August is the middle of race season for most runners and the same is true for me. I completed the Colfax half marathon in May and ran in the Georgetown to Idaho Springs half marathon last Saturday!
The race was beautiful, the weather was perfect but there was something holding me back…my heel pain. Yes, it’s true even physical therapists suffer from the occasional injury. I increased my training mileage a bit too quickly and developed a minor case of Plantar Fasciitis. Good news is with proper treatment and training adjustments I’ll be 100% in a few weeks!! That’s great news since I’m planning on running the Denver Rock ‘n Roll Marathon in October.
What is it: Plantar fasciitis (say “PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus”) is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk.
Important Facts: Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling.
Statistics: Approximately 2 million patients are treated for this condition every year. In most cases, plantar fasciitis develops without a specific, identifiable reason.
Treatment Duration: More than 90% of patients with plantar fasciitis will improve within 10 months of starting simple treatment methods. Many treatment options exist, including rest, stretching, strengthening, change of shoes, arch supports, orthotics, night splints, anti-inflammatory agents and surgery.
Do’s/Don’ts: Don’t push through the pain. Often a couple of weeks of reduced activity and following the steps above will help.
Don’t go barefoot or wear flip-flops. Continue to wear a good pair of sneakers or or another shoe with a low heel.
Common Myths: First Myth: NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. are a good treatment for plantar fasciitis. Very often, doctors will prescribe Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen, and the reason is that they believe long-term plantar fasciitis is a result of inflammation. But the most current research shows that this really isn’t true. Since the origin of the problem isn’t what the doctors believe it to be, naturally NSAIDs can’t do much to help.