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Runners on a wet road

Running and Plantar Fasciitis

With the Bridge to Brisbane only one month away we thought it would be worthwhile to shed some light on plantar fasciitis, one of the most common conditions we see in runners.

 

Just how common is plantar fasciitis?

 

The dreaded plantar fasciitis is the most common causes of heel pain within the running population, with over 10% of runners experiencing it across their running lifespan. Plantar fasciitis is even more common leading into events such as the Bridge to Brisbane as we see runners increasing their running and training loads to get ready for the big day. This sudden increase in training load can cause an overuse (overloading) of the plantar fascia leading to plantar fasciitis.

 

What causes plantar fasciitis?

 

There are many variables that can lead to plantar fasciitis in runners but by far the most common cause is mechanical overload. What is mechanical overload? Mechanical overload can be described as an inability of the plantar fascia tissue to support and hold the loads (forces) being applied to the structure during a specific activity. This mechanical overloading can be caused by one acute incident such as jumping from a height and landing causing an instant increase in load or it can be caused by a long term overuse and chronic overload such as an increase in training loads, poor footwear, strength insufficiencies and poor running techniques.

 

For further details on risk factors and how you can limit the effects of plantar fasciitis or other running related injuries, book your musculoskeletal assessment today!

 

What are the signs that you may have plantar fasciitis?

 

Plantar fasciitis usually presents with tenderness and pain directly under the heel and sometimes through the arch of the foot.

 

If you have plantar fasciitis you will usually experience:

  • Sharp pain through the heel first thing in the morning when taking your first couple of steps out of bed
  • Increased pain and discomfort during running, walking, climbing stairs and standing for long periods of time.
  • Your pain can fluctuate from day to day, meaning some days can be better than others for long durations.
  • Stiffness and pain at the start of your running or physical activities that tends to reduce as you warm up
  • Pain worsens with an increase in your running or training loads, this pain is usually experienced 24 hours post larger training loads

 

Will my pain get better?

 

The good news is yes! Plantar fasciitis can be a self limiting condition meaning it may get better over time. Although these timeframes can be chronic and lead to long term pain up to and over 12 months.

 

In our clinical experience plantar fasciitis can be resolved within 4-12 weeks if treated with care and the patient follows a strict rehabilitation plan.

 

How can I fix my plantar fasciitis faster?

 

Rehab of plantar fasciitis can be broken down into a few simple steps.

 

1. Reduce pain and inflammation:

This is usually achieved by decreasing or modifying loads being placed through the fascia. We can decrease tissue load by decreasing training volumes, taping the foot and ankle, placing you in the correct footwear and finally prescribe and orthotic device to enhance foot and limb mechanics. The use of ice, compression and mild mobilisation can also assist in this process.

 

2. Reintroducing load:

This is where we target the specific structures affected and prescribed a progressive exercise program with the aim to slowly increase the tissues capacity to hold for longer periods of time and become stronger than before. This is the most important step to both heal your plantar fasciitis but also stop it from returning.

 

3. Return to sport exercise:

As you progress through your loading program we will customise your exercises to become more explosive and more in tune with the movements and function of our running/sport. This will get you back running and performing better than ever.

 

4. Training load prescription:

This is the final step in your full recovery. You will be given a specific training program that monitors your training loads and progresses you towards your goals through a safe timeframe.

 

If you would like any more information about how to get on top of your heel pain or any other lower leg pain book online for your assessment today.

 

Make your move with Heal Sports Podiatry!

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