It probably won’t surprise you to hear that podiatrists see a lot of patients with injuries from running. While running can be a great way to stay healthy it can produce some painful problems as well. In this series of blog entries (for the first entry in this series click here) we will examine the most common injuries that runners suffer and what you can do to prevent and treat these problems. Our second installment in this series deals with a problem shared by both runners and non-runners alike, the dreaded plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the plantar fascia, the thick band of tendon running along the bottom of the foot, becomes inflamed. This inflammation is painful and, if left untreated, can lead to scar tissue forming around the plantar fascia. The initial inflammation is usually reported as a pain in the heel or arch of the foot. These areas are especially painful when after periods of rest, but pain dissipates as walking continues.
At home treatment of plantar fasciitis focuses on controlling the inflammation and stretching the tendon. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen are helpful for controlling pain and inflammation. Stretching of the plantar fascia will increase flexibility and decrease symptoms.
Running with plantar fasciitis can make the problem worse if you’re not careful. A new pair of supportive shoes as well as either custom or over the counter inserts can help to support the arch while running. Reducing run distances as well as reducing run frequency is recommended to give the plantar fascia more time to heal.
Patients who have been suffering from plantar fasciitis for longer periods of time may not experience improvement with these techniques. A podiatrist can help with cortisone injections as well as newer technology called EPAT. EPAT uses high frequency sound waves to treat plantar fasciitis. These sound waves result in more blood flow to the fascia, increasing the bodies natural healing properties.
If you are trying to run through the pain of plantar fasciitis it may be a good idea to visit your local podiatrist. They have several methods of treatment aimed at healing the tendon to get you back on your feet again.