The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that supports the foot arch. The repetitive action of running puts stress on the underside of the foot, which “bends” the toe joints, putting pressure on the heel end of the plantar fascia. This leads to a chronic condition called plantar fasciitis.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Pain in the underside of your heel, usually most intense first thing in the morning or after resting, though it can worsen through the day. The pain may stop during running, but will return afterwards. An X-ray may also reveal a calcium deposit known as a heel spur over the calcaneus, which can cause inflammation in the tendons around it.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
Stop your activity and rest until pain subsides. Apply RICE treatment–the ice reduces swelling–then apply heat to promote healing. Seek medical advice. Your doctor will advise up to a month’s rest and pain relief. You may need to have orthotics and/or heel cups for your running shoes, and in sever cases, a cast. Surgery may be required if it persists for more than six to 12 months. Physical therapist will be required to stretch tight tissues and correct muscle imbalances.
WHEN CAN I RETURN TO RUNNING?
Plantar fasciitis should heal within a few months; if you have to have surgery, you should wait three to six months before returning to running.