Runner’s Bane — Dealing with Plantar Fasciitis

A few years back, plantar fasciitis treatment used to be sought ought solely by hikers and climbers. However, lighter running shoes and the barefoot running phenomenon has made the condition quite well known in running circles. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most painful injuries you can get — and it could take years for you to fully recover.

Getting Injured

Most people realize they have plantar fasciitis when they take that first step out of bed and a stabbing sensation hits their heel. Shoes with insufficient protection, running barefoot, sprinting uphill, running more than you’re used to, and even weight training can increase your chances of injuring the ligaments in your foot. Plantar fasciitis accounts for close to 10 percent of all running injuries. The first few weeks can be very uncomfortable, but you can still walk or even run if you can get through the pain. Healing from the condition can take weeks or years, depending on the severity of your injuries, and some runners are so dissuaded by the injury that they stop running altogether.

Treatment

Anti-inflammatory medicine can tide you over the pain of your first day. Immediate treatment usually focuses on rest, calf stretches, massaging the heel and arch of the foot, and oral analgesics. If the pain remains unbearable, you might need to consult with a podiatrist. Your doctor can recommend taping your foot in a way to relieve stress from the injured ligaments. Specially-designed shoe inserts can also protect the arches of your feet, allowing you to move about while they heal. Your podiatrists can provide you with insoles or recommend over-the-counter insoles for you to purchase. Custom orthotics are a bit expensive and can take some time to produce. Over-the-counter insoles are less expensive and immediately available, but they might not be as effective. Serious runners will opt for custom orthotics to cut recovery time and ensure complete recovery. Your podiatrist might also recommend night splints to stretch out your arches during the night, reducing the pain of your first steps in the morning.

Prevention

Female runner jogging, training on stadium

Running shoes with adequate cushioning and arch support can minimize your risk of getting injured. Barefoot or minimalist running might seem badass; however, running with little to no foot protection increases your chances of getting injured. Most barefoot runners compensate for their lack of shoes by landing on the balls of their feet which could put stress on the plantar fascia, especially during long or uphill runs. Take time to build up your body’s stamina. Running a half marathon on your first outing might be too big of a task, and it can put a ton of stress on your body. Extra weight can also increase the risk of injuring your foot as well as other parts of your body. If you are weight training or bodybuilding, avoid strenuous calf exercises that tighten your calf muscles.

Plantar fasciitis won’t put an end to your running days. It is easily treated and there are measures you can take to minimize your chances of getting the injury.

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