At TFC Podiatry in Yarraville we get runners in the clinic every day who report pain in the bottom of the heel. Runners experience pain in the bottom of the heel for a number of reasons, however the most common reason is Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis in runners usually occurs when something changes suddenly with training. These changes can be changes in training load, footwear changes, running surface changes or lifestyle changes outside of running. By taking a full history from a runner, the practitioner will get to understand if any changes have been made and fit this into the clinical picture of runners with plantar fasciitis.
As Podiatrists, when we see a runner with plantar fasciitis we always look for the “why?”. Identifying the reason that this pain has started is often a great place to start looking at how to get it better. We often look for the reasons why as risk factors for the condition, these risk factors are identified during a biomechanical assessment. A biomechanical assessment is a way of describing an assessment of the way someone’s body moves. During a biomechanical assessment, we will get you to walk and run on a treadmill and use video gait analysis to analyse the way you move. We will also check the movement, strength and quality of the structures in your foot and ankle.
With this knowledge combined with a thorough history of your running, your Podiatrist will have a much more clear understanding of the reason this problem has started and will be able to move forward in treatment much more confidently.
Runners with Plantar fasciitis often try resting before attending the clinic. At TFC Podiatry we understand that although resting from running can help your pain and is sometimes necessary to help healing. Resting from running means losing conditioning for running which can be detrimental for running. We find that outcomes are usually better if plantar fasciitis pain can be controlled while still maintaining a relatively normal training load. We usually try to control this pain to be less than 5/10 during or after exercise although this can vary depending on the patient.
For some cases, we use pain relief techniques to allow a continuation of pain free/ less painful running while treatment is occuring. Plantar fasciitis is a soft tissue injury, once treatment has commenced pain should be well controlled within the first few weeks. However the condition usually hangs around for 3-6 months and some level of treatment may be required at home during this time to help prevent the problem from recurring.
Treatments for runners with plantar fasciitis are usually based around the risk factors identified during the biomechanical assessment. Treatments that we often use at TFC Podiatry include
- Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)
- Dry Needling
- Custom Foot Orthotics
- Stregnthening and conditioning
- Footwear recommendations
- Training plan modifications