How To Deal with Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis

What is it?  How do I deal with it?  And why does it hurt so much?

I’ve had plantar fasciitis before and it’s a really big pain.  It hurts, especially in the morning, and it hampers everything you do!  Walking hurts, so you know that even thinking about running will cause meteoric pain running throughout your foot.

Here’s what plantar fasciitis is, according to the Mayo Clinic: “It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes”.  That band gets irritated and causes the severe pain you feel.

The morning is typically when you’ll find it hurts the most. According to Runner’s World, “you may feel a sharp pain first thing in the morning because the plantar fascia shortens during the night”.  I’ve slept with a sleeping boot and that has provided some moderate relief in the morning.

TrainwithMarc got an email from a desperate runner the other day asking what she should do about Plantar Fasciitis.  Here’s her scenario:

  • She’s taken some time off to let it heal but hasn’t found any real relief.
  • She wants to run; doesn’t want to skip the race – and really doesn’t want to drop out or walk either.
  • It’s sore after she rolls it, but not in the morning.
  • Her shoes are a bit “dead” (350 miles), but “nothing too crazy”.
  • She has plantar fasciitis and is running a half marathon in a few days time.

    Plantar Pains!
    TrainwithMarc is going to walk through a few scenarios and based on how she feels, she can then make an informed decision about how she should proceed.

Managing Plantar Fasciitis
Managing Plantar Fasciitis

Based on that info alone, here’s what I think her options are:

Continue training:

This is a solid plan only if you HAVE to race (ie: your team depends on you or you spent TONS of money on a race).  Otherwise, I honestly don’t think it’s worth the long-term damage you could possibly do.

Finish training for your peak race, knowing that the pain is there and it could get worse.  You’ll be in lots of pain, daily, mostly in the morning, but it’s not debilitating.  Obviously, rehab and prehab can help you manage the pain, but it will most likely be there until you stop running on it.


Take time off:

Take time off and let the inflamed area calm down.  Be prepared to go through weeks and months of physical therapy.  The injury will get better with no running, therapy and consistent TLC.  Once it heals, you’ll have to continue working on the foot to keep it strong and loose.

There will be other races out there, so don’t schedule any until you’ve worked your way out of the pain period, you’ve gotten back in shape, and then you’re safe to sign up for a race.


As a coach, here’s what I believe she should do:

7 tips for managing plantar fasciitis
7 tips Coach Marc offers for managing plantar fasciitis

Shoe’s Mileage

Be aware of the mileage on your shoes.  Plan ahead and buy a second pair or rotate your shoes. Shoes are really all you need to run, so don’t skimp on old or crappy shoes.

Warning Signs

Listen to your body for warning signs.  If something’s going to happen, your body will let you know.  Don’t run through persistent pain.  And if it lasts for longer than a day or two, you should see a specialist who works with runners.

Be Proactive

Don’t wait for the pain to take over your world.  If you need to take a day off to let it calm down, that’s so much better than 2-4 months of serious pain.

Track Your Training

TrainWithMarc has great training logs that track mileage.  This will help you see trends (good or bad) that can steer you away from injury.

Create a Plan

Have someone create a training plan for you.  Take the guesswork out of what you should do on a daily basis.  A coach can help you steer clear of overtraining and can offer suggestions to you if you do come across an injury.

Rehab

Continue to stretch, ice, and roll out the bottom of your foot.  Make sure you are warmed up properly before a run and do not go barefoot!

Stay in Shape

Cross train on a bike, elliptical or swim.  Replace the time spent running for time spent cross-training.  You can limit how much you get out of shape by how much you can cross train.


What do you recommend she do?  What tips can you offer her?

For details on how you can train, run, and race with TrainWithMarc, find us on the web:

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Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach
Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach

I am a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners.  Click for more information!

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