How do I get rid of it?
Like most injuries, there's no instant cure. When you feel the first symptoms of plantar fasciitis, immediately decide that you will be more persistent than it. The best way to rid yourself of plantar fasciitis is to make sure you never get it, and you can do that by practicing these Chi Running Form Focuses.
Prevention and Early Treatment Tips
- Relax, relax, relax. Learn to relax your lower legs, especially your ankles and calves, whenever you're walking, running, sitting or standing. Tension held anywhere in your legs or glutes will pull on the Plantar tendon when you move.
- Land with a midfoot strike. Land evenly on the middle of your foot instead of heel striking. This keeps your Plantar tendon relaxed and reduces the impact to your heels.
- Don't pull yourself forward with your legs when walking or running. Engage gravity by letting your upper body lead and your legs follow. Throughout your runs, lean slightly from the ankles, keep your stride short, and land with your feet directly under your center of mass.
Relaxation and Flexibility Stretches
- Stand facing a wall an arm's length away. Keeping your lower legs and ankles completely relaxed, lean into the wall by putting your hands on the wall directly in front of your shoulders and lowering yourself toward the wall. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat at least three times.
- Stand on a curb facing away from the street. Rest the middle of the affected foot on the edge of the curb with your heel extending out beyond the curb. Keep the healthy foot completely on the sidewalk for stability. Slowly lower your heel enough to give your Achilles tendon and calf muscle a good stretch. Hold this for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat three times.
- If you're sitting for an extended period of time, dorsiflex the affected foot (point your toes toward your knee) as often as you can remember to do so. This stretches your calf and Achilles tendon and will ease foot tenderness.
Other tips to combat plantar fasciitis include:
- Walk and run on flat surfaces as much as possible.
- Avoid hills, trails and uneven surfaces.
- Avoid stairs. Treat yourself to an elevator.
- Get a foot massage - the deeper the better.
Treatments for Acute Pain
- Soak your heel in a bowl of ice water (five to 10 minutes) twice daily until the pain subsides. It's excruciating, but well worth it.
- Scrunch towels or pick up marbles with your toes.
- Walk barefoot (or in your stocking feet) across a coarse gravel surface. This somewhat painful "therapy" vastly accelerates the healing process, as it helps keep the Plantar tendon supple.
- Orthotics can help reduce the pain on the bottom of the heel but aren't necessarily a long-term solution. If you don't want to be tied to orthotics for months or years, you'll need to change the movement habits that are causing the problem.
With this all-too-common-but-avoidable injury, there's an old saying that absolutely pertains: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Stay healthy with this advice. Use these tips for your next race.