simply, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia band, a thick layer of tissue on the sole of the foot. It’s a common condition that affects athletes of all disciplines. However, it’s so common to runners that it’s nicknamed “runner’s heel”.
It’s generally caused by overuse or poor footwear while training but plantar fasciitis can affect any runner at any skill level. So don’t be fooled into thinking that being a regular runner makes you immune to this injury. The all-important question for runners is: can I run with plantar fasciitis? Here’s our take on it.
Running with plantar fasciitis
We empathise with the urge to continue running despite an injury, but often it’s best to allow your injury to heal before hitting the proverbial road again.
That being said, there are cases where you’ll be able to run whilst suffering from plantar fasciitis. It may even help you to strengthen your foot and protect you in the long run. To answer the question directly: it depends. It comes down to how much pain you’re in and how advanced you are as a runner.
The amount of pain you’re in as a result of plantar fasciitis is a strong indicator of whether or not you should be running before it’s healed. Essentially, if the pain is bearable and you’re able to run, then run. If, however, you’re in a lot of pain and running is a real struggle, then you should stop immediately to prevent further damage to your foot. Severe pain is probably indicative of damage.
Form and fitness
Your level and experience also play a part in deciding whether it’s a good idea for you to run with plantar fasciitis. Perhaps counterintuitively, we recommend that experienced runners should actually refrain from running. Take a few days of rest and allow your foot to recuperate.
If you’re an experienced runner, it’s likely that you haven’t taken any considerable time away from running in a while. It’s also likely that your typical running regime is quite strenuous, and this will only serve to exacerbate the problem. Consider a different form of exercise, such as swimming – one that doesn’t put strain on your feet – to help maintain your cardio and stamina.
Once your plantar fasciitis symptoms have subsided, slowly start to incorporate running into your exercise routine again. But be careful not to do too much too quickly or you’ll end up causing further injury.
If your pain isn’t so bad, you’re in a better position to continue to run. Take it very slowly and alternate between walking and gentle jogging. You can slowly build up strength in your feet and lower legs, so long as your plantar fasciitis symptoms don’t intensify.
As a novice runner, taking a long break from exercise may prevent you from getting back into running in the future, so we recommend maintaining this new routine unless your injury physically prevents you from doing so. That being said, listen to your body and don’t overdo it. As soon as the pain increases, stop running and rest until your symptoms subside.
Protect yourself while running with plantar fasciitis
If you decide that you’re able to run while suffering from plantar fasciitis, it’s important to take precautions so as to minimise your risk of aggravating your injury. An easy way to do this is to use an orthotic insert, such as sports insoles. They’ll help to absorb impact from the floor.
Thanks to D3O technology that cushions your feet with every step, our insoles also position your feet correctly so that you don’t end up overcompensating as a result of your injury and causing further damage. Poor form is a common cause of running injuries but an orthotic insert will help to keep you on the right track.
This article is intended as a guide. We can’t speak for your particular conditions. Only you know how much pain you’re in and how experienced you are as a runner.
For more advice on dealing with plantar fasciitis or any other running-related injury, visit our injury advice page. It’s a good rule of thumb to consult a medical professional or sports therapist if you have an injury that persists for more than a few days and interferes with your training.