Thursday, December 3, 2015

Running with plantar fasciitis, you can get better and keep running!

Plantar fasciitis or heel pain is a real bugger to have for anyone, but when you are a runner it is 1,000
times worse.  I speak from experience.  This summer I began to run 4-5 times a week and increased my mileage to about 4 miles a run after a month or two.  Running is one of my favorite activities to do now, other than playing with my children and hanging out with my husband!  A year ago I would have never said those words about running.

After the second month of running, it happened, I got out of bed one morning and felt the very familiar stabbing pain on the bottom of my foot, known as plantar fasciitis.  I couldn't believe that I, a podiatrist, would get what so many of my patients come in to have treated. The good news was I immediately knew what I had and I started to treat myself. Below I have wrote my steps down for other runners who may be experiencing the same problem and would like some simple advice.  My one disclaimer is, if you do not know if you have plantar fasciitis, I would recommend seeing a foot doctor before you start a treatment program. There is a small possibility of a stress fracture in the heel bone

It is also important to note, that from August until November, I experienced some symptoms on and off of the heel pain.  I continued to run and on some occasions increased my mileage.  The running , I believe was not the source of aggravation of my plantar fasciitis, the resting after running and lack of stretching were the biggest culprits!

Step 1: Stretch
Your calf muscle is a big powerful muscle group of the lower extremity.  This is also a muscle group that does the majority of work when you are running below the knee.  This muscle group plays a huge role in pro pulsing you forward with each step while you are running.  These muscles need extra attention or they will let you know they are not happy with you.  I have included the perfectly illustrated stretching exercises you should be doing before and after running and maybe two other times a day.  Also, purchasing a night splint is a nice way to get  static extended stretch while you are resting, watching TV or sleeping.   Another great tool for a deeper stretch is using a Pro-stretch.
Step 2: Ice
Icing is really important to help calm down plantar fasciitis, especially when you are continuing to run.  I always say get a 20oz bottle of water and freeze it.  Roll it under your foot for 10 minutes 2 or three times a day.  Giving you a deep stretch and ice it a great natural anti-inflammatory. This is quick, easy & very worth it for the plantar fascia. Other devices are sold kit that can help you get a deep stretch and freeze a foam roller in a Thera-band kit.      
Step 3: No Barefoot and Good shoes
Going barefoot when you have plantar fasciitis is a killer.  I always tell patient they have to have something on your feet while you are walking around even in the house.  A great alternative is a spenco flip flop.  They have a little bit of a built in support in the arch.  Sneakers really are the gold standard to help you get better, as long as they are in good condition.  Sometimes you have to ditch your dress shoes for 4-6 weeks to give good supportive care. Many sneaker have built in support in the arch too. Asics are one of my favorite running shoes for support in the arch.  Just remember that the more miles you put on  a week the quicker you will need to replace your shoe, no matter how great they are, probably every 3-5 months.  Running 3-5 miles 4 times a week I replaced my sneakers after 2 months.  If you have new shoes and just feel like you need more support I would recommend superfeet, spenco or power step over the counter inserts. If you were to go see a podiatrist, they would most likely recommend one of these over the counter inserts.

If you are a runner and have plantar fasciitis, running is usually fine to continue but remember to STRETCH, ICE, & GOOD SUPPORT are the keys to keep you running and help you get better!


  1. I have found that high powered laser therapy is amazing for plantar fasciitis I have it on the professional and college levels with excellent results

  2. Frozen water bottle definitely works!