For those of you that have never experienced plantar fasciitis (PF), consider yourself very lucky! While I don’t have it now, I have had it in the past and it’s no laughing matter. I still find myself doing foot exercises to ward off a potential recurrence.
What exactly IS plantar fasciitis?
As runners, we often hear the word “plantar fasciitis” tossed around casually in conversation—usually from a disgruntled runner who is currently out of commission.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia—the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes. When it gets inflamed, it hurts REALLY bad. It kind of feels like someone is taking a knife and stabbing the arch of your foot repeatedly. Definitely not a pleasant feeling.
How do you develop plantar fasciitis?
- You stand on your feet (or run!) for long periods of time.
- Your shoes are not properly fitted or they are too old.
- Your feet pronate inward.
- You have very high arches or flat feet.
How do you get rid of plantar fasciitis?
The frustrating thing about PF is that the fastest way to get rid of it is to rest. Your first step should be to stop (or at the very least, drastically reduce) the activity that is aggravating the plantar fasciitis. You can ice the bottoms of your feet, in addition to taking an anti-inflammatory medication like Motrin.
As a runner, you should also make sure that you are wearing the right running shoe for your foot. Try visiting your local running store and having them watch you run. They will be able to help make sure you are wearing the right shoe. Also make sure that your shoes are not past their expiration date.
What can you do to prevent plantar fasciitis?
One of the things I like to do to decrease tightness in my plantar fascia is to roll a golf ball (you can also use a tennis ball) under my feet. Hear me out—it actually feels really good!
- Make sure you are wearing the right shoes (see above).
- Resist the urge to do too much too soon when starting an exercise program—increase gradually.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Regularly stretch your Achilles tendon—a tight Achilles can make you more prone to developing plantar fasciitis.
Have you ever had plantar faciitis? How did you treat it?