I’ve been amping up my training for summer racing and have seemed to aggravate the plantar fascia muscle on the bottom of my foot.
Do you have any recommended stretches/exercise/remedies?
Feature Photo: Kylee Schuler
Katelynn: The dreaded plantar fasciitis! I am now on the tail end of my recovery from it. The first thing I did was cut down my mileage considerably, but I didn’t want to cut down on my fitness so I found a compromise. I started swimming in the mornings on M/W/F, biking on my lunch break, and running 3-5 miles on T/TH (if my feet were feeling up to it,) then continued with my long runs as planned on weekends. Any time I was sitting I was rotating between rolling my feet on a lacrosse ball, and laying them on ice. I also found that applying Arnica Gel to the bottoms of my feet a few times throughout the day and before going to bed really helped as well. Obviously it’s much harder to take it easy on your feet if you have a job where you are on them all day, but always make sure to wear very supportive shoes with a lot of arch support (yes, even at home,) and do the best you can to cut down on unnecessary activity. Good luck, I hope you are able to recover quickly and get back to your normal miles!
Katie: If it feels like plantar, it’s usually plantar. But allow me to share a two year tale of treating plantar fasciitis, only to discover I was doing more harm than good. In short, I have really flat feet, but don’t pronate – so I’m a bit of an anomaly. Because I have flat feet, I was wearing shoes with more medial support, and once “plantar” hit, even exploring inserts. As it would turn out, all that support was actually the thing aggravating the arch of my foot, because it was too much for me. I switched to a flatter feeling, neutral shoe and my pain went away almost instantly. I share this because we’re often told that “arch support” is important, and we therefore think that when we feel that bump under our arch it’s a good thing. In reality, the shoe should come closer to mimicking the shape of your foot. Check to make sure you’re shoe or shoe/insert setup isn’t aggravating your problem.
Maria: I suffered from plantar fasciitis when I was in high school. The pain was so bad I invested in a plastic boot to wear at night to keep my foot stretched while I slept. I wore the boot every night for a year. I took that thing everywhere! Though it took some getting used to, the pain eventually went away and I have not have problems since. To maintain a healthy fascia, I roll my feet every day on either a golf ball or the ROLL Recovery R3* (https://www.rollrecovery.com/
Lisa: My step-dad has suffered with PF for years. He swears by raquetball balls. My husband bought me a foam roller, but I prefer my old wooden rolling pin (like for cookies, because who has time to bake?). Rolling my feet on this, while in a standing position, provides enough pressure to really get into my PF and foot muscles. I’ve also found doing that weird yoga toe-stretch thing where you kneel down, but on your toes, helps really stretch everything on the soles of my feet. It’s one of those hurts-so-good kinda things, but worth it. Check out this link for pictures and descriptions, since I did such an excellent job describing it above.
Silke: I struggled with plantar fascia issues for a couple of years and through my first 100 miler. Although I’m not quite sure what exactly caused it and there wasn’t one thing in particular that I did that ultimately made it go away, a big part of my recovery plan involved acupuncture, compression, self-massage and wearing proper shoes. The acupuncture, compression & self-massage helped promote blood flow to that area which helps promote healing. The proper shoes meant taking a look at what I was wearing both on and off the trail. For me, I found that wearing a hard, supportive clog (like Dansko) instead of walking around the house barefoot or in flip-flops helped ease the pain off the trail. On the trail, a shoe with proper arch support helped. It took time and patience but eventually I progressed from limping around the house to running completely pain free.
Lauren: Get on your angry plantar fascia and be aggressive with icing, massage, and stretching it. That will drastically help it get better. I would suggest:
-Icing it after each run.
-Massaging it regularly with a golf ball or this handy tool.
-Diligently stretching your calf muscles.
-Visiting your local run speciality store to make sure you’re in the right kind of running shoes.
-Wear supportive shoes at all times (going barefoot or in flimsy flip-flops can continue to cause issues with your angry plantar fascia- it needs to be supported).
-If these things don’t help it feel better, consider purchasing a Strassburg Sock.
-Baby it- maybe take some time off running if it doesn’t get better.
Des: Rolling the bottom of your foot with something like a golf ball or lacrosse ball can help to loosen up the plantar fascia. Also, foot strengthening exercises like picking up marbles or gathering a towel with your toes can help strengthen the whole foot.