No great endeavor comes without a price. Luckily, we live in times with practical, scientific, and medical solutions to these issues. Runners are not exempt from these challenges, as the great activity they are engaged in sometimes can result in pain and strain.
Heel pain is no stranger to many. More than a million people each year face this condition, many of them runners. Often, the cause is a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This refers to an excess amount of stress through a long ligament type structure (the plantar fascia) in the bottom of the foot. With all the excess stress, pain and inflammation often result. Amazingly, the heel pain that results tends not to occur all day long, but at the first moment when rolling out of bed in the morning. And this refers to any long period of rest when pressure is put on the heel to rise out of the chair or inclining position. Sometimes, this can create a false sense of security or confidence in the runner, as the pain experienced at the beginning of a given day leads them to believe they can “work the pain out,” and it will disappear after the activity is commenced. This is proven false after a long run or the conclusion of the day.
A runner will often ask the chiropodist where plantar fascitis originates; how does it come about. Often, the answer is brutally straightforward. Footwear that is of poor quality or was once excellent quality, but is now well worn, is often the culprit. The motivation for a runner to select one of these two conditions often lies in convenience. If inclement weather is present, grabbing the worn out pair of reliable shoes is often the runners’ selection of choice. Also, when running season begins, it is quite common to put on last year’s pair. Support and stability of the shoe might be a thing of the past by then, and the midsole may be well worn out by then.
Plantar fascitis has other causes as well. If a shoe does not fit properly to begin with, it is often the genesis of a series of problems that come later. An enthusiastic runner may also cause the problem, as overtraining is becoming a more widely recognized issue in the running world. This can take many forms. One who adds an excessive amount of many miles without proper time to adjust can be detrimental. As well, piling on too many hills during the trail adds excessive strain to the heel.
Sometimes, the structure of the foot itself creates a disadvantage. If pronation is too great and the foot rolls in too much, the amount of stress placed on the plantar fascia and the tendons in the arch can cause small micro-tears. This can lead to the condition.
Fortunately, good effective treatment is available. Rest is the most obvious remedy, even cross-training with other physical activities like swimming or biking can be an effective deterrent. If running is key to your routine, it is important to apply ice to the area twenty minutes after running. Also important is stretching. Lastly,custom orthotics may prove a huge help, or at least supportive shoes. Sufferers of flat feet may require custom orthotics.