Unfortunately, many runners experience plantar fasciitis at some time in their lives. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the band of tissue that connects the heel to the middle bones of the foot becomes inflamed. If prompt action is taken, this injury will heal without the need for surgery.
The first, and most common, symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain. Typically this will be on the underside of the heel, usually with a particular spot that is especially tender.
A characteristic of plantar fasciitis is that this pain is often worst first thing in the morning, and will reduce if the foot is rested. Stretching the sole of the foot, for example when you walk upstairs or go up on tip-toes, usually makes the pain worse.
This condition is quite common among runners, with women and the over-40s more susceptible. Other risk factors include:
- Sudden changes in mileage for runners or walkers
- Shoes with poor cushioning
- Sudden gains in weight or being overweight
- Achilles tendon tightness
However, it is also true that quite often there is often no apparent cause or precipitant. Treatment options vary, though most runners find that the most effective regime is to rigorously ice and stretch the arch of the foot, 4 to 5 times per day.
Other treatment options include:
- Resting the foot as much as possible - avoid running during recovery, switching to non-weight bearing exercise such as biking or swimming.
- Wearing shoes with cushioned heels and good arch support.
- Heel pads
- Painkillers - NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen) or painkillers such as Paracetamol