The 3 Big Questions Runners Have About Plantar Fasciitis

At TFC Podiatry, we are currently talking about Plantar Fasciitis. More specifically this week we are talking about plantar fasciitis in runners. Plantar Fasciitis generally presents as heel or arch pain, it usually only happens on one foot, but can occasionally happen on both feet a the sametime. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common reasons for running related injuries, at TFC Podiatry we see runners with plantar fasciitis every day in the clinic. 

 

In its early stages, runners tend to find pain that occurs after a run or first step after a period of resting. This pain is usually described as a tightness or a sharp pain underneath the heel. As the pain continues, it often gets worse without treatment. As plantar fasciitis gets worse we tend to see a few things happen: We find the pain often gets more intense, although people find it difficult it can be a good idea to give the pain a rating out of 10. This is useful when guiding treatment and rehab as well as tracking the severity of pain over time. In this rating system 10 is considered the worst pain imaginable and 1 is very mild pain. As the pain gets worse we also see more structures can get involved, usually when this happens we tend to hear runners talk about the pain feeling like it’s changed and often there may be pain overnight or the pain might feel like more of a cramping, burning or even shooting pain. This may show that there is pain occurring caused by compensation or inflammation of surrounding tissue.

 

Runners with plantar fasciitis often have a few questions when they attend a Podiatry appointment. Here are the 3 most common questions runners ask when they attend an appointment with one of our Podiatrists.

 

1: Can I keep training: More often than not, the answer to this question is yes. Runners are often surprised with the answer to this question, when the assessment is completed we look at the most efficient way to keep our runners fitness high while treating this condition. There are often some changes to running, quantity or quality but most runners can keep running. 

 

2: How long will the condition take to get better: This depends on how long the condition has been present for and is always hard to answer. Working towards a goal is usually the best way to help plan out training, pain and plantar fasciitis. When dealing with goals we can work at aiming to have your pain under control and your training load as high as possible that fits into your schedule. Although these have to be reasonable, runners are often amazed how the pain can be controlled and minimised in a relatively short period of time.

 

3: How do we get this better: Treatments for plantar fasciitis are always looking at addressing the reasons that the condition has developed that we call risk factors. These treatments can involve: Dry needling, Shockwave therapy, Strength and conditioning training, training modification, running gait training/ retraining, plantar fasciitis strapping, footwear changes or custom foot orthotics.