I’ve got one week to go before I officially begin training for Maratona di Roma. I’ve decided to stick with a Hal Higdon 16 week plan but incorporated Asics frontrunner sub 4-hour alternating hill, interval, and tempo work every 3rd-weekday run. Also, I plan to do strength and core training, yoga and cross-training 1-2 times a week.
After celebrating an amazing Birthday spent in Paris this past weekend with my boyfriend and best friend, I attempted a couple of detox runs this week.
I got in a 10k on Monday with no problem and did an easy 3 miler yesterday but felt the start of some minor left inner heel aching. And the worst part was it actually felt better running than after and upon waking first thing this morning! Ugh, I knew my symptoms were mimicking plantar fasciitis and I want to get treatment started quickly with training looming over me.
Runners, in particular, but also everyday people can experience plantar fasciitis. It’s notorious for being stubborn and ultimately can persist for months or even years. However, if caught quickly you can eliminate the pain and continue running or normal day to day tasks.
I’ll help you figure out the signs and symptoms of plantar fasciitis so you can detect it earlier to begin treating faster. If you are one of those who’ve had the pain chronically, you will want to seek out a medical professional as your problem may be tendinopathy, bone spur, mechanical dysfunction, another diagnosis like posterior tibialis tendonitis that may need additional medical attention.
What is plantar fasciitis?
The plantar fascia consists of a thick band of fibers along the bottom of the foot that runs from the base of the heel to the metatarsal heads. It functions to support the arches of the foot with the “windlass mechanism” by absorbing weight and forces which ultimately assists with propulsion.
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the fascia, usually described as a sharp or stabbing pain that typically occurs first thing in the morning with your first few steps. Pain is felt at the base of the heel or along the arch. It can often hurt the first few steps with other high impact activities like running but may subside as the activity continues. Also, poorly supported foot ware may lead to additional pain.
Plantar fasciitis can be a common problem for everyone, from athletes to those who are overweight and lead sedentary lifestyles, but the cause can vary from individuals.
Some thoughts as to what causes plantar fasciitis are restricted ankle range of motion, decreased calf flexibility, increased weight, increased time spent on feet, increased high impact activities, and poorly supported shoes can all be culprits.
What can I do to start treating plantar fasciitis?
Remembering the quicker you respond to treating the pain the faster the recovery with a stubborn injury like plantar fasciitis. The following steps can be begun at home before seeking a medical professional.
1. Reduce activities that cause pain, duh.
2. Start by wearing comfortable shoes with some cushioning and arch support.
3. Ice the painful area several times a day. I’ve always recommended freezing a small paper cup (like a Dixie cup) or a freezing plastic water bottle so you can massage your arch at the same time as icing.
6. Strengthening to build up the arch can be done, as long as they do not reproduce pain. They should be performed one time per day, building up to 3 sets of 10 reps.
7. Balance exercises to promote improving the body’s sense of awareness of its center of gravity and enhance foot and ankle stability. They should be performed progressively with shoes on a solid surface to dynamic surface to shoes off, to eyes closed for one time per day with 3 sets of 30-second holds.
Additional costlier treatments may include: low-Dye taping, over-the-counter orthotics, or wearing a night splint or a Strassburg Sock but I suggest speaking to a medical professional who can analyze your case to help direct you. Getting a gait or running analysis performed can also help find biomechanical faults or inefficiencies that may be leading to repetitive wear and tear.