One of the most persistent and ever-present injuries among runners and full-time athletes is plantar fasciitis. Also called the “runners’ heel”, it is basically described as the swelling of plantar fascia, a strong band that spans from the heel to the tip of the toes. This will result to frequent mild pains in the heel area since the tissue experiences excessive stretching and strain.
For runners and athletes, stress and impact on the feet are just normal, so they tend to ignore the condition of their feet, especially the heel. Plantar fasciitis is usually caused by a drastic increase in training intensity or running mileage and duration, as well as a sudden change in types of footwear or shoes. Similarly, choosing the wrong kind of running and training shoes immensely contributes to the development of the injury. Wearing a pair of shoes excessively and performing strenuous training can also lead to this condition.
Those who are physically active should always take note of their running parameters and training routines and techniques to avoid this common injury. Changing the starting speed and rushing warm-ups may shock and pressure foot ligaments. Such problem may also arise from the abrupt switching of footwork and extreme workouts. However, these physical activities are not the sole causes of the swelling of the tissue. Those who are born with high and low arches are at a disadvantage, since they also become more susceptible to this injury.
Running and training with plantar fasciitis will cause some modifications and changes on the athletes’ running and training practices and routines. A re-evaluation and modification on the athlete’s training is usually necessary to avoid aggravating the condition. Usually, rest is highly recommended to promote the healing of the tissue. This means that there will be shortened duration of workout, less frequent trainings and number of sessions, and a decline in training intensity.
Additionally, there should be proper preparation, which include warm-ups and stretching exercises. It is also crucial to check the condition of the shoes before executing toilsome physical activities. Athletes should also avoid shoes that are flexible and bendable in the center; they should opt for shoes that provide support and adequate cushioning to the arches of the feet.
Similarly, stretching and warm-up routines should be given attention. One recommended practice is the calf stretching exercise that reduces stress on the plantar tissue and the tightness on the heel bone and muscles that often trigger the over-pronation of the foot. Strengthening muscles by performing toe curls are also deemed effective in firming the arches.
Icing after running can also be helpful as it masks the pain felt after engaging in a demanding physical activity. Cooling therapy on the feet reduces the swelling and tissue breakdown, as well as inducing the return of faster blood flow in the area.
All those mentioned conservative and reactive measures can control the inflammation of the plantar fascia in due time. The athletes should give extra care and attention to this injury or else it would prohibit them from the things they are most passionate of, such as sports. Running and training with plantar fasciitis is still possible as long they show the same determination they have in the sport to recover from the fascial problem.