Plantar Fasciitis Treatment For Runners

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment For Runners

Plantar Fasciitis In Runners

In this post I have compiled extensive research to cover Plantar Fasciitis treatment for runners.

With my experience of having this problem for a number of months, I know just how frustrating it can be. I will explain what treatments helped me, along with a list of the best treatments available to get you back out on the trail.

Related post: The Frustration of Injury – Dealing with Running Setbacks

Plantar Fasciitis is a common injury not only in the running community, but in society as a whole. It is inflammation of the thick band of connective tissue under the foot called the plantar fascia.

Runner with tight calf muscle which can contribute to plantar fasciitis

What is its Function?

The plantar fascia runs along the bottom of your foot connecting the heel bone to your toes. It stabilises the arch of the foot and when running or walking it functions mainly during the “toe off” phase of the stride allowing flexion of the front of the foot.

 

What Does Plantar Fasciitis Feel Like?

Plantar Fasciitis typically feels like a stabbing/tearing pain in the bottom of the foot. The location of the pain can differ from person to person but in most cases is located anywhere from the arch area to the heel.

The pain can be at its worst with the first few steps after waking.  It can also be present when standing for long periods or after running or walking for periods.

 

Causes

When you are running, the plantar fascia acts like a shock absorber, supporting the arch of the foot. If the tension and stress on that area becomes too great, small micro-tears can arise in that stressed area. Repetitive tearing and stretching of the fascia then becomes inflamed to where the inflammation becomes quite sore and hard to walk or weight bear on.

It is important to be aware, as in many injury scenarios, that surrounding muscles can often play a significant role. Often a tight calf muscle and/or tight Achilles tendon will have a direct effect on the plantar fascia. As the calf muscle is tight and shortened it forces the plantar fascia to overcompensate in the flexion process.  Ultimately it becomes the weakest link and is what “gives” in the injury event.

With this in mind, part of plantar fasciitis treatment for runners will include therapy on these supportive areas.  I will go into this further down.

 

Other Factors Contributing to Plantar Fasciitis

Although plantar fasciitis can arise without an obvious cause, the factors that can increase your chances of developing it includes:

Sudden Increases in Mileage

Suddenly increasing your normal mileage by more than the 10% increase per week or going on a long run that is way over what your body is used to increases the chances of developing plantar fasciitis.

Poor Foot Structure

Being flat-footed, or having a collapsed arch from  hallux valgus (bunions). Also sometimes having high arches or having a running style that heavily loads the front of the foot (running too much on your toes).

Inappropriate Running Shoes

Every foot in the world is different. So when looking for the right shoes for you it is imperative that you get the right amount of support and good fit for your individual foot type.

If you are one of the low percentage of people that have very strong, structurally sound feet you are lucky and have a wider selection of shoes to choose from like minimalist shoes (if you want to).

But if you do not I would highly suggest a shoe with good support and strength through the arch and heel areas.

Overweight

Excess weight will put extra stress on your plantar fascia area.

Over Stretching Before Running

Some light stretching (once warmed up) before running can be good, but over stretching the calves or plantar fascia areas can result in micro-tears in the fascia before you go for a run. Then while running this area can become inflamed.

Being on Your Feet for Very Long Periods

Those who spend most of their days walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage their plantar fascia.

So How Do I Treat Plantar Fasciitis?

There are several approaches to plantar fasciitis treatment for runners. The first step is to be accurately diagnosed by a professional.

If you become aware of the situation in the early stages you could treat the area by icing and rubbing anti inflammatory cream on it 2-3 times each day. Try to keep off your feet with rest. When walking around make sure you wear comfortable supportive footwear especially with adequate arch support.

Orthotics/Innersoles

These are great for adding comfort and especially adding arch support if needed, The innersoles that come in most of the shoes you buy are very basic and are not adequate for some people.

Plantar Fasciitis Socks and Sock Sleeves

There are specially made socks or sock sleeves designed for plantar fasciitis suffers. I personally have used SB SOX sleeves and found them great for supporting the arch area. They can also be good if you are in the recovery stage and want support when walking around the house barefoot.

Check for a great price for SB SOX on AMAZON here

**For AMAZON AUSTRALIA click here

 

Night Splints

This is the main approach that helped me. By wearing a splint that stretches your calf and the arch of the foot while you sleep, it holds the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position and facilitates stretching.

By doing this at night when most of the bodies repairing is done, it heals in this stretched position. So when you stand on your foot in the morning you get minimal micro-tearing. As opposed to sleeping with the foot/plantar fascia in a flaccid, non-tensioned position, as soon as you stand in the morning you get re-tearing of any just healed areas.

This is why a lot of sufferers have the most amount of soreness when they get out of bed in the morning because of this re-tearing.

Now the splint I used was the Strassburg Sock and it is not the most comfortable thing to wear while sleeping, but you do get used to it (well I did anyway). And I was at the stage where I would try anything to get back to running.

Depending on the amount of damage to the area will determine how long you will need to wear it for. I wore mine for between 2-3 weeks and could see a definite improvement after 7 nights of use. But recovery will be different for everyone.

