Common running injuries
Running is a great time-efficient way to exercise, a good way to see the neighbourhood, find new trails and get some fresh air. Because it’s a weight bearing and repetitive activity it’s prone to cause overuse type injuries – of which there are many. Plantar fascia pain is one of these common injuries and one that can cause nagging discomfort and limitation to activity levels.
What is the Plantar fascia?
The plantar fascia is a thick connective tissue running from the heel bone to the toes which provides support for the arch of the foot.
Plantar fascitis or plantar fascia pain results from excessive stress placed on this structure resulting in sharp pain, ache or burn at the heel or in the middle of the arch. A common symptom is hobbling with pain after a period of sitting or rest. A lot of people complain of discomfort first thing in the morning, but find they can still run as they warm up, only to find that when they sit back down for a period and get back up again it is very painful and limiting.
The plantar fascia can not only be put under stress, causing an overload of the tissues resulting in pain but it can also be acutely torn, causing severe pain and inability to walk normally.
What are the common causes of Plantar fascia pain?
- Rapid increases in training frequency/time or intensity including hills and speedwork
- Inappropriate shoes – either not the right ones for your foot structure or shoes being too old
- Poor foot biomechanics – pronation, high and low arches etc
- Poor running technique and core control
- Types of terrain – eg: running on hard surfaces all the time
Some helpful tips to avoid Plantar fascia pain
- Spend the time getting the right shoes for your feet and running style
- Making appropriate increases in running training – time, frequency and intensity
- Vary running terrain
- Stretching – particularly the calf area and foot region but also overall body stretching
- Self-myofascial release work using foam roller or spikey ball/tennis ball
- Strengthening – important for runners to include strengthening work into training schedule; core strengthening is key, but also more specifically calf and foot muscles.
- Running technique – overstriding is a common problem that can cause many injuries associated with running
How can Physiotherapy help?
A thorough assessment is essential to work out possible causes of this injury. Hands on treatment including soft tissue work as well as mobilisation of joints and nerves in some cases, may form part of the treatment programme.
Taping can help provide pain relief and support for the arch region.
Various stretches and strengthening exercises can be prescribed to help treat the injury but also to increase the overall running strength and flexibility, along with training suggestions and advice.
Our phsyiotherapists can show you how to do self massage and myofascial release using a foam roller or spikey ball, plus other useful techniques to alleviate your symptoms.
We can provide a podiatry referral if required, as we have a fully qualified, experienced podiatrist operating from our clinic.
If you think you could be suffereing from plantar fascia pain; give us a call on 09 378 6890 to make an appointment.