Plantar Fasciitis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
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Dias Lopez et al, 2012 carried out a systematic review on the most common injuries in running. The study concluded that Plantar Fasciitis is the third most common running injury with an incidence rate of 4.5-10%. The other most common injuries are Shin Splints and Achilles Tendonitis.
Plantar Fasciitis in runners is caused by overloads such as a sudden increase in running volume or running speed. This may be combined with the introduction of hill training or changes in running footwear. The other main cause of Plantar Fasciitis in runners is a biomechanical overload such as poor pronation control of the foot or excess dorsiflexion through the running gait cycle.
We recommend taking the following steps to reduce your risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis from Running:
Plantar Fasciitis pain responds to loading such as walking, running, and standing. Therefore it is important to think about reducing the time on your feet and your step count on the days you run. When running, keep your pace and distance consistent as fluctuations in individual runs or your weekly total can make the pain worse. Aim for a cadence of at least 171 steps per minute and wear a cushioned, supportive trainer if you are a novice runner with Plantar Fasciitis.
Take at least 2 days of rest between runs or longer if the pain after your run hasn’t subsided. We recommended maintaining your cardiovascular fitness through cross-training such as rowing swimming and cycling.
We typically allocate patients into two categories: Plantar Fasciitis pain with all activities or mild Plantar Fasciitis pain with exercise only.
As a general guideline if you have pain immediately with walking that increases with activity then we advise not to run as it is likely to make the pain worse. If there is only pain when running or afterward, we recommend continuing to run as pain allows.
Short-term solutions to stopping your Plantar Fasciitis from hurting when you run are wearing cushioned trainers, keeping your step count above 171 steps per minute, and applying Plantar Fasciitis Taping or wearing Plantar Fasciitis Insoles.
After your run, we suggest stretching your Calf muscle and Plantar Fascia. For pain relief, you can numb the Plantar Fascia with ice for 5-10 minutes and try short frequent walks to reduce stiffness levels. Ultimately strengthening exercises under the guidance of a Physical Therapist will stop your Plantar Fasciitis pain when running in the long term.
If you have Plantar Fasciitis pain when you run that progressively becomes worse throughout your run then it is likely to make the condition worse overall and decrease your chances of resolving your symptoms.
However, if you are seeing a Physical Therapist for rehabilitation and you have mild pain when you run that returns back to its baseline level within 24 hours then running is unlikely to make your Plantar Fasciitis worse.
Clinically, we generally recommend to our patients that they can return to running after Plantar Fasciitis once they are pain-free with daily activities. We usually progress onto a hopping and plyometric protocol alongside their strengthening exercises and if this is pain-free, they can commence a graded return to run protocol.
We would not recommend running a marathon with Plantar Fasciitis. Doing this is likely to make the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis worse, prolong recovery time and make the condition harder to rehabilitate.
This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.