Hey RMA crew!
So much fun the other week at Twilight running festival up here in Bris Vegas! Caught up with heaps of running mums in the parkrun tent. The rain was crazy and it was a shame the half was cancelled mid race but it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit on the night. We had a blast! This week I want to talk about plantar fasciitis and how to tackle it with running. It can be such a stubborn bugger of an injury so it’s important to understand so you can get rid of it as well as prevent it in the first place, especially as you’re increasing distance.
First key is to understand anatomy. Your ‘plantar fascia’, is the thick band of tissue underneath your foot, kind of like a bridge from heal to the ball. When you run it acts like a lever that transfers force through the foot to propel you forward.
A few things can happen to it, it can get stirred up from landing heavily on it, particularly with heal striking and we’ve all heard of heel spurs. It can also get inflamed from repetitive forces over time. Most of the time it starts with a bit of an ache in the morning and it eases pretty quickly but it can progress and start hurting after runs, even during your runs which is a real pain in the butt! So what do you do about it? Well firstly try to avoid it, STRETCH YOUR CALVES! Tight calf length will limit your ankle range and so your body will compensate by rolling your foot in to make up for poor range and the plantar fascia is the meat in that sandwich…ouch! Learn to release calves and feet. The secret to running when you are 80 is to nip problems in the bud. Don’t wait for that niggle to become a fire storm and then get help! Tackle it straight away. Work with your health professionals and use release strategies, rest, whatever it takes.
Then get smart with technique. At RIFREV we often see runners with plantar fasciitis putting a lot of force through their feet. Remember two things: try to land in the mid foot and soft feet at all times! The only way to achieve that long term is to get gravity moving you forwards by leaning from the ankles. One of our girls just beat her parkrun PB by two minutes this week just by using her lean. With plantar fasciitis, the other thing to be aware of is the tendency to push through the foot and particularly through the big toe to create your movement…RELAX the feet! It’s important. If you’re still struggling some people get good results using the night splints to stretch the area out. You can order a Strassburg sock online to stop that area shortening overnight. Might cost you around sixty bucks, no guarantees but we see them work for a lot of people so can be worth a try.
Finally look at your shoes. Tricky one, because there are so many variables. Make sure they have enough support. There are so many good options these days. Make sure you try to change them every 500k so they continue to support you. If you have a big event, never rely on just the one pair. A lot of our runners rotate three pairs, an older pair on the way out, a new pair they are wearing in and the one they are going to do the race in.
Good luck people! Hope you get rid of the foot pain and keep running into your 90’s!! Can’t wait to see everyone at the RMA tent at Gold Coast!
Have a great week RMA crew,