A Guide To Exercising With Plantar Fasciitis

 

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation and damage of the plantar fascia. It is a common injury in runners, and in those that increase their exercise workload. The most common symptom is that of heel pain, and as tears in the plantar fascia worsen, so too does the pain. It can be caused by any of several underlying complaints. Something as simple as a stiff toe could lead to plantar fascia pain.

Plantar Fasciitis

Pain tends to be worse after standing for prolonged periods. It can also feel very painful in the morning, and doctors often recommend that patients rest their feet and stop exercising. It is possible, however, to continue exercising even with jogger’s heel.

Conduct heel and plantar stretches, roll your foot, and always ensure that you warm up and cool down properly. You should also choose plantar fasciitis shoes that offer heel and arch support, as well as adequate cushioning. They will also need to be comfortable, especially if you are to endure prolonged periods of exercise.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects the toes to the heel bone. It cushions impact that is caused when you put pressure on the foot, but too much pressure or over-stretching the ligament can cause tears. These tears lead to swelling, and this combination of torn and swollen ligament is what is often described as jogger’s heel.

Causes

General wear and tear can cause jogger’s heel, but putting too much stress, for a prolonged period, on the ligament, is the more likely cause. Long distance runners often suffer from this complaint, hence the name jogger’s heel. Underlying complaints, especially those that lead to an unnatural stance, may also be the cause.

Symptoms

The most obvious plantar fasciitis symptom is that of heel pain. This pain tends to be worse if you spend prolonged periods on your feet, and first thing in the morning. The pain will not normally surface during exercise, but it can worsen soon after you finish your daily regimen. Climbing stairs and other activities that cause the plantar fascia to stretch may also lead to increased pain levels. If you continue to put pressure on the ligament, and do not take corrective action, it can lead to additional and more serious complaints.  Heel spurs, which are a build-up of calcium in the heel, often accompany the complaint.

Stretching

Most patients are told to rest their feet. If it is possible to rest your feet completely, then the pain will disappear over time as the ligament is allowed the chance to properly heel. However, this isn’t always an option, and many people do still train and exercise when they suffer with jogger’s heel.

  • Sit down and roll a tennis ball under your foot for a few minutes. This is a good exercise to perform first thing in the morning, and if you suffer pain after exercising.
  • Stretch your calves by leaning forwards against a wall. Keep your feet flat and lean forward until you can feel your calves stretching.
  • Stretch the foot. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Use a band, place it around the foot, and pull it back to feel the flex of the foot.

Ice Packs And Night Splints

  • Ice packs have proven to help alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Apply one to your foot in the morning or when you experience heightened pain. Alternatively, instead of rolling a tennis ball under your foot, fill a plastic bottle with water and freeze it. Roll the bottle back and forth underneath your foot to stretch the plantar fascia, and to alleviate the inflammation associated with the condition.
  • Your doctor may advise you to use splints at night. These splints stretch the plantar to a natural level, and then ensure that it stays at this level throughout the night. Splints are most commonly used if you suffer pain first thing in the morning.
  • If you are a long-distance runner, consider shortening the length of your stride. This may feel counter intuitive because you are used to enjoying the benefits of using a long stride during your run, but it will prevent you from placing additional strain on the ligament before it has chance to heal.

Choosing Plantar Fasciitis Shoes

Shoe inserts, or orthotic inserts, can prove very useful if you spend all day on your feet. Certain professions, such as nursing, not only require that a person be on their feet all day, but can also place a lot of stress on the body, including the plantar fascia. Orthotics help to provide the arch support and heel support that prevent this problem from worsening.

You should also look at the quality and style of shoe that you wear, especially when you are exercising. Exercising, whether it is in the gym or on the pavement, puts added pressure on all areas of the foot. However, by wearing shoes that fit your feet, that have ample heel and arch support, and that are well cushioned, you can alleviate the symptoms and help give your body the time it needs for the condition to clear up.

There are many pairs of shoes that are suitable for sufferers, including running shoes, cross fit shoes, and gym shoes. Buying the right pair can make a big difference to your life, specifically by reducing the amount of pain that you suffer while working out or exercising.

You can still exercise if you have jogger’s heel, but you should take steps to help avoid additional stress on the ligament. Stretch, apply ice, and choose the best trainers for plantar fasciitis.

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Matt Jackson is head content writer for ShoeWow. He has conducted considerable research on foot complaints, including plantar fasciitis, to find some of the best footwear solutions to these complaints.

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1 Response

  1. Matt says:

    Thanks very much for publishing guys.

    I’m here to answer questions if anybody happens to have any.

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