Plantar fasciitis is a common orthopedic condition that affects many runners. Your plantar fascia is the band that connects your heel to the base of your toes and supports the arch of your foot. Over time, strain on the plantar fascia causes microtears in the ligament which can cause weakening and pain.
Not all plantar fasciitis is caused by running, but the repetitive motions and impact of jogging and running can lead to injury and strain. Common causes of plantar fasciitis in runners include:
- Suddenly increasing the frequency or intensity of your runs. This can overwork the ligament and cause microtears that result in plantar fasciitis pain.
- Wearing worn-out running shoes. Always purchase good quality shoes and remember to replace them every 300-500 miles or when the soles appear worn down.
- Changing the surface you’re running on. Switching to concrete or asphalt running trails will result in an increased shock to your feet, causing stress and pain in the plantar fascia.
- Skipping stretching before and after runs. Tight Achilles tendons can contribute to the pain of plantar fasciitis.
Should I Stop Running with Plantar Fasciitis?
This is a common question we get from runners, and the answer depends on a lot of factors. If you’re trying to lose weight or increase your exercise routine, you may have started jogging or running. The sudden increased pressure and strain on your feet can lead to many problems, including plantar fasciitis. If you’re just starting out, it’s likely you’re only experiencing minor strain to the plantar fascia, and a few days of rest along with intermittent icing and stretching will help reduce inflammation and pain.
Experienced runners who have been putting a lot of wear and tear on their plantar fascia over time may experience more moderate or severe pain. In that case, a few days of rest will not be enough to let symptoms subside. Your foot and ankle provider may recommend that you discontinue running for an extended period of time.
How to Continue Running with Plantar Fasciitis
If you are a runner who is experiencing plantar fasciitis, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to continue safely running with plantar fasciitis.
Regularly stretching your legs, calves, and feet can help prevent and alleviate heel pain. It’s important to do some calf-warming exercises before you start your run. Try some calf raises and ankle circles to loosen things up. Don’t forget to stretch between runs as well. Keeping your Achilles tendon and calf muscles flexible will help reduce pain and allow for better movement.
Inflammation is a symptom of plantar fasciitis that can be alleviated with periods of icing and elevation. After a run, use an ice pack wrapped in a towel and place it on the bottom of your foot. Never place ice or an ice pack directly against the skin. Leave in place for 10-15 minutes and ice again later in the day or evening if you’re still experiencing discomfort.
The best thing you can do to stop the pain of plantar fasciitis and allow the plantar fascia to heel is to rest properly between runs. This may require additional steps such as icing or mean lengthening the time between runs. Listen to your body and only run when it does not cause you pain.
Meet with your foot and ankle provider to learn the best methods for taping your foot and ankle to support the arch and lessen the strain on the plantar fascia. Taping also increases blood flow and provides gentle compression in the areas where swelling may occur.
Varying your Workout
It can be very frustrating to have to discontinue running, but it’s better to take some time away from it than to do lasting damage to your feet that prevents you from running again in the future. Try varying your workout to include non-weight-bearing activities such as water aerobics, elliptical, rowing, or cycling.
In the end, running with plantar fasciitis can be done. It’s all about taking it easy, paying attention to the signs and symptoms, and seeing your podiatrist immediately when severe foot or heel pain does occur.Leave a reply