Whether you've had plantar fasciitis or have heard stories about the intense pain it can cause, you can do a lot to prevent it with proper running technique. By doing warm-up exercises, being reasonable about your workout goals and having the correct shoe, you'll minimize your chances of developing plantar fasciitis.
The chief cause of plantar fasciitis is damage to the plantar fascia, which is a ligament that stretches from your toes to your heel. One of its purposes is to distribute the force from running evenly over the entirety of the foot. However, it has a limit – putting too much force on your plantar fascia will create small tears in the ligament, which will become inflamed and cause the pain of plantar fasciitis. To prevent this, here's what runners need to know about their workouts.
Always Do Warm-Up Exercises Before Running, Especially Calf Raises
Warm-up exercises may be boring, but they're an important part of preventing plantar fasciitis. By stretching your connective tissue and increasing blood flow to the plantar fascia, you make it more pliable and more able to withstand the force of running.
Lightly jog for a few minutes before beginning to run at your normal pace to increase blood flow. You also need to do calf raises to stretch your calf muscles and make your plantar tendon more pliable – this prevents the plantar tendon from forcefully pulling on your plantar fascia while running.
Don't Increase Workout Intensity Too Quickly
While it's important to set goals in your running career, it's also important to be realistic about your ability to achieve them. Adding speed training to your running workout, increasing the amount of distance you run or adding more hill training will all increase the amount of stress you are placing on your plantar fascia.
When you increase the intensity of your runs too often and don't give your body time to adjust to the new pace or distance, you increase the risk of damaging your plantar fascia and developing plantar fasciitis. Follow training schedules set by experienced runners and listen to your own body – if you have pain on the bottom of your foot after a run, lower your intensity and give your body a chance to catch up.
Purchase a Shoe With Good Arch Support
When your foot strikes the ground during a run, the weight of your body places an enormous amount of force on it. A shoe with strong arch support helps to distribute this force evenly over the entire foot – this protects your plantar fascia by minimizing extreme forces it experiences. You can ask a sports podiatrist or a running store for shoe recommendations based on your gait and the shape of your foot in order to find the best shoe for you.
Avoid Heel Striking While Running
If your heel contacts the ground first when you run, you place an enormous amount of stress on both your plantar fascia and your plantar tendon. The ball of the foot and the arch are still in the air and cannot help absorb the weight of your body. This can lead rapidly to plantar fasciitis and can also contribute to bone spurs and shin splints. A running coach can assist you in modifying your gait to prevent heel striking.
Sometimes even the best attempts at prevention will fail. If you develop plantar fasciitis, make an appointment with a podiatrist, such as at Advanced Foot Clinic. Orthotics and hormone injections are available to reduce pain and speed the recovery process.