Runners often experience an irritation of the plantar fascia where it attaches to the heel bone and runs along the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis can also be caused by biomechanical flaws, including flat, feet with high arches and a tight Achilles tendon. Excessive pronation and sudden increases in training mileage as well as the running shoe and the running surfaces can cause the foot injury.
Runners may be able to continue their routine by making adjustments to treat the root cause of the injury. For some, continuing your normal running routine may actually cause further damage to the plantar fasciitis ligament, worsening the condition.
Preventing & Treating Plantar Fasciitis
Treating any injury starts with accurately assessing the extent of the condition. The absence or presence of acute pain may not necessarily determine the extent of the injury. Don’t risk further injury, if pain is present for more than a few weeks make an appointment with your podiatrist or physical therapist to examine the injury.
Treat your heel or foot pain by resting for a few days while stretching your feet to test the extent of the injury. Worn or non-supportive shoes may be a contributing factor to your plantar fasciitis. Carefully consider all contributing factors from your running shoes to the mechanics of your foot strike and the intensity of your workouts.
Massage both feet regardless if the pain is in just one foot (roll a golf ball under your foot) and apply ice (roll a frozen bottle of water under your foot).
Achilles Tendon Stretch: Stand with your affected foot behind your healthy one. Point the toes of the back foot toward the heel of the front foot, and lean into a wall. Bend the front knee and keep the back knee straight, heel firmly planted on the floor.
Plantar Fascia Stretch: Sit down, and place the foot with heel pain across your knee. Using the hand on the side affected by plantar fasciitis, pull your toes back toward your shin until you feel a stretch in your arch. Run your thumb along your foot—you should feel tension.