A blog by runners. For runners.

Running injuries: Dealing with Plantar Fasciitis

dealing-with-plantar-fasciitis

For the past 9 months, I’ve battled plantar fasciitis in both feet. When it first happened, my right foot hurt so badly I couldn’t walk for 3 days.

For those of you unaware of what plantar fasciitis is, lucky you! The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs along the sole of your foot from the base of your toes to your heel. Often, running can cause inflammation, tension or tiny tears in this tissue resulting in heel pain or pain that radiates through the arch of the foot. This pain is usually worse first thing in the morning, especially with your first few steps. Gradually, it will lessen as your foot loosens up.

After a few days of rest, my initial symptoms wore off but I was left with a lingering, dull, achy pain, often worse after a run. Not one to let an ailment hinder my running, I researched remedies for alleviating my plantar fasciitis pain. Below are a few of the tools and tricks I’ve used to find relief. Not all of them helped me but if you’re struggling with this issue maybe they’ll work for you.

  1. Stretch. Being a yoga teacher I always try to treat my ailments with stretching first. Here are a few of my favorite stretches for the feet. My foot pain generates in my arches so I personally find the yogi toe stretch most beneficial. I try to do this stretch at least twice a day for 30 seconds each time.
  2. arch-support-bandSupport. I noticed my plantar fasciitis worsened after teaching yoga classes day in and day out without any support for my feet. Because you can’t wear shoes in yoga classes I was happy to find these arch supports (pictured right). They are meant to provide support and stability for your arches while barefoot. They make my feet feel supported but I’m not sure how much else they help. If you have a job like mine or you spend a lot of time walking around without shoes on, feel free to give them a try. (Other arch support options: Strutz.)
  3. Massage. Many experts advocate deep tissue massage coupled with stretching. If you can’t get to a professional you can try at home massage. Videos like this one can help you get started, but heads up: this stretch plus pressure massage can be incredibly intense at first so ease into it.
  4. mini-foam-rollerRoll.  Out of everything I’ve tried I found a mini foam roller or “the stick” to be most helpful.  If you know the pain and release of foam rolling other parts of your body you’ll love this. It’s oh-so-lovely and painful all at once. Roll your foot along the tube stopping in any spots of tension a couple times a day. If you don’t want to buy this roller, you can also try using a golf ball, a small water bottle filled with ice, or even a rolling pin (just don’t use it on food later!).
  5. Rest. If all else fails, try resting your foot, icing it regularly, or taking an over the counter pain reliever. As always it’s good to consult your doctor if the pain doesn’t subside on its own.

I hope these tricks help give you some relief. If you have tips not mentioned above that work for you, please share them with us in the comments section below.

Written by Lisa Horvath.

Related: Yoga for your feet | Stretches to help Plantar Fasciitis