As you begin ramping up your running in preparation for an upcoming race, triathlon or just general fitness, it is also the season for overuse injuries. One such injury is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis results from the breakdown of your arch which stretches a tissue called the Long Plantar Ligament. Unfortunately, this ligament is not elastic and therefore does not stretch. Rather, this tissue undergoes micro-tearing. Symptoms can reveal themselves as general arch pain, bottom of the heel pain or a gradual achiness which does not go away. If the first step out of bed in the morning elicits extreme pain, you more than likely have plantar fasciitis. Regardless, it is extremely important that you address these symptoms sooner, rather than later. The general rule: it will take twice as long for these types of injuries to heal as from the time you first experience symptoms until the time you first start your treatment. Rest, ice, gentle stretching and a break from training are your early treatment interventions. If, in your opinion, you have excessive arch breakdown (a.k.a pronation), a treadmill evaluation (biomechanical exam) can be done by The Foot Mechanic™. In many cases, an orthotic can be the answer. An orthotic is a device that replaces the liner in the bottom of your shoe and re-creates your arch, thereby returning your foot back to its “normal” mechanics. When choosing the proper orthotic, it is important to avoid over-the-counter (a.ka. retail) products as they are not custom to your feet.
Dr. Brett Purdom, DPT, ATC, CSCS
The Foot Mechanic™