Pain when planting the foot on the ground and pain under the foot is known as plantar fasciitis. The inflammation of the thick tissue under the foot can cause discomfort when running and resting. Called the plantar fascia, this tissue connects the heel bone to the toes. The plantar fascia creates the arch of the foot and any pain in the tissue will hamper performance, but unfortunately plantar fasciitis is a common running injury.
This injury affects active men from the age of 40, obese people who place stress on the feet, long distance runners and people who have a tight Achilles tendon. Achilles tendinitis is often mistaken for plantar fasciitis as the symptoms are similar. Sufferers usually complain of a dull or sharp pain and stiffness at the base of the heel and this area may also ache or burn. The arch is stiff, inflamed and sore and activities such as climbing stairs, getting out of bed and taking the early morning steps and impact are difficult.
The origin of the injury may be from shoes that are too soft, dropped arches or sudden increase in activity. Researchers used to think that plantar fasciitis was caused by a heel spur, but x-rays revealed that heel spurs occur in people who have no plantar fascia problems.Pain management in the form of ice, Tylenol or ibuprofen helps to reduce inflammation. Rehabilitation can be done at the physiotherapist and modalities such as stretching, massage and foot exercises are used. Heel stretching exercises involve lowering the heel off a step and lifting onto the toe. The most important treatment is rest, but this is often the most difficult thing to do when running is such a priority. Wearing good shoes with good support will help contain the swelling of the tissue and night splints could stretch the injured fascia. A heel boot is the most extreme form of orthotics but it takes the pressure off the plantar fascia and reduces friction, but there are also orthotics and heel raises that can be worn inside the shoes to elevate the heel and arch.
Now if you want to run when you have plantar fasciitis, there are some good running shoes that might help with the problem.
The Asics GEL series
Runners can choose from the Kayano, Nimbus or Evolution models. Asics GEL technology cushions the foot and absorbs shock, while the midsole provides stability. Lacing the shoe higher on the top of the foot stabilizes the ankle and provides more motion control.
New Balance 850
These shoes use “Abzorb” cushioning to reduce shock that magically disappears from the feet instead of spreading to the knees and shins, causing shin splints and knee problems.
Mizuno Wave series
The Wave Riders and Wave Inspire are popular among injured runners as the shoe has heavy cushioning and support.
The Saucony ProGrid Stabil CS
This is not a new shoe, but still popular for heavy runners and the men shoe weighs 14 ounces, while the women’s shoes is nearly 12. The support post runs along the foot from back to front for effective pronation control.
Unfortunately this injury takes longer to heal than a knee or back pain as it is difficult to take the pressure off the foot, but it is important to rest and let the tissue recover or else you may need tissues for the painful tears you will cry if the injury persists.
The bottom line is that there is no guarantee that plantar fasciitis shoes will cure your plantar problem, but NOT wearing the right shoes will certainly make the problem worse.
Some Resources for PF Help
- Check out this Ultimate Guide to the Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
- Look at the wikipedia definition of Plantar Fasciitis.
- Check out WEB MD’s PAGE about PF.