PT Durham | Glenn Hill | Plantar fasciitis
Hey guys a big congrats to all of you who ran, jogged or walked earlier this month, in the worlds largest Half Marathon – The Great North Run (Million edition) many clients and friends took part this year. Myself and my partner where both supposed to but injuries stopped us both from attending.
This blog is all about one of the most common issues that faces runners and athletes.
Your training is going great and then you notice a pain developing in the sole of the foot (typically the front part of the heel, aka the calcaneus). It mostly hurts in the morning when you first get out of bed, and then may ease up after a while, but then you feel like you can’t walk for too long without feeling a lot of pain. This kind of pain should'nt be ignored. There are structures in your feet that play a huge role in getting you from point A to point B, so you must look after your precious feet if you don’t want to further agravate the injury.
What is Plantar Fascia?Plantar fascia is the thick band of tissue that covers the bones on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel bone to the toes, and creates the arch of your foot. When the plantar fascia is overstretched or overused, it becomes inflamed and causes heel and foot pain – at this point, it is known as Plantar Fasciitis (anytime you see the suffix -itis, it means “inflammation”).
Signs & Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
- Pain near the heel
- Pain with walking, or intense activity
- Pain that is relieved with rest
- Mild foot swelling or redness
- Tenderness, stiffness, and/or tightness in the arch of your foot
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Excessive pronation (feet roll inward too much)
- Shoes that don’t properly support your foot (old worn trainers)
- Improper running technique
- Walk, stand, or run for long periods of time – especially on hard surfaces
- Tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles
- Overuse, especially in athletes
The footwear you choose plays a huge role in how your feet will respond to your activities of daily life. Men’s business dress shoes are typically rigid and flat with little to no arch support. Women’s high heels shove the toes in such a small narrow space and keep the ankle in constant plantar flexion, putting strain on the fascia. Flip flops or sandals force the toes to repetitively curl and also cause muscle strain to the many intricate muscles in the bottom of the foot.
Plantar Fasciitis TreatmentThe #1 recommended treatment is rest. Plantar fasciitis can take 6 to 18 months to heal completely, and the more you push it, the longer it will take to heal. Additional treatment includes:
- Anti-inflammatory pain reliever
- Stretching – especially for the hip, calf, and toes. Best done when you first get up in the morning, and 2-3 times throughout the day.
- Proper fitting shoes for your foot-type. Many good running stores have equipment to fully analyze your foot and help determine what will provide you with the best support. I highly recommend my friends at Additionally, there are specialty “foot” stores and podiatrists who can assist you. Issues with your legs always get new trainers if yours are old, top tip.
- Night splints that allow a passive dorsiflexion stretching of the calf and plantar fascia during sleep.
- Acupuncture helps relieve the pain, decrease inflammation, and increase blood circulation to the feet.
- Corticosteroid injections help some people, but there is a potential risk of rupture of the plantar fascia, and fat pad atrophy (so, I do not advise using this option).
- Stretch, Every morning, and before and after you workout, stretch your calves with a wall or slant board stretch. Also, you can do a towel stretch pulling your toes toward you.
- Use a foot roller. Again – Roll a ball or can under your foot for some dynamic stretching (Hint, if you get a ball with some nodules on it you can get a nice foot massage while you’re stretching your foot!)
- Wear properly fitting shoes. I can’t stress this enough. Cheap shoes, and those that don’t provide proper support can do a LOT of damage. Runners should buy running shoes from a running shop.
- Massage the fascia attachment site near the heel. A cross-friction massage will help reduce soft tissue restrictions.
- Pace yourself properly with training progression . Make sure you don’t do too much too soon – especially as it relates to weight-bearing activities such as running. Increase your distance, time, and speed slowly to give your foot time to strengthen and adapt.
- Mix up your training – can be great training too-try cross fit or similar, but it puts pressure on different areas of the foot so no one area is overworked.
- Maintain/develop a healthy weight. Excess weight puts a lot of additional stress on your feet, and so many injuries, pain and problems stem from our feet.
If you run a lot or are planning to this is a biggie, look after yourself. Prep properly and have the correct footwear and equipment to limit lower limb issues. 9 out of 10 times with novices it's the WRONG footwear.
Glenn (15 years competative running) Hill
Personal Trainer Durham | Glenn Hill | 07983570574
182 front street Chester Le Street