You wake up and it’s a splendid day outside. You stretch and stand up to take your first steps of the day; a stabbing pain cripples the bottom of your foot and you limp a couple more steps. After walking a little bit more, the pain dulls and you assume everything is ok. But later on that afternoon, you stand up after a prolonged sitting period and the same pain manifests. You wonder what in the world may be wrong with you, well, wonder no more because you just might be suffering from a condition known as plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot (the plantar fascia). It is actually a plethora of microscopic tears that have accumulated over time. If you do not treat this, it can cause a host of other problems, including knee problems. As with any medical condition, you should see a doctor to confirm that this is what you have. Now, however, is not the time to give up on your marathon dreams. Plantar fasciitis can be helped by a variety of different techniques.
As with most injuries, it is recommended that you ice the area for ten to fifteen minutes at least twice a day. Plantar fasciitis and running are usually intertwined—which means that long distance running, especially if you run downhill or on uneven ground may be to blame. The first step to fix this should be new shoes or insoles. A normal running shoe is built to take about 100-300 miles over its lifetime. Have you had your favourite running shoe for ten years? It’s time to part with the old and embrace the new. You should be looking for a shoe that has the right mix of cushioning and support. This might mean that you have to spend more for a pair of running shoes than you usually would. In the long run, spending an extra $40 will be worth it for your feet. There are also a variety of insoles that are can help with plantar fasciitis and running. That doesn’t mean that this alone will solve your plantar fasciitis: this condition didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be cured overnight.
Along with icing, you should also be stretching this tendon. When you wake up in the morning, it might be helpful to stretch before you get out of bed. While sitting on the edge of the bed, roll a tubular device (such as a cold water bottle or a tennis ball) in the arch of your foot. Apply pressure until the affected area feels a slight discomfort and then continue to roll the object with your foot. There are a number of other exercises that your doctor can prescribe.
Treatment can take anywhere from several months to two years, so it is important to take care of foot pain early on. Plantar fasciitis and running can be combined however. With proper rest and stretching, you will be back on your feet and running in no time. In addition to overuse, there are many other causes that may be to blame. If you had had sudden weight gain, flat feet, high arches, or a tight Achilles tendon, these can all cause plantar fasciitis as well. It is most common in active men aged forty to seventy.
If you are training for a marathon and are concerned about plantar fasciitis and running, you should make sure that your calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and ankle are all loose and well stretched. You should also make sure that your shoes offer the correct amount of support for your foot. Even though plantar fasciitis is a detour on your training for a marathon, it is not the end of the road. With a variety of simple steps, you will be back and running in no time.