Home Injuries

horizontal rule

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis causes pain on the bottom of the heel (the fascia is a flexible material extending from your heel bone to your metatarsal bones to which your toes are attached). The pain usually occurs after running but not during running, although some people have pain during running. It also occurs when you first get out of bed. This injury is aggravated by running on hard surfaces, by running on the balls of your feet during speed work or hills, and by excessive time in running. If you have plantar fasciitis, you'll feel pain on your heel, usually on the inside of the heel. To test for it, press on the middle of the heel (press with your thumb upwards towards the top of your foot). With heel spurs or bursitis, you'll feel pain when you press on the front of the heel, near the arch.

Persons with low arches are susceptible to plantar fasciitis due to insufficient shock absorption. Persons with high arches are susceptible due to a tight fascia.

Dr. Murray Weisenfeld, in his book The Runner's Repair Manual,, has several pages on injuries to the bottom of the foot, the arch, and the heel, including treatments you can do at home for plantar fasciitis. He describes a method of using adhesive tape to support your foot.

Dr. Gabe Merkin suggests stretching of your calf muscles.

The following article was written by Jason Schultz, a treatment specialist at www.Heel-That-Pain.com and is posted with his permission. His web site is www.plantar-fasciitis.org

Heel Pain Stopping You?

Many things can slow down your active lifestyle, but heel pain can definitely bring it to a stop. The most common form of heel pain in active people is known as Plantar Fasciitis (pronounced PLAN-tar fashee-EYE-tiss). It occurs when the long, flat ligament on the bottom of the foot (Plantar Fascia) stretches irregularly and develops small tears that cause the ligament to become inflamed. The pain is described as being dull aching or sharp and can be reproduced by flexing the toes upwards (dorsiflexion) and tensing the fascia.

 Although the fascia is invested with countless sturdy 'cables' of connective tissue called collagen fibers, it is certainly not immune to injury. In fact, about 5 to 10 per cent of all athletic injuries are inflammations of the fascia, an incidence rate that in the United States would produce about a million cases of plantar fasciitis per year, just among runners and joggers. Basketball players, tennis players, volleyballer�s, step-aerobics participants, and dancers are also prone to plantar problems, as are non-athletic people who spend a lot of time on their feet or suddenly become active after a long period of lethargy. A recent study found that over 50 per cent of people who suffer from plantar fasciitis are on their feet nearly all day.

Plantar Fasciitis usually develops gradually. Heel pain may only occur when taking the first steps after getting out of bed or when taking the first steps after sitting for a long period of time. If the plantar fascia ligament is not rested, the inflammation and heel pain will get worse. Other conditions or aggravating factors, such as the repetitive stress of walking, standing, running, or jumping, will contribute to the inflammation and pain. In some cases, the inflamed ligament may not heal because many people who have plantar fasciitis do not completely stop the aggravating activity.

In athletes, a number of factors are associated with development of plantar fasciitis. These factors can lead the athlete to change his or her gait (the way the feet strike the ground), which can cause symptoms and injury. Risk factors for athletes include:

bullet Biomechanical factors, such as decreased flexibility in the foot and ankle, imbalances in muscle strength (muscles in one leg or foot are weaker than the other), abnormal foot mechanics (when stepping down), and tightness in the Achilles tendon.
bullet The repetitive nature of sports activities and improper training.
bullet Rapidly increasing the number of miles run.
bullet Running on steep hills.
bullet Wearing running shoes that are worn out.
bullet  Wearing running shoes that do not have a cushioned sole or enough arch support.
bullet Abruptly changing the intensity or duration of the running routine.

The traditional remedies for plantar fasciitis include stretching the calf, massaging, decreasing one's training, losing weight, purchasing better-fitting shoes (with a raised heel and arch support), icing the sore heel, and taking ibuprofen.

Another treatment option, also known as one of the easiest, is using heel seats in your shoes. Heel seats pick up and re-stretch the plantar fascia, redistribute the heels natural fat pad, provide structural reinforcement to the foot, and apply acupressure to relieve the pain while your feet heal. You can find such heel seats through your podiatrist or at www.Heel-That-Pain.com.

In any case, when you feel pain, your body is trying to warn you that something is wrong. See a doctor or specialist at the first sign of pain. Treating problems early is key to a healthy lifestyle.
(posted with permission)

The information on this site is for informational purposes only; it does not constitute medical or physical therapy advice. For medical advice, consult a physician. For physical therapy advice, consult a physical therapist.

Home | Injuries | Preventing Injury | Tendonitis | Bursitis | Buttock Injury | Groin Pull | Heel Spurs | Plantar Fasciitis | Runner's Knee | Shin Splints | IT Band | Short Leg

horizontal rule

Web http://runninginjuryfree.org


If you would like to receive occasional notices about changes and additions to this site, send an email to Allen Leigh at the address given below and request that you be added to the email list for the Running Injury Free site. I respect your privacy, and your address will be used only for occasional notices and will not be given to anyone. Put Running in the Subject so my spam program won't delete your email.

The information in this site and in my podcasts is for informational purposes only; it does not constitute medical or physical therapy advice. For medical advice, consult a physician. For physical therapy advice, consult a physical therapist.

Copyright Allen W. Leigh 2003, 2007
All Rights Reserved