Most Common Running Injuries: Part 2 of 4 - Plantar Fasciitis

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This series will explore the most common running injuries, their treatment, and prevention. In this entry, plantar fasciitis (heel pain).
What are the most common running injuries that I see and how do I treat them ?

Being a runner myself, I know the need a runner experiences to be able to run. That being said, with some lower extremity running injuries, a runner may need to stop running temporarily.  Temporarily is the key word, as my goal for any of my patients is to keep them as active as possible during treatment. This series will explore the most common running injuries that I see, as well as how to treat and prevent them.

Part 2 of 4 - Plantar Fasciitis

What is plantar fasciitis?

In the early stages, plantar fasciitis is defined as having inflammation of a ligament on the bottom of the foot. As it becomes chronic, it is called plantar fasciosis and described has having ligament degeneration with thickening and scarring,  and sometimes the development of a heel spur.

Plantar fasciitis is a common injury because the heel bone is a connecting point for several ligaments, tendon, muscle with nerves surrounding the area.

-the ligament is inflexible
-when stressed, there is a pull from the heel bone causing pain
-some patients will develop a heel spur from the chronic pulling

Symptoms:

Early Stages-

  • Pain after first step in the morning or after sitting for long period. The pain improves after walking.

  • Bruise like feeling on the bottom of the heel

  • Throbbing

  • Feels like you walk on a pebble

Later Stages -

  • Pain gets worst and is constant

  • Shooting pain and numbness

Common causes:

  • Over stretching of the plantar fascia because of over-pronation

  • Limb length difference

  • Tight hamstring

  • Improper footwear

  • Abnormal bio-mechanics

Treatments:

Early Stages-

  • Stretching

  • Use of a night splint

  • Anti-inflammatory (such as acetaminophen) by mouth or injection

  • Custom orthotics- Best long term outcome is achieved this way

Later Stages-

Prevention:

  • Good athletic shoes that fit correctly and that are not worn-out (6 months old is ancient in shoe terms) If you live in or near Savannah we recommend Fleet Feet for great running shoes (it's worth the trip).

  • Control your bio-mechanics using custom orthotics (for more info on custom orthotics follow our Pedorthist, Demon Thompson on Twitter here.)

  • Be more aware of surface you run on. Hard surfaces cause more damage over time.

If you need more in depth information on plantar fasciitis please order a free copy of our heel pain book. There is no obligation, and no strings attached. We hate spam as much as you do, and we respect you privacy. You can also order your copy by phone 1-888-398-9525.

Common Running Injuries: Part 1 of 4 - Stress Fracture can be found here.

Common Running Injuries: Part 3 of 4 - Hallux Limitus can be found here.

Comments

  • Dr. Melissa Robitaille Monday, 17 January 2011

    Claudia- I have used "dry needling" but prefer using Topaz and/or ESWT to a greater extent. In my hands these alternative treatments have had a more predictable and successful outcome. In addition, I have found in my practice that unresponsive treatment to what has been diagnosed as chronic plantar fasciitis can be frequently due to nerve entrapment. Proper diagnosis helps.

    Thanks

  • Claudia Thursday, 06 January 2011

    Hi,

    I am wondering if you use "dry needling" in cases of planter fasciitis that are unresponsive to other treatment methods.

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