The beginning of cooler weather in Dubai means that far more people will be outside pounding the pavements. As a result, here are a few tips on how to avoid plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia (PF) is a thick band of fibrous tissue that extends from the base of the heel bone to the toes on the sole of the foot. It connects the musculature of the sole of the foot, like an elastic band. When the foot is flattened to the ground, it stretches. And when you go onto your toes, it tightens. The PF adapts its position dependent on the load put through it. Therefore, as a runner, generally the PF is very strong.
However, when there is a repetitive overload through the PF, micro-trauma occurs and over time this can leave to pain and weakness.
There are other factors that can affect your risk of PF such as; being flat footed, over-pronation and other weaknesses through the lower limbs. The other things to consider are changes to your footwear, or changes to your training (for example increased load, distance, speed).
A typical symptom of PF is pain and limping first thing in the morning when you start to walk; usually this eases throughout the day as you use it.
Things to consider when you begin or increase running:
- Ensure that your footwear is correct for you. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to this – you can check with a Physiotherapist or Podiatrist if you would like guidance.
- Keep training progression steady – don’t increase your distance sharply.
- Strengthen the PF and lower limb – your Physiotherapist can help with this too.
- Continue to stretch the posterior chain (calf, hamstrings) before and after runs.
There are many ways a Physiotherapist and/or Podiatrist can help with your pain, and this doesn’t always mean just stopping your running. Unless the pain is extreme, exercise helps to maintaining loading through the PF and heal. Other treatments options are available if this is not the case.