Plantar Fasciitis is 1 of the top 5 running related injuries, accounting for up to 10% in all. With 65-80% of runners getting injured each year that’s a big number. It’s an ever increasing problem that many runners now know too well. As part of our running injuries season we are focusing on the top 5 running injuries in detail. Giving you weekly info on what it is, why runners get it, the current gold standard treatment, top tips on the best exercises, plus personal encounters of our patients experience.
Plantar Fasciitis: what is it?
First things first, what is the Plantar Fascia? Well, ‘plantar’ basically means ‘under the sole of the foot’. Plantar Fascia describes the extremely important structure that runs from a bony bump on the under side of your heel bone (calcaneal tuberosity), fans out in a triangular shape, to attach to the balls of the feet (metatarsal heads). Made up of a thick connective tissue called ‘fascia’ (a web-like matrix that connects everything in your body, giving it shape, and most importantly absorbing forces placed upon it), the Plantar Fascia helps to support the medial arch of the foot. Essentially it acts like a spring. Research shows that the Plantar Fascia can absorb up to 14% of the total load of the body during walking and running. With the equivalent of 2 1/2 times your body weight in force going through 1 leg during running, as we mentioned in our previous RUN EDUCATION blog on ‘Functional Movement Screening’, it is essential we harness this stored energy correctly in order to prevent Plantar Fasciitis occurring.
Plantar Fascia and classic location of pain
Secondly, what is Plantar Fasciitis? Well, as used in many medical terms, ‘itis‘ is latin for inflammation. So Plantar Fasciitis basically means inflammation under the sole of the foot. More specifically this is inflammation at the point where the fascia attaches to the heel bone. More correctly referred to as Plantar Fasciopathy, ‘opathy’ meaning ‘disorder of’, this describes the chronic nature of the condition as commonly people will suffer for months if not treated. Over time the inflammation becomes more degenerative in nature due to a build up of scar tissue and a ‘dysrepair’ of the natural healing process. It is quoted that 80% of heel pain is due to Plantar Fasciitis. 1 in 10 people will suffer from these symptoms in their lifetime. Usually more common in 40-60 year olds it is typically 1 sided but up to a 1/3 of people can have it in both. Plantar Fasciitis symptoms include pain under the heel that is worse on the first few steps in the morning or after a prolonged period of rest such as sitting. This can usually improve as you get more mobile but increase again when standing or walking for prolonged periods, or when attempting to run again.
Plantar Fasciitis | Why do Runners get it?
As we mentioned in our previous RUNNERS HUB blogs there are 3 key elements that make up an efficient, injury free runner. Technique, Strength & Control, A Tailored Training Week. Commonly if there is a fault in just 1 element this can increase the risk of Plantar Fasciitis symptoms. Below are just a few examples of common technique faults:
DYNAMIC KNEE VALGUS
Common causes of Plantar Fasciits include over training or by simply doing too much too soon. Simple, golden tips on how to tailor your training can help to prevent Plantar Fasciitis. Look out for these in our upcoming blogs.
Finally, a very well referenced cause for Plantar Fasciitis symptoms is poor footwear. Its vital that your trainer fits to you, not you fitting to the trainer! Check out our recent injury prevention & treatment talks and promo events in collaboration with UP & RUNNING, Sheffield.
Next weeks blog looks at What is the best treatment for Plantar Fasciitis?
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Remember. Running is Evolving. Keep up with the pace!