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Running with Plantar Fasciitis

Can I Continue to Run With Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most annoying injuries you can suffer as a runner. If you are suffering with plantar fasciitis you’re likely wondering if you can continue to run. The answer isn’t simple - every case of plantar fasciitis is different so it will depend on your condition.

Some runners can continue running with a mild case of plantar fasciitis without treating the underlying cause of the problem. On the other hand, for some runners continuing to run can cause additional damage to the plantar fascia ligaments and worsen the condition, which can lead to debilitating pain that makes walking difficult, and running pretty much impossible. The best thing to do if you’re suffering from symptoms of plantar fasciitis is to see a physical therapist to evaluate your condition and determine the appropriate course of treatment. 

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a thick band of fibers that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the metatarsal heads. The classic sign of plantar fasciitis is first step pain, which is a sharp pain at the base of the heel immediately when getting out of bed in the morning. Other symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Deep ache or sharp stabbing pain in the middle of the heel (most commonly) or along the arch of the foot
  • Morning hobble
  • Increased foot pain after prolonged sitting
  • Pain that hurts at the beginning of a run and then starts to improve once you’re warmed up 

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis can occur for various reasons including:

  • Overtraining
  • Failing to stretch calf muscles
  • Over-training with hill work or speed work
  • Biomechanical flaws (flat feet, high arches, tight Achilles tendon, etc.)
  • Wearing worn out running shoes
  • Running on hard surfaces (concrete, asphalt, etc.)
  • Wearing high heels for prolonged periods of time before switching into running shoes

Plantar Fasciitis in the Experienced Runner

If you’re an experienced runner and suffer a bout of plantar fasciitis, it’s best to take a few days off to allow your foot to heal. During your time off focus on stretching both of your feet several times a day and use a foam roller for your legs and calves. Make sure to take a look at your running shoes and consider replacing them if they appear to be worn out. Once your symptoms begin to improve, slowly return to your running routine at a reduced level and slowly build up to your regular routine.

Plantar Fasciitis in the Beginner

If you’ve just started running and suffer a mild or moderate bout of plantar fasciitis, you can continue to incorporate running into your fitness routine. However, start slowly by walking followed by intervals of jogging and walking. Make sure to rest for a few days in between each run to allow your feet time to recover and slowly increase the duration and intensity of your walking and jogging intervals up until the point where you are jogging more than walking.  If your plantar fasciitis worsens at any point, you should refrain from running until symptoms resolve.

Running with Plantar Fasciitis

If you’re a runner, you can help to protect your feet while you’re suffering a bout of plantar fasciitis. These tips should also be followed once your plantar fasciitis clears up because they can help to prevent future episodes of plantar fasciitis.

Invest in an orthotic insert

  • Over-the-counter or custom plantar fascia inserts help to support the arch of your foot while your plantar fasciitis heals

Wear a night splint

  • Night splinting keeps your foot in dorsiflexion and aims to stretch out the plantar fascia

Warm up thoroughly

  • The goal of your warm up should be to increase your heart rate, improve the range of motion in the joints you’ll be using, increase blood flow, and increase the elasticity of your ligaments and tendons
  • Lunges, squats, leg swinging, and brisk walking are great activities to warm up before starting your run

Stretch

  • Calf stretching including calf raises, ankle dorsiflexion and plantar flexion, ankle circles, and toe stretching should be performed several times a day

Ice after you run

  • Immediately after you run, elevate your foot and ice your heel for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Ice for another 10 to 15 minutes before you head to bed

Listen to your body

  • It’s important to listen to your body and instead of pushing through the pain, decrease the intensity of your running routine until you can resume it safely

If you’re suffering with foot pain, you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis. Running should make you feel healthier, not lead to debilitating pain. Consulting one of the physical therapists at Blue Hills Spine & Sport Rehabilitation can help you get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, which will help you resume your regular running routine without pain.

 

 

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