Foot Pain In Runners: How to Relieve Plantar Fasciitis Using Arch Support Inserts

Published: 02nd April 2009
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Heel pain in runners can become an excruciating experience. Once you encounter heel or arch pain, it may be difficult to adjust your lifestyle if you are used to being active. It is important for runners to be aware of the symptoms and treatments for some of the more common types of heel or foot arch injuries. Understanding the different types of sports injuries is the key to effective treatment of heel pain in runners.

What is Plantar Fasciitis Pain?

When the plantar fascia, a thick, fibrous band of connective tissue in the sole of the foot that supports the arch of the foot is inflamed, it causes plantar fasciitis pain. It attaches the ball of the foot to the heel. When the foot is on the ground and supporting all of your body weight, it stretches this tissue. Inflammation occurs when this tissue is stretched too far and tears. The effects of the stress can build up gradually or be the result of a sudden movement.

Plantar Fasciitis Pain is Often the Cause of Foot Pain In Runners

There are a number of reasons why plantar fasciitis pain causes foot arch pain in runners. Runners tend to exercise too long and apply too much stress to the feet and plantar fascia, and those with flat feet can be at a higher risk. Combining shoes that lack proper arch support and running routines that are too extensive puts repetitive stress on the plantar fascia, particularly where it connects to the heel. Severe pain is caused as a result of the inflammation of the torn fibers.

Plantar Fasciitis is commonly caused by the following:

* excessive pronation of the feet

* abrupt increase in physical activity such as running or participating in sports

* shoes that do not fit properly and insufficient arch support

* weight gain

Where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel is commonly where the pain is felt. Due to the fact that the fascia constricts when you sleep, you will typically feel the most pain in the mornings. Upon rising from bed, your body weight stretches on the tissue that attaches to the heel bone. Symptoms of heel pain in runners vary from mild to severe. The pattern of pain can be very unpredictable over months at a time. In many cases, the pain vanishes for several weeks, but can easily come back after a single workout or change in activity.

The pain may even temporarily fade as you walk. Plantar Fasciitis is a common condition that runners experience, and along with the triggers discussed above, may occur by abrupt intensification in your training schedule, or by switching running surfaces. This is evident, especially when going from a soft surface to a harder one.


Ways to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis Pain

While plantar fasciitis can be treated, it does not heal quickly. heel pain in runners can be avoided in a number of ways. Most sports physiotherapists recommend the following approach to prevent Plantar Fasciitis:

Use Appropriate Footwear and Orthotic Shoe Inserts - Supportive footwear is important. Many cases will benefit from wearing orthotic shoe insoles inside the shoes to improve foot biomechanics. Avoid walking without shoes or foot protection. Make sure your shoes provide support, and try running on a softer surface.

Ice - Decrease inflammation and pain by applying ice to your heel. Set your foot on a frozen bottle of water or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel 3 or 4 times a day for 5-10 minutes each time. Desensitized tissue can be at risk of ice burn, so never ice more than once an hour.

Change Your Activity - Consider swimming or cycling, as they may be a better exercise option for you. When you begin running, begin at a much lower level of intensity and a shorter distance, then you can build up gradually. Reduce the volume or intensity of training, or simply reduce the amount of time spent on your feet.

Stretch - before, during, and after physicalactivity. Tight hamstring and/or calf muscles (behind the thigh) limit range of motion and put extra strain on the plantar fascia. Keeping muscles flexible and relaxed and joints mobile can be accomplished by stretching as a warm up and a cool down. It is highly recommended that you stretch the plantar fasciitis before exercise.

If the problem persists, talk to a podiatrist or physiotherapist.

About the Author:

The orthotic insoles made by Footminders are highly recommended by most of the podiatrists and specialty foot care stores. These orthotics are recommended because they are the result of extensive research done by foot care experts. You can find more information and treatment for many types of foot pain at www.footminders.com.


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