5. Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is the sister injury to achilles tendonitis. I believe they are very closely related in terms of their cause, progression and treatment.
Like achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis is largely due to overuse, whether in volume or intensity.
The root cause is inflamed fascia tissue in your foot, extending from your heel to your toes.
There are certain conditions that can make an individual more susceptible to this type of injury, such as natural pronation in foot strike, or chronically tight calves.
In my experience, there are warning signs with plantar fasciitis similar to achilles tendonitis, though the pain and onset can be more gradual.
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis are pain in the foot when walking, running, especially first thing in the morning when just getting out of bed.
This pain usually improves as your muscles and ligaments warm up and blood starts moving the area.
However, the pain can be intense as well, and extremely prohibitive. It is not advised to try and run through fasciitis for the problem will only continue to worsen with use.
Recovery and maintenance for plantar fasciitis is similar to what we’ve mentioned for many of the injuries in this article. The most important thing is rest.
Follow the R.I.C.E. protocol, and you should be back out there in no time, once the inflammation subsides.
When can I run again?
Don’t rush it. Take your time and make sure that your fascia is fully healed before attempting weight bearing exercise.
Since this can be a chronic issue, recovery time can range from a couple days to a week or more.
This is why it is critical to stay on top of and take preventative measures to reduce the chances of another period of inflammation.
Prevention for plantar fasciitis is all about staying ahead of any potential issues by having a good pre and post run routine.
In my experience, inflexibility and weakness are the primary contributing factors to the onset of plantar fasciitis.
Many of the shoes that we run in are filled with support features, that may or may not be beneficial for you and your unique foot strike.
These support shoes can do their job too well, by preventing any sort of flex in the arch. Overtime, this can result in an inflexible arch.
If this is you, be wary.
Take time before and after each run to roll out your arch with a golf ball, flex your toes, and stretch your arch, and do some calf raises to promote blood flow to the area. Then do some deep calf stretches to loosen the whole foot and lower leg up.
Like with achilles injuries, I recommend not wearing shoes with a lift for your everyday shoe, these may over time lead to shortened achilles, and when running result in unnecessary stress to the area.
I personally wear Nike Free’s for my everyday casual shoe, and in all honesty, since starting I’ve had minimal calf soreness and no issue with arch or heel pain.
Balancing exercises are also great for strengthening your lower leg and arch. I like to stand with one foot on a pillow and balance like that for 30-45 seconds at a time. I perform 3 sets on each leg. Give your arch a nice long stretch afterwards by pulling your toes towards your shin.