Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is the thick fibrous tissue that covers the sole of the foot, starting from the heel and inserting into the toes, it plays an important role in supporting the arch of the foot and providing shock absorption during weight bearing activities. Plantar fasciitis is an overuse condition of the plantar fascia which is common in runners as a lot of load is transferred through the tissue. When this load becomes more than the tissue can handle the collagen formation which makes up the fascia becomes disrupted and will start to break down causing pain, so it is not actually an inflammatory condition which is a common misconception.

Symptoms

Pain will usually have a gradual onset and is normally felt at the heel but can also be through the arch of the foot. Initially pain can be worst first thing in the morning and decrease with weight bearing activity so running can still be relatively pain free but the ache will increase afterwards. As the condition progresses the pain may become worse during running and with general weight bearing activities.

Causes

As this condition is caused by overuse, variables which cause overload to the plantar fascia are behind its onset. These variables include a rapid increase in training mileage or intensity, training on hard surfaces, wearing poorly fitted or over worn footwear and biomechanical issues. Biomechanical issues which may predispose this condition are having very low or high arches, excess pronation, weaknesses at the hip and tight Calves/Achilles.


Prevention and Treatment

Prevention and treatment of plantar fascitis involves addressing the cause/s of the condition. Do not ignore any early warning signs or symptoms as once this condition takes hold it can be quite persistent and becomes more difficult to treat the longer it goes on.

At any sign of pain get straight onto self management by icing and massaging through the sole of your foot with a golf ball to relieve tightness through the fasica, stretch/self massage your calves, modify your training load and ensure you are wearing updated and the most supportive running shoes for your foot type.

If your pain persists for more than a week despite make sure you book in with a Front Runner Physiotherapist who can assess you to identify the causes of your pain and provide you with the most appropriate treatment which may include taping, soft tissue release techniques and stretching/strengthening exercises.

Prevention is the best treatment which is the same for any musculoskeletal injury so make sure that you are training smart, your footwear is updated when mileage limit is reached, avoid always training on hard surfaces such as roads and the track and have a regular stretching routine including calf stretches.

Other Running Injury info:

  1. Plantar Fasciitis
  2. Achilles tendinopathy
  3. Patello-femoral pain syndrome
  4. Patella tendinopathy
  5. Calf Strains

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