How to Run When You Have Plantar Fasciitis

When a runner is getting towards the peak of their season, their worst fear is an injury, whether large or small. They will go to great lengths to avoid such a tragedy, but sometimes it is just not enough. The injury may inevitably occur.

This happened to me in my freshman season of collegiate Cross Country. In late October, we were nearing the end of the season, when I started to feel a small twinge in the bottom of my foot. I tried to ignore it for a day, thinking that maybe I slept on it wrong or it was just sore from the previous day’s workout. However, after a couple days of pain, especially in the morning, I knew that it was more than just a sore spot.


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I did, indeed, have Plantar Fasciitis. I had a very minor case, but it was enough to cause discomfort while running or walking, especially in the morning. However, though it was so close to the end of the season, it was best for myself and the team if I kept running on the slight injury.

Plantar Fasciitis does not always require immediate time off. If you are nearing an important part of your season or a big race, there are a few techniques that can hold you over until you can take some time to rest and fully recover.

How Do I Know that this is Plantar Fasciitis and Not Soreness?

Plantar Fasciitis is a condition that affects the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects the ball of the foot to the heel. When one has plantar fasciitis, it means that the plantar fascia is overworked. This will result in soreness along the bottom of the foot. This soreness will often extend into the heel in the form of an aching or burning sensation. One of the telltale signs of plantar fasciitis is that the pain is worst in the morning and decreases throughout the day. In my case, my pain would be almost completely gone by the time I went to bed at night.

How Can I Run While Suffering from Plantar Fasciitis?

If you have a minor to moderate case of plantar fasciitis like I did, it is entirely possible to continue training. However, you cannot just ignore the problem and hope it gets better. You must be diligent about recovering and treating this injury. If you are diligent about taking care of your foot, you can still have a successful season. There are a few techniques and products that you can use at home that will allow you to continue to train:

1. Plantar Fasciitis Compression Sock

compression sock How to Run When You Have Plantar Fasciitis

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You can find this compression sock at almost any running store or on many online vendors, like Amazon. They can even be very affordable. You can find them on Amazon for as cheap as ten dollars. These socks relieve pain, increase circulation, offer foot support and comfort, and have breathable material.

2. Icing

After a run, make sure you ice your foot. You can do this by filling a bucket with cold water and ice, or by making an ice pack and resting your foot on it. I really enjoyed freezing a water bottle and rolling my foot over it after each run. Make sure to ice for seven to ten minutes. Though icing is not comfortable, it is an excellent recovery tool that is easily accessible.

3. Soft Surfaces

soft surface for running

If you are used to hitting the streets for your run, find a soft surface to run on. Find a gravel path through a park or a single-track trail through nature. This soft surface will decrease the hard pounding on the plantar fascia that it would have on the concrete sidewalk or road. Not only will this be good for your foot, but it will be a fun adventure to explore a new route.

4. Arch Support

arch support

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Make sure that you are not walking around barefoot or in a shoe that does not offer good support. While you have plantar fasciitis, you need to be taking care of your feet, and that might mean sacrificing fashion for functionality until you can fully recover. If needed, you can get orthotic inserts for further cushioning and support.

5. Achilles Tendon Stretch 

Stretching your Achilles tendon can relieve tension on your plantar fascia. To do this stretch, stand facing a wall with your injured foot behind the other foot. Bend the front knee, but keep the back knee straight. You should feel this stretch in the calf and Achilles on the same side as the affected Achilles tendon. Hold this for ten seconds and repeat 20 times.

6. Plantar Fascia Stretch

Plantar fascia stretch pull toes towards you

To do this stretch, sit down and place your injured foot across the opposite knee. Pull your toes toward your shin until you feel a stretch on the bottom of your foot in the plantar fascia. Make sure to gently feel the plantar fascia to make sure that it is tight and being stretched. It should feel like a rubber band that is being stretched. Hold this for ten seconds and repeat 20 times.

If you do these things, your plantar fascia will probably not recover and heal completely, but you will be able to run on it. If you are careful and diligent with all of these recovery tools, you may even experience a slight alleviation of symptoms. However, you cannot recover fully until you take time completely off.
Additionally, if you are nearing an important part of your season, you can consider getting a cortisone shot in your plantar fascia to relieve the pain. This is a corticosteroid that contains a potent anti-inflammatory agent. This is often used only when all other methods have been exhausted. This injection does have some risks, and it is imperative that you discuss these risks with your doctor before getting this injection.

ALSO READ:  How to Keep Yourself Motivated to Run

Can I Still Have a Good Race Even Though I Have Plantar Fasciitis?

Yes! You can absolutely still race will if you take care of your injured plantar fascia. In fact, I ran a personal record in the 5k while suffering from plantar fasciitis. It is possible.

How Long Can I Continue to Run on this Injury?

Though you can continue to train with plantar fasciitis, it is not sustainable and could result in heel spurs, which is a more serious injury resulting from plantar fasciitis. If you have important races in the next three to four weeks, you need to be extremely diligent and careful with your injury. Make sure that you are icing, stretching, and wearing supportive footwear. If you are not doing these things, you will not be able to continue training on your plantar fascia.


 The #1 Best Insoles for Foot Pain

If you have plantar fasciitis, high arches, flat feet, or other foot support issues, but would rather not purchase a new pair of shoes – add the Tread Labs Stride Insole to your existing shoes. The Stride Insole is biomechanically designed to support your arch and cure/prevent plantar fasciitis. Simply remove the factory insole from your favorite shoes and replace it with the Stride. The Stride comes in four different arch heights for each foot size, offers a lifetime guaranteed arch support and has a removable top cover. Take the Tread Labs Fit Quiz now and get THE BEST possible support for your feet.

#1 Best Support - Tread Labs Stride Insole

  • THE BEST support to prevent/cure Plantar Fasciitis.
  • Lifetime Guaranteed Arch Support.
  • Replaceable Top-Cover
  • Free shipping both ways.

Read Why Stride Insoles are the Best


However, you can continue to run on it for three to four weeks. It is critical that you closely monitor and assess where your pain level is so that you are not overtraining and developing a more serious injury. As soon as your goal race is finished, you should rest your injured foot until it is pain free.

If you try to train again too early, you will only prolong the injury and possibly make it worse. In order to be pain free, you should take at least three days up to a week or two off of your feet depending on the severity. If you are getting out of bed and still feeling soreness on the bottom of your foot, you should not start training yet. It will be worth the wait.

When you start training again, do not be afraid of injuring your plantar fascia again. It is not fun to train in fear of an injury. However, you do need to be aware that this is something you have struggled with and continue making sure that you are recovering well. Ice and stretch your foot regularly.

Additionally, evaluate your training shoes and make sure that they have enough support. If you are on a team, you can ask your coach for advice on what shoe to wear. If you are training independently, you can go to your local running store, where they can analyze your running gait and recommend the best shoe for you. If you prefer to wear a more minimal shoe, you can do that, but make sure you have orthotics that offer cushioning and arch support.

Summary

Just because you have plantar fasciitis does not mean you have to stop training. You can continue to train if you make sure to use ice and stretch your foot, as well as wear supportive gear. You can still PR and have a great end of your racing season. But do not forget to take time off after your race is over in order to train pain-free again. Plantar fasciitis does not need to end your season. If properly dealt with, you can continue to train, and even improve, despite this injury.

2017-12-08T12:42:57+00:00

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