This nagging, painful problem is usually the top foot complaint among runners. Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the tendons and ligaments that run from the heel to the toes. The symptoms can feel like a dull ache or bruise in the heel or arch and are usually worse in the morning. People with very high or low arches are most prone to the condition. Both types cause the plantar fascia to be stretched away from the heel bone.
-Extreme pronation (foot rolls inward excessively) or extreme supination (rolls outward excessively).
-Increasing mileage too quickly. Remember, do not increase your mileage more than ten percent per week.
-Standing long periods of time without supportive footwear. You may find that your foot hurts worse when walking barefoot.
-Weak core muscles. A weak core can lead to subtle changes in the stride that will affect the feet.
If the pain is chronic, a complete break from running may be necessary. Pool running and swimming can help you keep in shape while taking pressure off the feet.
-Roll your foot over a frozen water bottle several times a day. This will help with any inflammation and act as a massage as well. A tennis ball also works well to massage the bottom of the foot. Roll your foot back and forth over it several times a day. The tennis ball works great when traveling or when using ice just isn’t convenient.
-Stretch the plantar fascia several times a day. Because it usually hurts the worst first thing in the morning, start by flexing the feet a few times before you even get out of bed in the morning. Sit with one ankle resting on the opposite knee, grab the toes and gently pull back. Or, sit on the ground with knees up, feet flat on the floor, grab toes and pull up towards yourself.
-Use Epsom salt soaks. If soaking your foot in the tub is inconvenient, look for an Epsom lotion. It works the same way as the salt, only in a lotion form. It also feels great to massage it in to sore muscles.
-Stretch the calves. Tight calves can sometimes lead to a tightened plantar fascia. Using a foam roller is another great way to loosen tight muscles.
-Do core work at least twice a week. Include front planks, side planks and back extensions.
To prevent a relapse, make sure to wear the proper shoes for your feet and continue stretching and massaging several times a day.