Because there are so many causes, and every person is different, plantar fasciitis symptoms and severity vary from one person to another. Some runners are able to continue their regular running routine with the help of good footwear, supportive shoe insoles, RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and other coping techniques. Others need complete rest in order to recover. In this article, we discuss 12 questions you should keep in mind when deciding whether to run or not to run with plantar fasciitis. Read on to learn more.
1. How Severe Is Your Pain?
If you are experiencing significant pain, don’t run. It’s as simple as that. Give yourself a break. Use RICE technique, take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) and practice gentle stretching and massage to help your injury heal. If you don’t get significant relief within a couple of days, see your doctor.
2. How Often Do You Experience Plantar Fasciitis?
If you are a regular, experienced runner who has occasional bouts of this malady, you may be able to detect it while it is still very mild. Don’t push it. Take a short break, use RICE and remember to use your foam roller to break up tension in your legs and calves.
While you are taking a break, examine your running shoes to be certain they are not worn or broken down. If they are, take a trip to the shoe store to replace them. Add shoe inserts as needed. When you return to running, take it easy at first.
3. Are You Giving Your Arches Extra Support?
Choosing the right shoes and orthotic devices will give your arches extra support and cushioning and keep your feet properly aligned. This contributes to a nice even gait and prevention of plantar fasciitis.
Taping the soles of your feet can also help add very precise, pinpointed support. Athletic tape is an excellent tool that can provide extra support to your heels and arches, improve blood circulation and keep inflammation and swelling under control. Talk with your doctor to learn the right technique for effective taping.
4. Have You Just Started Running?
Taking it easy is also a good idea if you are a new runner. If your body is not used to running, injury is likely (including plantar fasciitis). Start off slowly. Try alternating walking with light jogging.
Alternating your workout from one day to the next is also a good idea. Do some weight training one day and walk/run the next day. This will give your feet time to recover and gain strength.
If you do develop foot pain, use RICE protocol and return gradually to your newfound running practice.
5. What Are You Doing To Prevent Heel Pain?
Remember that plantar fasciitis is marked by heel pain. Taking steps to prevent it can also prevent this painful arch problem. Be sure your running shoes have a deep, supportive, padded heel cup and plenty of arch support to help absorb shock and keep your heels and feet firmly aligned. This can help prevent fallen arches and subsequent heel spurs.
All of these simple exercises work together to stretch your hip flexors, loosen your calf muscles and make your feet more flexible and less prone to injury.
In addition to performing these exercises, start your run slowly. Begin by walking then move into a trot or jog before sprinting or running.
7. Do You Cool Down?
After a run, it’s smart to do a “warm up in reverse”. During the last leg of your run, slow the pace a bit. Come into the home stretch at a slow jog and then a walk. Do all of the exercises and stretches you used to warm up as an effective cool down. This is another great way to prevent running injuries of all sorts.
8. Do you think RICE is only for injuries?
The RICE protocol is the go-to for finding quick, natural relief for all sorts of exercise related injuries and inflammation, but you don’t have to wait until you’re hurt to enjoy this effective therapy. Resting, icing, wrapping and elevating your feet feels good and is good for you at the end of any hard day and especially after a run. For quick, easy application, treat yourself to a pair of Ice Therapy Slippers that you can keep in the freezer.
9. Are You Taking Good Care Of Your Feet?
Injuries to the skin can affect your gait, and an uneven gait can cause plantar fasciitis.
Remember that running puts a lot of pressure on your feet, and you’ll need to provide them with good, overall care to keep them in shape.
In addition to exercising and stretching your feet and giving the joints, ligaments and muscles proper rest, you must also take care of the outside of your feet.
Keep the skin well moisturized by applying a good moisturizer after a foot soak, bath or shower. Moisturize your feet before you put on your running socks and shoes, too. Put a shake of medicated foot powder in your socks to help prevent excessive moisture and friction, which can cause blisters.
Keeping the skin on your feet healthy helps prevent injuries caused by dry skin rubbing against the insides of your shoes.
10. Are You Choosing The Best Running Surfaces?
Whenever you can, run on a standard track with a properly cushioned surface. If running in the community, avoid cement as its hard, unyielding surface is jarring and damaging to all your joints and ligaments and can greatly contribute to plantar fascia problems.
Rocky, uneven surfaces will also cause foot and ankle injuries. Smooth, tended, grassy areas provide a good surface. If you have the choice of asphalt over cement, choose asphalt.
11. Are You Doing The Right Things To Correct Plantar Fasciitis?
Exercise and the right shoes can really help correct this problem. Additionally, adding a night splint to your arsenal of health care equipment can be extremely effective. A plantar fascia night splint will gently hold your foot in a position that stretches and straightens the plantar fascia as you sleep. This results in a reduction of pain and quicker healing.
12. What If You Get Plantar Fasciitis, Anyway?
Even if you wear good shoes, warm up, rest, ice and elevate your feet and generally take good care of yourself, you may develop this problem. If it happens, take a break and see your doctor for good advice and helpful therapy.