How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis – a Common Running Injury

Plantar Fasciitis

It is almost spring time and many runners will be ramping up their running mileage in preparation for spring and summer running races! Take a couple of minutes to read this blog post to learn about ways to prevent a painful and irritating condition called plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is a common running related injury and is often caused by excessive running, wearing the wrong type of shoe while running, wearing shoes that are too old and worn out while running, or building up running mileage too quickly. Plantar fasciitis involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.

Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms:

  • Pain and tenderness in the sole of the foot, mostly under the heel bone, with standing, running or walking.
  • Particularly noticeable sharp, stabbing pain with the first steps when getting out of bed in the morning or after sitting.

How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis:

  • Wear appropriate shoes with good arch support during your activity but also during your day to day life.
  • Go to a specialty running store to purchase your running shoes.  The store can measure your foot and help you find the perfect shoe for your foot and activity and mileage.
  • Make stretching and flexibility exercises part of your daily running routine concentrating on the bottom of the foot, calf, and hamstring.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to warm up and stretch your calf and foot before beginning your activity.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – this will help  to decrease the stress placed on the plantar fascia.
  • If you start feeling pain in your heel, consult your physician right away.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options:

Plantar Fasciitis is typically treated with rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy.  The physician may prescribe the patient to wear splints or braces on the feet at night while sleeping to keep the foot flexed and plantar fascia stretched through the night.  The doctor may also recommend custom made orthotics that provides the appropriate arch support for the patient.

Plantar Fasciitis treatment tips for runners:

  • Reduce your running schedule by 25%-75% until the injury has time to heal.  You can substitute other endurance activities such as cycling or swimming.  These activities are great cross training substitutes for running.
  • Massage your foot. Place a frozen water bottle or tennis ball under your foot and roll it back and forth for several minutes.

 About the Authors:

About Amadeus Mason, MD

Dr. Amadeus Mason

Dr. Mason is an assistant professor in the Orthopaedics and Family Medicine departments at Emory University. He is board certified in Sports Medicine with a special interest in track and field, running injuries and exercise testing. He has been trained in diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound, and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection. Dr. Mason is Team Physician for USA Track and Field and the National Scholastic Sports Foundation Track and Field and Cross Country meets, Tucker High School, and Georgia Tech Track and Field.

Dr. Mason is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the America Road Racing Medical Society, and the USA Track and Field Sports Medicine and Science Committee. He has been invited to be a resident physician at the US Olympic Training Center, a Sports Medicine consultant in his homeland of Jamaica and the Chief Medical Officer at multiple USA Track and Field international competitions. He has also been a frequently featured guest CNN’s fit nation commenting on a wide variety of topics related to athletics and running injuries. Dr. Mason attended Princeton University and was Captain of the track team.

Dr. Mason is an active member of the Atlanta running community. He attended Princeton University and was Captain of the track team. His other sports interests include soccer, college basketball and football, and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). A Decatur resident, he is married with three children.

About Rami Calis, DPM

Dr. Rami Calis
Dr. Calis is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) in the Department of Orthopaedics at Emory Healthcare. He specializes in foot and ankle injuries and conditions including arthritis, diabetic foot, plantar fasciitis, ulcer, wound care, custom orthotics, and foot and ankle biomechanics.  Dr. Calis started practicing at the Emory Orthopaedics and Spine Center in 2003.

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