Plantar fasciitis is a nasty and common running injury. A seriously no fun thing to face, PF is something all runners dread but luckily, it is 100% preventable. Learn more about what PF is, how it happens and how to treat it by reading on!
What: Plantar fasciitis (PF) is the most common source of heel pain in runners new and old. It is the result of inflammation in the thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to the rest of your foot.
Cause: PF is cause by inflammation of the plantar fascia as it rounds the heel bone. These tissues, the plantar fascia, are a support for the arch of your foot and act like a shock absorber when the foot lands. If they become overworked, the results are inflammation and tenderness. Drastically increasing mileage and worn out shoes are common causes. People who are overweight, who have weak feet, poor movement mechanics or wear shoes without enough support are especially at risk.
Symptoms: Plantar fasciitis is characterized by a sharp stabbing pain in the foot with the first movements of your day. The pain will then usually subside or ease once the foot has warmed up. PF pain can resume when you stand for a long period of time or when you stand up from sitting or lying down. This injury can limit the amount of running, jumping, walking and dancing you are able to tolerate.
Treatments: Anti-inflammatories, rest and ice are good treatments. Orthotics and surgical options exist for those who have unbearable pain. Those paths should only be taken in very extreme cases of completely collapsed or permanently damaged plantar fascia. An important part of any treatment plan is determining the cause of your plantar fasciitis. Work with a physical therapist or certified coach to ensure you don’t become re-injured.
Recovery: Prevention is the best way to treat PF. Be sure spending time barefoot, foam rolling and regular foot, ankle and lower leg strength and mobility exercises are part of your training plan. You’ll want to build stronger arches, more flexible ankles and looser Achilles tendons that are less likely to become inflamed during the recovery phase. If you do come down with plantar fasciitis, recovery can be a long road. Work with a coach or therapist to find the treatment plan that works best for you.