Easy and effective ways to prevent plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a term that strikes fear in the hearts of distance runners of all ages and abilities. Most runners will experience the debilitating and nagging pain of plantars at some point in their career. One of the most persistent injuries that exists, plantars is made even worse by the fact that it gets more painful and harder to treat the longer you have it. Caused by an inflammation of the plantar fascia, where it connects the plantar tendon to either the heel bone or to the base of the toes, this is one of the most common overuse injuries every runner should try their best to avoid.
A mixture of choosing your gear wisely, paying attention to your running form, and adding certain stretches to your routine can help prevent developing an inflamed plantar fascia. Here are some quick tips you can implement right away.
The two F’s: Footwear and Form
Make sure to only run in the proper footwear for your foot type and gait and that your shoe has plenty of arch support. It can be hard to let go of that favorite pair but stay on top of replacing your running shoes when it’s time and do your best to never run in worn out shoes.
When it comes to your form, pay attention to your foot pronation and how you’re landing on each stride. Over pronation of the foot and running with a severe heel strike can both increase the odds of developing plantar fasciitis. Check out our blog post on tips for improving your running form to read a bit more about these form errors and how to fix them.
Preventing plantar fasciitis with stretching
Having tight calves and Achilles complex have shown to increase odds of developing plantars in runners. Stretching and rolling out calves after each run will help keep them loose. Here are two more stretches to add that can both help prevent and treat plantar fasciitis. According to this article, doing these once in the morning and an additional 2-3 times per day is ideal.
- Achilles tendon stretch – stand with your hands up against a wall with one foot behind the other pointing forward. Bend your front knee while keeping the back knee straight and heel down. Lean into the wall and hold.
- Plantar fascia stretch – sit down and put one heel on your knee. Pull your toes toward your shin until you feel a stretch in your arch and hold.
In addition to the tips above, there are some other things to remember that can help reduce your risk of developing plantars.
- Do your best to run on softer surfaces whenever you can
- Keep mileage increases to less than 10 percent per week
- Take rest days
- Wear supportive footwear even when you’re not running
- Roll the bottoms of your feet regularly after runs with your cold massage ball (The combination of ice therapy and massage will help inflammation and tightness)
Be diligent about following these tips and enjoy running injury free!