Common questions about Plantar Fasciitis

11 May 2011 - posted by Formthotics HQ

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an injury to the tendon (the plantar fascia) which is a band of fibrous tissue which supports the arch. This tendon is flexible but not elastic. When it becomes inflamed at its attachment to the heel bone this results in pain on the bottom of the heel and sometimes also under the arch of the foot. The pain is often described as feeling “like a stone bruise”. It’s on set is usually gradual and it is often worst in the morning or after sitting for long periods. 

plantar faciitis running

Who suffers from plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a very common overuse injury found in runners. Because running puts more strain on the feet than many other activities, it is typical for runners to experience foot or leg pain, including plantar fasciitis. Others who may be at risk are people who work jobs that require them to stand or walk for hours at a time. Sudden weight gain, including pregnancy, can also cause plantar fasciitis.

Should I be running with plantar fasciitis?

Once you have had your problem diagnosed by a podiatrist, you can begin taking steps towards recovery. Resting your feet is the first step to recovery as running with plantar fasciitis will only exacerbate the problem. Even if pain is only mild, reduce the amount of time you spend running. Remember that even if you do not feel much pain running with plantar fasciitis, the pain will increase once you stop.

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

Often, the most effective way to treat plantar fasciitis is with orthotics. With arch support, your plantar fascia will no longer be over-stressed with weight. Rather, your weight will be dispersed evenly across the bottom of your foot. Plantar fasciitis typically requires between six to eight weeks of treatment before full recovery. Fortunately, the recovery rate is very high especially when dealt with early, so a full recovery is likely.

How is plantar fasciitis prevented?

To avoid the pain of plantar fasciitis, you can take steps to prevent it. The same orthotics that are used to treat existing injury can also prevent future strains by ensuring your body’s weight is distributed evenly. By keeping excessive weight off the plantar fascia, orthotics prevent overuse of the tendon.

Stretching before and after you run or exercise will also help, as overly tight calf muscles can contribute to plantar fasciitis. If possible, try running on softer, more malleable surfaces. Consider dirt trails instead of sidewalks as these terrains put less strain on any one part of your foot.