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To Run or Not to Run?

Posted in Preventative Tips, Health & Fitness, Conditions & Treatment

To Run or Not to Run?

Did you know Plantar Fasciitis, also known as Runner’s Heel, affects about 10 percent of runners?

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis, one of the most common types of heel pain is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a ligament that connects your heel bone to your foot. For runners this could be caused by over training, overuse, and improper footwear.

Runners with this type of heel pain can sometimes have trouble for months, or even years, before full resolution.  It can be hard to find shoes that make it feel better, rather than worse.  This is why it is better to catch and treat it early!

What does Plantar Fasciitis Feel Like?

  • Sharp, stabbing pain with the first few steps in the morning.
  • It will hurt worst at the start of a run, then ease up once you are warmed up.
  • It may then get worse at the end of a run, or after, and is often worse in less supportive shoes and when barefoot.
  • The arch may hurt after a long day on your feet, particularly in unsupportive footwear.

Tips and Precautions

  • Rest! Give your feet a break and try to limit activities that make your foot hurt until inflammation has gone down.   This is often harder than it seems in our daily lives. If only we could walk on our hands!
  • Protect! Prevent further strain on the plantar fascia.  Consider taping, orthotic inserts, night splints, and smart footwear choices (avoid low support, flat shoes).
  • Treat the inflammation!  To reduce swelling and pain, ice your heel. Try freezing a water bottle and rolling it back and forth under your foot for 5-10 minutes a few times a day, particularly after a walk/ or run.
  • Stretch! Regular calf stretching is a key element to most plantar fasciitis treatment programs. (Several times a day: 1-2 sets of 2-3 repetitions of 30 second stretches).
  • When returning to regular activities, remember to stretch, start slowly and progress your way back up.
  • Extra treatments that have proven successful:  massage to fascia/calf, acupuncture/dry needling to calf, extracorporeal shockwave therapy to arch/heel, steroid injections, etc.

When Can I Resume Running?

  • That will ultimately depend on your running history, training schedule/deadlines, and the extent of your injury.
  • Dangers lie in pushing yourself too hard too soon, as much as being too cautious, then jumping right back in when you are pain free.
  • Seek additional advice if you are unsure.
  • Continue your calf stretches far beyond the absence of pain and resuming running, to help stave off future injuries and training road blocks!

Our Physiotherapists Can Help

If you are having trouble with foot pain, contact us to schedule an assessment with one of our physiotherapists. We can help you take the next step on your recovery journey!

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