Characterised by pain in the heel or arch of the foot, plantar fasciitis is a condition that derails many runners' training. If you have plantar fasciitis, you will probably notice that the pain is worst at the start of the morning or when you get up from sitting for a long time. Taking a break from running can help to reduce the pain, but unless you address the root cause it will probably come back. Here are some things you can do to banish plantar fasciitis for good so you can get your training back on track.
1. Stretch Your Calves
Many cases of plantar fasciitis result from chronically tight calf muscles. Wearing high-heeled shoes and spending a lot of time sitting can cause calf muscles to become very tight and short, which increases the strain on the plantar fascia when you walk or run.
To lengthen and loosen your calves, stretch them every morning and again after every run. The easiest way to stretch your calves is to stand facing a wall, take a long step back with one leg, and then lean your hands against the wall, bending the front knee and keeping the back leg straight with the heel on the ground. You should feel an intense stretch in the back of your lower leg.
2. Wear the Right Shoes
Shoes that are old and worn out do not provide enough support to protect your muscles and tendons when you run. If you have been wearing the same shoes for years, turn them over and take a look at the soles. If the tread pattern is visibly worn, it's time to treat yourself to a new pair of running shoes.
Many runners with plantar fasciitis overpronate when they run. This means that their foot rolls inward after landing, which increases stress on the plantar fascia. Running shoes with arch support help to prevent overpronation. When choosing new running shoes, it is always a good idea to get advice from an expert. Most running store employees will be happy to watch you run on a treadmill to see whether shoes help to correct your running form.
3. See a Podiatrist
Plantar fasciitis can be a stubborn condition that sometimes persists even when you are wearing the right shoes and stretching regularly. A podiatrist can take a look at your feet and work out why you are unable to shift the condition. They might prescribe custom orthotics to support your feet or give you exercises to do to strengthen some of the tiny stabilising muscles in the foot.
Don't let plantar fasciitis stop you training for your next race. Take action now to get rid of this annoying foot condition and return to full fitness.