**Also for people that suffer from hallux valgus (bunions), I have found a night splint can help with this problem too.

Check for great prices on AMAZON here

** For AMAZON AUSTRALIA click here

Toe Corrector-

Check for great prices on AMAZON here

**For AMAZON AUSTRALIA click here

 

Physical Therapies

A physical therapist can instruct you with a series of exercises to stretch the Achillies Tendon (not the plantar fascia) and to strengthen lower leg muscles which stabilize your ankle and knees.

Here is a link that I found helpful in my rehabilitation process-

https://youtu.be/72p58Iy6u7M

Shockwave Therapy

This procedure directs sound waves into the problem area of the plantar fascia to stimulate blood flow and therefore healing. It is used when the more conservative treatments have not responded favourably. It might cause bruising, swelling, pain, numbness or tingling. Studies have shown promising results on many, but it is not consistently effective on everyone.

 

Summary

I hope that plantar fasciitis treatment for runners gives you a sound knowledge of what Plantar Fasciitis is and ways you can go about treating your specific problem.

Make sure you check out the YouTube link to Physical Therapist and Personal Trainer Jeff Cavalier for a great insight on how to treat and how the surrounding muscles closely tie in to this treatment.

If you have any questions or comments or what has worked for you, I would love to hear from you below.

Happy Running,

Andrew

30 thoughts on “Plantar Fasciitis Treatment For Runners

  1. First I like to say thanks for making people aware of plantar fascitis. This injury is no joke for those who don’t know. I’ve had it many times throughout the years. I’m glad that you gave some ways to help treat it. My choice would be the sock or sock sleeves. I feel as the restrictive support it would give my feet seems as if it would help a lot.

    1. Thanks for your comment Mahasin1. Yes it is certainly a frustrating injury that can affect people for a significant period if not managed properly.  I found the Strassburg sock worn at night particularly helpful for me but now also wear the sock sleeves on occasion as a preventative and supportive measure.

  2. Hi thanks for the post, there’s nothing worse then when you want to exercise and an injury slows your performance down and restricts you from reaching your goal. Although I don’t have this problem as such, it’s still an informative post and good to know there are products out there to reduce the strain and help you get back running again.

  3. What an interesting and informative article on plantar fasciitis!  I totally agree that restriction in other muscles of the leg can contribute to inflammation.  As a personal trainer I am often identifying weak or underfiring muscles that contribute to pain and inflammation somewhere else in the body.  I think you created a comprehensive list of factors that can contribute to this inflammation.  I personally have used night splints in the past helping to gently stretch the calf muscles while you sleep.  I have also found extra comfort and support from orthotics in the past.  The key to all movement is finding good posture and listening to your body.

    1. Thanks for your comments Stacy. Over the years I have come to learn the significance of surrounding and connecting muscles and how they affect each other. It makes so much sense now and I wish I had known this earlier on in my running life instead of just a “bandaid” fix for various issues.

      Glad to hear you have found relief with the night splint and the use of orthotics. So true about listening to your body! 

  4. I’m very grateful to have found this post and read it.  My mom suffered from this for a long time because we work 10 hours a day on our feet.  She ended up having to wear a boot to bed for a while and now has special insoles for all of her shoes.  The insoles seem to work wonders for her!

    It is nice to be able to read exactly what this is and what it feels like.  It helps me to understand how she felt when she was going through this so badly.  Thank you for your information.

    1. Hi Annie, so happy you found the article helpful. It is amazing how implementing a few small changes can have a big effect. 

      Glad to hear your Mom found some relief!

  5. Wow such a great resource for runners, especially those who has experienced plantar fasciitis. Running has become very popular so information such as this will be helpful to lots of people out there and I appreciate you sharing your experience with it. It’s good to know that this is a common injury. The stabbing and tearing feeling definitely can be debilitating. It looks like having the right shoes and not overdoing it is sound advice when it comes to limiting risks of developing plantar fasciitis. The SB SOX sleeves look pretty amazing and I like that they come in all different sizes. Also, the Strassburg Sock looks pretty outstanding as well for nighttime stretching. I know a few runners who has experienced plantar fasciitis and they will find as much value in this post as I have, so I will definitely share it with them. Great post, very informative. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks Pentrental, I really appreciate your comments.  I definitely don’t hesitate in recommending the Strassburg Sock as I had such a good outcome with it. Although I don’t wear them all the time, I find the sock sleeves great to wear on long runs or harder training sessions throughout the week.  They provide great extra support.

      Thanks again and happy running 🙂

  6. A very interesting post you have here concerning plantar fasciitis and surely, it is worth reading. Firstly, I think changing my running shoes would be the number one ideal thing to do for me because I just got diagnosed this week and seeing that you pointed out that the running shoe too can cause it. I figured maybe it is as a result of having old shoes. Thanks for the details here on how to treat it. It was worth of a read

    1. Hi Rodarrick, sorry to hear you have suffered with this condition. While having correctly fitting running shoes is very important long term, make sure you give yourself enough healing time and slowly ease back into it.  Remember to treat the surrounding muscles involved in the plantar fascia being over-stressed in the first place (stretching and massaging the calf muscle).

