Plantar Fasciitis and Associated Pain
sport running aching feet
Running foot is aching
training sore feet arch
heel spurs runners
These are the search terms I’ve received in the last few days. I did not change a thing. The spelling and punctuation are exactly as they are listed in the blog stats. There have been similar search terms for a couple months now, so I’ve finally decided to write something to give the searchers what they want.
Last September I was competing in track, high jump, and long jump. I gave it my all that day and even qualified for nationals. Sometime during that day, I ended up with plantar fasciitis. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but I do know when I woke up the following morning I was in a lot of pain and had trouble bearing weight on my right foot. I’m thinking it may have happened during the long jump. I previously thought it was from running track, but the more I think about it, it must have been the jumping.
Here we are four months later and I still have pain when I over-extend myself such as the following morning after a race. According to Physician and Sportsmedicine Magazine, “Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that affects both athletes and sedentary people. It arises from a combination of factors, including the effects of biomechanical abnormalities and overtraining. Once the condition is present, the pain associated with it can become debilitating.”
Gradually, the extent of the pain in my right heel and the hobbling around is dissipating, but there are measures I have taken to promote healing to the foot. If ignored, an innocent little jabbing sensation or nagging old injury in the bottom of the foot can easily become a chronic problem, especially if you decide to quit exercising.
Other contributing causes of plantar fasciitis can be obesity, overweight, shoes that are too little or too tight, no arch support, poor foot mechanics, flat feet, injury, over use, excessive strain, arthritis, and diabetes. For athletes, and especially runners, the demands on the feet are amplified.
The foot is an intricate structure consisting of 25% of the total amount of bones in the body. It also consists of muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, joints, nails, veins, arteries, and lymphatics.
Plantar pertains to the soul of the feet and fascia is a flat, white, rubber band-like, flexible ribbon of fibrous tissue extending from the calcaneus (heel bone) to the base of the toes. Plantar fasciitis simply means inflammation or swelling of fascia (bottom) of the foot.
The pain from plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain in the heel of the foot that is most intense in the morning when first arising. Once the foot is warmed up or stretched, the intensity of the pain generally lessens but doesn’t necessarily go away.
Heel spur is not plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis can lead to heel spur which is a calcium deposit on the calcaneus. Many people confuse the two. While heel and foot pain are generally associated with heel spurs and plantar fasciitis, they are not the only cause for foot pain. It could also be a calcaneus foot fracture, bursitis of the plantar heel, tarsal tunnel syndrome, entrapment of the lateral plantar nerve, or fibrosarcoma of the foot.
The most common forms of treatment are found in the acronym RICE.
• R – Rest
• I – Ice
• C – Compression
• E – Elevation
“I’ve tried many ways to alleviate the pain and they help for a little while and the foot begins to feel better. Then I go for a run and I’m back to square one. I realize that rest is the best treatment for the foot to heal, but I have to run at least 3 times a week. I can’t help it. It’s in my blood.” This is a quote to a post I wrote in October 2006.
I will address treatments more in depth in another post.
Physician and Sportsmedicine Magazine; “Plantar Fasciitis” November 2004, Vol. 32 Issue 11, pgs 24-28