Next up in our series of articles on common sports injuries is Plantar Fasciitis. Claire Desroches, our resident personal trainer and sports massage therapists gives us the low down on this injury, the causes, symptons and treatments.
…So, over to Claire…..
“Anyone who runs regularly, or knows someone who does, is likely to have at least heard of plantar fasciitis. Despite affecting a part of the body we tend to pay relatively little attention to – the soles of your feet – it is one of the more debilitating conditions that you can develop.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation (“-itis”) of the band of connective tissue (“fascia”) that spans the sole of your foot (“plantar”). It is known as “bar stool syndrome” because people have been known to develop plantar fasciitis from repeatedly running their foot over the base of a bar stool – a pleasant enough self-massage at the time, but too aggressive for a sensitive yet inflexible tissue.
A common cause of plantar fasciitis is a sudden increase in training load; this could be taking up a new sport from scratch, or increasing the frequency, duration, or intensity of your training sessions.
Another cause is improper technique; in the case of running, this would mean inefficient biomechanics (e.g. weak arches, overpronation, or other muscular insufficiencies or imbalances). Inappropriate equipment can also affect technique and how your body handles training load; so running in shoes that are poorly fitted, offer inadequate support or cushioning, or on hard or unstable surfaces, can all contribute to causing plantar fasciitis.
Being overweight can also put strain on your feet and plantar fascia, especially if you gain weight quickly as your body doesn’t have an opportunity to adjust to the new weight.
The plantar fascia can also be acutely injured, but this is less common than inflammation through chronic overuse.
Typically, pain is felt towards the heel of the foot, but can also appear in the arch. It is usually a very sharp pain that is worse in the morning, and eases out after a few steps. Pain can also be felt when standing after a long period off your feet.
Plantar fasciitis really is one of those conditions that requires rest – and because of the area that is affected, this does mean being off your feet as much as possible while the tenderness subsides. When you are up and about, make sure it is in supportive shoes – no flip-flops!
You can reduce the pain and inflammation by applying ice to the sole of your foot – a lot of people enjoy using a chilled or frozen bottle to roll their foot on.
Massage will also help “stretch” and mobilise the sole of the foot and plantar fascia. Your therapist should also treat your calves and shins, as these being tight may contribute to the foot being overworked.
Beyond that, it is wise to investigate your footwear. If the plantar fasciitis arose from running or your usual sport, and you haven’t recently increased your training, it could be that your running trainers are not offering you the right level of support. Visit a specialist running shop, or a podiatrist, who will be able to recommend appropriate shoes.
Plantar fasciitis does not always occur in runners or people who exercise a lot; if you have plantar fasciitis from your normal everyday activities, you may also need to replace your shoes and/or talk to a podiatrist about getting an orthotic made to go in your shoes.
You may also benefit from doing some exercises or movements that help mobilise the plantar fascia (think scrunching up your toes to pull a towel in towards you), but it is best to check in with an osteopath, physiotherapist or podiatrist to make sure you are doing the right exercise for your particular condition.
Although you may not feel much or any pain whilst running, it is important that you avoid running or excessive walking until you wake up pain-free. “
So, if you think you might suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, do not hesitate to get in touch with us Ealing Fitness Clinic and get help from our resident osteopath and/or personal trainers.