      Wishing you a speedy recovery, thanks for your comments 🙂

  7. Thanks for summarizing such amazing informations and for the precious explanations given.
    I have this problem because i play football 3 days per week. I started to get used to the pain and I didn’t know that exist this kind of socks . 

    I want to purchase them because you give me a confident reason. That’s why it is so important to keep blogs and sites like this, with straight to the point,extensive enough and proper information.

    I will take a recovery program and I hope this product will help me. Thanks a lot, i wish you good luck ! 

    1. Thanks for your comments Nimrodngy, I’m glad to hear the article was helpful.

      I hope you find the Strassburg Sock as effective as I did, it was a real lifesaver.  All the best with your recovery!

  8. Thanks alot for this post planter fasciitis  has been the major problem I face when I have any kind of exercises  most especially morning jog it’s very painful that it affects my sleep during the night but when I got those socks you mentioned  it really helps and most especially the one you wear to sleep,this is nice post that will help many people encountering  this kind of injury 

  9. Hi Andrew,

    I am not a runner but my work requires me to walk in heels 8 hours a day. At the end of the day, if I am up to it, will soak my feet in warm water. Else, just put my feet up. Do you think the sock sleeves will help my condition?

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Unfortunately wearing high heels for long periods will leave the calf in a shortened, contracted state. Then when the heels are taken off the calf muscle doesn’t have it’s normal “stretch” or length, which puts pressure on the “weakest link”, commonly the plantar fascia. This results in micro tears to the area, inflammation and pain. 

      Things that may be helpful include gentle, light stretching of the calf muscle several times a day and if possible taking the heels off at lunchtime (with stretching then also).

      I don’t think the sock sleeves would be beneficial while wearing the heels but after they come off they would provide support to the area (so after the day’s work). 

      The Strassburg sock would be overkill in your situation unless you have been specifically diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. Of course without being assessed, it could be another factor contributing to your aching feet – such as the increased loading on the forefoot due to the position heels put you in. 

      Hope this is of some help and you find relief! 

  10. Hello Andrew!

    There were times when I ran on longer distances, and also many times when I walked even longer.

    Now, by reading your article on plantar fasciitis, I think that also non-runners who walk instead on very long distances (like towards 100 miles, and my longest one was even longer) may experience the fasciitis pain, and I think I may have been through short episodes of Fasciitis myself after going in some long trips on foot. I was feeling some pain in the plant, but I can say it naturally healed within a short time, if I got pain in my plants it surely didn’t persist. And sometimes I was starting such a trip after a relatively long period of pause (however, I walk on foot on a daily basis).

    So there may exist even some milder forms of fasciitis, that don’t last much, depending also on our speed (walking vs running).

    Be healthy and have good luck at running!

    Peter

    1. Hi Peter, absolutely I think you are correct.  I recall a documentary on one man’s pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago where he was left unable to continue due to the condition and not being able to rest the area. 

      Plantar Fasciitis can go from mild micro-tears to significant ones with very painful inflammation. The key is building up slowly, allowing the body to adjust to new workloads and not neglecting the surrounding muscles involved.

      Thanks for your feedback it is much appreciated! 🙂

  11. Hello there thanks for pushing out this article, it would be of great help to everyone.i never knew anything about this plantar fasciitis but after reading this article I have discovered that.It stabilises the arch of the foot and when running or walking and also since The plantar fascia runs along the bottom of your foot connecting the heel bone to your toes it also serves as full body balance.

  12. The plantar fasciitis I have heard alot about this part of the body system especially the issues it cause when one injured in that region, since plantar fascia runs along the bottom of your foot connecting the heel bone to your toes then something like that cannot  be taking likely l.thanks enlighten us on the causes as you mentioned me make these mistakes every day and to some of us it’s already a life style.but with this knowledge we can adjust

  13. Hello Andrew. Thank you for sharing this article and help on Plantar Fasciitis Treatment for Runners. I haven’t heard of this term before now. Maybe I must have gotten this injury one point or the other in my life because I remember times that I have had this sharp pain like stabbing/tearing in my leg. Maybe it’s it. Good to know.

  14. I remember when I joined a friend for morning running, I was not really prepared so I did not go with a shoe (because I did not have running shoe). I put on slippers palm. One thing was I became very slow in my running and another thing is that I began to feel this pain like the way you described it. Thanks for sharing the solution for treatment.

    1. Hi Techie, sounds very possible especially with no warm-up and incorrect footwear. I hope you find some relief!

      Thanks for your comments 🙂

  15. Hi, Andrew.
    Thanks for sharing the information on Plantar Fasciitis. The words you used to describe pain reminded me of the same situation my daughter had before two months. As you rightly said, the injury must be accurately diagnosed by the professional. We wasted the initial three weeks in-home treatment and when the pain was unbearable we headed towards the doctor . I have noted down all your suggestions for future emergencies. Thanks.
    Warm Regards,
    Gaurav Gaur

    1. Hi Gaurav,

      Yes you are so right, correct diagnosis by a qualified professional is essential for the most optimal recovery. 

      Wishing your daughter a smooth and speedy recovery!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

PRIVACY POLICY