If you can easily pronounce PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus, then you probably have or have had one of the more painful injuries linked to running, plantar fasciitis. This is an injury that causes pain in the foot arch and can afflict runners, walkers, and people who spend a lot of their day standing.
The injury can drag on for months and undermine your levels of fitness. Bruce Fordyce speaks of having had the injury and tells how it dragged on for ages and then disappeared one day as quickly as it had started.
The injury happens at the foot arch.
The best way of thinking about the foot arch is indeed to think of archery. In archery you have a bow with a string across that tensions the bow and gives it shape. Your foot arch is constructed in the same fashion. When you stand, the foot arch drops a little. Get it to drop repeatedly, and there is a chance that it can get angry with you.
Plantar fasciitis is a chronic irritation of the arch of the foot due to excessive strain. The ligament that supports your arch gets strained and ultimately tiny tears in the ligament appear. This leads to pain and swelling.
What does it feel like?
Many will find that their feet get more and more painful as they run or walk.
This can get worse during the day for people who stand a lot.
Many will feel pain as they stand up in the morning and will find that their feet feel very stiff and need to be walked out for a while.
If you have foot pain at night, you may have a different problem, such as arthritis, or a nerve problem such as tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Who is at risk?
The injury happens primarily to two types of feet. People with flat foot arches have arches that are too springy and thus flatten out too easily. People with high foot arches have a fascia that is very taught and thus absorbs too much weight as the foot comes down.
Things to look at:
Runners who Pronate.
Pronation is the excessive inward turning of the foot. Pronators with flat feet place a lot of strain on the fascia. There is a misconception in the sports industry that flat feet and pronation automatically go together. This is incorrect, and you need to have your rate of pronation accurately assessed. http://sbrsport.me/2013/01/19/a-look-at-pronation/
Runners who Underpronate which is also called Supination.
On the opposite end of the scale, those who supinate, or run on the outside of their feet, often have very high foot arches and stiff, club-like feet. The lack of suppleness in the foot means that the fascia is always under strain, thus increasing the chance of plantar fasciitis.
Tight Calves and Hamstrings.
Calf flexion and Hamstring flexion should be measured as you attempt to work out where the injury comes from. Both will increase the pressure that the body places on the foot during the landing phase of the run. A program of stretches should be initiated if this is the case. Remember your Superficial Back Line. It is all connected.
Forefoot strikers and heel strikers place a lot of strain on their feet. Do not believe all the press you read about forefoot landings. They place a lot of strain on both foot feet and calves. A midfoot landing is the healthiest of the lot.
Worn out shoes.
Worn out shoes can cause havoc, in that they can collapse on the inside, thereby allowing the foot to pronate more and reducing the support that they give the foot arch. There are also a number of new shoes on the market, that in my mind, do not support the foot arch and navicular bone as they should.
How is it treated?
You firstly need to find the cause. Only then can you look at the solution.
Basics of treatment.
Rest. Cut back on activities that hurt your foot.
You can take an over the counter anti-inflammatory. Have a chat with your pharmacist.
Get a new pair of shoes. Pick shoes with good arch support and a cushioned sole. We can help get you into the right shoe.
You can also go for a foot massage or massage your foot yourself by rolling the foot over a tennis ball.
Stop running, and cross train by increasing your cycling and swimming.
Get kinesiology tape applied regularly to your foot.
Get into good shoes as soon as possible in the morning. Walking barefoot in the morning or in slippers might aggravate the injury.
Hope this helps in your recovery. Give us a call if you feel we can help. Your starting point would be to book a Runners Leg Assessment with us.