Plantar Fasciitis – A common runners/walkers injury

Today we hear from Jenny McPhail, one of our amazing ambassadors. She is also an accredited Exercise Scientist, personal trainer and doing her masters in clinical exercise physiology.Person running upstairsPlantar Fasciitis are two words most runners don’t want to hear. It’s a painful condition where even placing your feet down out of bed in the morning can be extremely painful and until you warm up you limp around without being to put much weight on your heel, or if your unlucky both heels. You can feel fine during a walk or run but afterwards, again once you cool down the pain can be terrible.

So what is this condition? How can we prevent it? And if we already have it, how can we help it?

The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that runs under the foot from the ball of the foot to the heel. These connective tissues main role is to connect the bones and joints, keep them in position and enables us to push off from the ground when we run, walk or jump. If we bruise or stretch this ligament it can become inflamed, causing pain around the heel.

Who is at risk of developing plantar fasciitis?

Those who are pregnant, overweight, wear poorly fitted shoes, middle aged or older, flat footed or high arched, have bone spurs, those who stand on hard surfaces for work and those who are regular runners or walkers. The good news is there are some simple exercises and stretches we can do to prevent the development of plantar fasciitis.

Prevention

Some simple things we can do to prevent plantar fasciitis are maintaining a healthy weight, wearing appropriate footwear (no worn out runners), warming up effectively before exercise, staying hydrated and allowing adequate recovery time between training sessions.

Some simple exercises that can help include calf stretches, achilles stretches, foam rolling of the calf and calf raises.

Treatment

There are a range of treatments available for plantar fasciitis including splints, socks, orthotics taping techniques and exercises.

If you are experiencing symptoms of plantar fasciitis it is always recommended to make an appointment with your physiotherapist to ensure that’s what the problem is in the first place. They can then utilise massage techniques to help loosen the tissues. They can then provide a strengthening program to aid in recovery and prevention of the condition reoccurring. For non-acute treatment and return to sport an exercise physiologist can work with you build and maintain strength to prevent reoccurring injury.

Important factors to remember

While going through therapy for plantar fasciitis it is still important to maintain fitness. This can be done via exercises that don’t trigger pain such as swimming, cycling or resistance-based activities. It is important to rest and recover from the injury but also to find an activity you can still do and enjoy until you are back on your feet again.

If you’d like to read more from Jenny head on over to her blog