Plantar Fasciitis – two words to strike fear into every keen runner!

It is no exaggeration to say every runner fears it, and if you have ever had it, you will know exactly know why.  This heel pain can stop you dead in your tracks, literally. And it can do so for weeks or months if it doesn’t heal properly.

So what is this debilitating condition?

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The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects the heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot and can get irritated and inflamed, so much so that it hurts to walk or even just to stand.

Plantar fasciitis typically comes on slowly, it creeps up on you. So pay attention and you may be able to identify it, act properly and prevent it.

Here are three strategies to beat what is often known as ‘Jogger’s Heel’.

1. Stand on your mid-foot

Find the mid-foot

Imagine a tripod on the bottom of your shoe. The first point is more or less below your big toe, the second point beneath your little toe (spanning the widest part of your foot) and the third point at the forward part of your heel.

You will be able to wiggle your toes, and slightly lift your heel.

Aim to stand on the tripod every day

Do this all day, with equal weight on each point.

If you have a high arch, you’ll like have more weight on the outsides of your feet, and if you have flat feet, your weight will tend to collapse in.

Notice where you stand throughout the day

Catch yourself and pay attention. Are you on your heels?  Clenching your toes? On the outside or inside of your feet?  Find your tripod, wiggle your toes, and relax your feet.

plantar fasciitis treatment_22. Roll out your feet and legs

Use a tennis ball, spiky ball or lacrosse ball to roll out your feet while sitting at your desk throughout the day, or spend time each night rolling out each foot.

Foam rolling your shins and calves can also help release tension in your feet.  Take ten minutes each night to roll your legs and feet. You will feel the benefit.

3. Shoes

Pay attention to the shoes you wear.

This might be obvious but it is so important and something perhaps not enough people take seriously enough. If shoes fit OK and are reasonably comfortable “they will do”.

It’s not so simple! Can you feel your tripod?

Ideally you want to be able to feel the ground.  You don’t want shoes to pinch or squeeze your feet. Find shoes with a toe box wide enough to allow your toes to wiggle and your feet to spread.

Limit the time that you spend in high heels. They might look great and elevate you a few inches, but they are never any good for you feet. If you can, rotate the shoes that you wear every so often.

Always pay attention to your body. If you notice pain in your feet, adjust your foot strike – don’t just assume it will go away. Wiggle your toes. REST. Relax.

Stop plantar fasciitis in its tracks, before it even has a chance and stops you!

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