Plantar Fasciitis became a new word in my vocabulary when I was struck with it 2 months ago. Not knowing what it was, I ran through it for at least a month. My symptom was a very localized pain in my heel. Some days were better than others, but then came the day (after a particularly fast run that morning) when I couldn’t walk.
It was time to go to physio where I was diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis. I noticed that the pain started when I changed my running shoes to my new Nike LunarGlide’s. The physiotherapist told me that it shouldn’t have been caused by my running shoes, so I continued to wear them and run through it. After more research, I realized that I was advised wrong and that it very well could have been my runners. I no longer wear them but feel that my healing time is now greater because I was ill-advised. (I also no longer go to that physiotherapist.)
I went searching to find out what is plantar fasciitis? What I learned was that it refers to the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a broad, flat connective tissue that extends from the bottom of the heel (calcaneous) to the heads of the metatarsals. The function of the fascia is to support the arch area and keep it from collapsing under pressure. Unlike a tendon that has the ability to stretch and contract (like a rubber band), the plantar fascia has minimal elastic properties.
My next question was: What causes Plantar Fasciitis? Apparently the inflammation is due to micro tears (strains) in this tissue, which causes can be narrowed down to tight calf muscles, overuse, overpronation, high arches or fallen arches, which creates additional stretching and possibly tearing of the plantar fascia.
The symptoms include a pulling or tearing sensation in the arch or heel (in my case it is my heel). It is very localized and feels as if I have bruised my heel. It is particularly sore when I get up in the morning or I’ve been sitting for a while.
How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis?
Although no single treatment works best, stretching exercises are important to help lengthen the offending tendons and/or muscles. Stretching exercises are important to make these tendons and muscles more flexible. Recommended Plantar Fasciitis stretching exercises are calf stretches plus exercises that strengthen the muscles of the foot and ankle can also be helpful.
Other recommended treatments for plantar fasciitis are:
- Icing (freeze a water bottle and use it to roll your foot along)
- Orthodics, Inserts or Heel Lifts
- Night Splints
- Rest (no running)
- Wear supportive shoes (no barefeet)
The taping and icing have really helped me. I now have a new pair of running shoes, orthodics and the strassburg sock all on order. I am hopeful that they will all assist in my road to recovery and running again. In the meantime, I picked up the P90X am using my time to focus on getting my non-running muscles back into shape
Read the update on Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis, my recovery progress and what I have learned along the way.