Undoubtedly, you, me, and most runners will experience plantar fasciitis at some point or another in our running career. And if you’re here with me right now, you’re probably going through wondering, should I keep running, should I stop? What should I do? It can be painful. But the question you’re asking yourself is, is it painful enough that I should stop? Well, I’m Jessie Funk and on today’s episode, Runner’s High, I’m going to answer that question and hopefully, give you a plan of attack for dealing with that plantar fasciitis.
Generally speaking, my advice here is if it’s painful enough to make you alter the way you run, regardless of what it is, plantar fasciitis, or something else, then it is time to stop running. If however, you can continue to run, it’s not painful enough that it alters your gait, you can continue running. But there are a series of things that we want to do to kind of alleviate the issue and try and make it go away over time. This is going to be more important to think about your age and your physical condition as well.
So, younger athletes that have a pressing sports schedule and have meets in school, they’re going to be more inclined to say, okay, let’s continue running if it’s not affecting your gait. Then say if you’re my age, now 31, and if I miss a race then so what? Like, I’m not letting anybody down, I’m worrying about my long term health, and that’s all I have to be concerned with. So, if you’re in my category, it’s painful and you want to address it, you can take the time off, it’s totally okay. But let’s go through some things you can do to address it right now and continue to run.
The first and easiest thing is simply using ice in order to get the inflammation down in our foot. So, after you get done running ice your feet. You can do an ice massage. There’s a tool I like to use called cryo cups. I think they’re six or $7, something like that.
You can also use Dixie cups if you have those in your bathroom. You fill them up with water, and then once they’re frozen, you peel them away and use that to massage your foot. I like the cryo cups because then we don’t have all the paper waste and you can basically keep them forever because they don’t go bad. So, ice massage is gonna be the first thing.
Now, there are a lot of recovery methods that one of my podcast guests on the Smart Athlete Podcast, Christie Aschwanden has talked about, and we talked about ice baths, the efficacy of ice. The thing is that yes, ice can help us reduce inflammation but that inflammation sometimes is good.
In this case with plantar fasciitis, we’re trying to reduce the inflammation so that we can continue to run. It isn’t really solving our long term issue. It’s just dealing with the symptoms to allow us to continue to run. So, we have to do other things besides ice if we want to actually get to the point where we don’t have to deal with plantar fasciitis anymore.
If you’ve spent any time with me on the channel, you probably know that I talk a lot about shoes so let’s get the easy one out of the way. If your shoes are old as heck or older than dirt, you need new shoes. That’s just the first one, get that out of the way. Sometimes along with those shoes, getting arches can help because when you have plantar fasciitis, pretend this is my foot here.
I can’t show you my foot and talk at the same time. Pretend this is my foot, that fascia which is a sheath around those muscles is being pulled apart from those muscles, hence the pain.
So, when you use an arch, put it here and when you run, your foot is not able to flex quite as far eliminating some of that pulling motion that comes with the fascia, giving it the time to heal and kind of all come back together and eliminate that pain. So, arches sometimes are a good option for people with plantar fasciitis. It’s not necessarily a cure-all, it doesn’t do for 100% of people, but it is something to look into.
Now, I don’t necessarily mean go get custom orthotics, those are very expensive. There are over the counter solutions, which run often in the 30 to $60 range that have actual arches and can help you. Now I’m also not talking about Dr. Scholl’s insoles, those pretty much almost always don’t have arch support.
They may have a line now that does, but many of those are simply cushion. So, go to your local running store, they will be able to help you, guide you let, you try some out. And that’s important to figure out what’s going to fit your foot the best.
Another product type fix is going to be kinesiology tape, I use KT tape. I think they’re the original. But there are tons of brands of kinesiology tape, and really, they’re all probably pretty similar in terms of efficacy, same kind of idea as the arches.
You’re not going to get as much support with the tape as your physical arch. But you can use them to try to eliminate some of that extra pressure, extra pulling apart that your foot does when it flexes normally while we’re running. So, that’s something else you can check out.
But the other thing you can do that is not product related, that’s just good in general, whether you have that plantar fasciitis or not, is to stretch. There’s a particular stretch. Hopefully, it’ll transition to me doing this here in a second. But you’re going to sit down, hold on to your foot and pull back gently.
So, we’re trying to stretch all the muscles and tendons and things in this area so that they become elongated and are not as prone to injury, which is plantar fasciitis is an injury, so that you eliminate that pain.
Now, I will say sometimes with stretching and when we’re talking about things that have been stretched too far, which can be the case with plantar fasciitis, stretching can actually inhibit healing. So, it depends on the severity of your case, but that is something to check out if you’ve been having pain and you want to eliminate it. As a last-ditch effort, some people will use cortisone injections to get rid of the pain.
But as your doctor will tell you, it is only a temporary fix. It’s something that if you’re a pro athlete, then thanks for joining me if you’re a pro athlete. You probably don’t need my advice.
But if you’re a pro athlete or that level, then you may need a quick fix to get you through a race you’ve been training for forever. But if you are not, then if you’re at the point that you need cortisone injection, it’s probably time to take some time off of running and just address the issue that way.
Then go back to that stretching I just mentioned, use that to help your feet be in better condition so when you get back into running you don’t have the issues again. So, if you want more videos on running, how to be a better runner, troubleshooting all the problems that we run into as runners, subscribe to the channel, hit that button in the bottom right-hand corner, and I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.