Plantar Fasciitis, a runner’s nightmare, can ruin your training for a long time if not diagnosed properly and treated quickly. This article from Dr. Marc Bochner, our partner on strength and injury prevention, provides great insight as to why runners develop this injury, how to prevent, diagnose and treat it effectively.
For acute pain, treatment should start with ice massage, which can help decrease any inflammation or swelling, and heel cushions, which can reduce contact pain when walking (put in both shoes to keep equal leg-lengths). Self-massage of the tight fascia, and arch or calf muscles can help. The arch can be done by rolling the foot on a golf ball for 20-60 seconds, especially first thing in the morning before getting out of bed, as the fascia usually shortens overnight. Stretching of the achilles and calf can be performed seated on the floor by using a towel to gently pull your foot towards you. Keeping your foot turned in slightly (supination) will reduce tension on the plantar fascia.
Office treatment of acute or chronic cases will involve using Active Release Technique to “free-up” the tightened fascia before serious scar tissue forms. The arch and calf muscles and any other muscle imbalances or joint restrictions must be treated. Electric stimulation and/or ultrasound can be used in the acute stage, to decrease pain and swelling. Stubborn cases may require use of a night splint, which keeps the fascia from tightening overnight and allows healing of the fibers. Finally, orthotics can stabilize an overpronating foot and relieve the pressure on the fascia’s insertion point, correcting the cause of the problem in some cases.
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