Tag Archives: foot care

Running Injuries 101: Plantar Fasciitis

This week we continue our Running Injuries series with plantar fasciitis (PF).  A seriously no fun injury to face, PF is something all runners dread but luckily, it is 100% preventable.  Learn more about what PF is, how it happens and how to treat it by reading on!

What:  Plantar fasciitis (PF) is the most common source of heel pain in runners new and old.  It is the result of inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toe bones.

Cause:  PF is caused by inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toe bones.  These tissues, the plantar fascia, are a support for the arch of your foot and act like a shock absorber when the foot lands.  If they become overworked by too much stretching and tearing the results are inflammation and tenderness.  People who are overweight, who have weak feet, poor movement mechanics or wear shoes without enough support are especially at risk.

Symptoms:  Plantar fasciitis is characterized by a sharp stabbing pain in the foot with the first movements of your day that will subside or ease once the foot has warmed up.  The pain can resume as a plantar fasciitisresult of standing for a long period of time or when you stand up from sitting or lying down.  PF can limit the amount of running, jumping, walking and dancing you are able to tolerate.

Treatments:  Anti-inflammatories will ease the pain of PF but should be accompanied by another form of treatment to address the underlying cause.  Ice can also be used while orthotics and surgical options exist for those who have unbearable pain.  Orthotics should only be used in very extreme cases of completely collapsed or permanently damaged plantar fascia.

Recovery:  Prevention is the best way to treat PF.  Be sure spending time barefoot along with foam rolling and regular foot, ankle and lower leg strength and mobility exercises are part of your training plan.  These are excellent ways to build stronger arches, more flexible ankles and looser Achilles tendons that are less likely to become inflamed. If you do come down with plantar fasciitis, recovery can be a long road.  The most important step in recovering is to figure out what caused the injury and work to correct it.  An ideal path involves a movement or gait analysis accompanied by a custom stretching, massaging and strengthening plan for the plantar fascia and their supporting muscles.

Coach Meredith

***The post was originally written for and published on The Runner Dad***

5 Tips to Protect Your Feet

Your feet take the full impact of every step you walk, jog, skip or run.  Working to protect your feet from injury and ailment is one of the best ways to make sure your running season isn’t cut short.  Home to 100+ ligaments, 33 joints and 26 bones, neglecting your feet can, and for many runners eventually does, lead to some seriously not fun problems like athlete’s foot, blisters and plantar fasciitis.  Use these five tips to take care of your feet and stay healthy all season long.

Find the right shoes.  One of the best ways to protect your feet is to wear the correct shoes.  There are thousands of options available, making sure you’ll find the right one might take a little work.  Try different brands and models after you have a special fitting and make sure they’re protect your feetbig enough to let your toes spread out.  Too small shoes lead to black toenails while too narrow shoes mean blisters and too little support can cause IT band pain, plantar fasciitis and potentially stress factures.

Love those shoes.  Keep tabs on the treads and retire them before the materials are completely degraded, typically 300-500 miles.  Know that wear and tear also depends on what type of runner you are.  If you run on roads rather than trails, if you’re heavy or tall, if you stride isn’t smooth, shoes can wear out sooner.

You’ll also want to invest in more than one pair for those rainy days.  Wet shoes are not only heavy, they can lead to blisters, itching and fungus.  Dry wet shoes by removing the insoles and placing them in indirect heat out of the sunlight while you’re out running in another pair.

Wear good socks.  Your feet will sweat.  With 125,000 sweat glands, it’s inevitable.  Wearing good socks will help your feet stay dry and can help prevent fungi like athlete’s foot from developing.  Lightweight, breathable, moisture wicking socks are the best way to protect your feet from dampness and always have a clean, dry pair handy.  Dry shoes and dry socks are a good way to prevent foot and toenail fungus from ruining your next run.

Give them a rub down.  Your feet take a beating during any run and a little extra attention protect your feetafter a workout can help them stay happy and healthy.  A self-massage with your hands, a lacrosse ball, a foot roller or even a golf ball is a great way to relax and recover.  You can also try a professional massage or even step up to reflexology.

Strong feet are healthy feet.  I wrote about this here, too, but it can’t be said enough.  Your feet are an integral part of making running a miserable experience or an awesome one.  The stronger they are, the safer they’ll be.  Strengthen and protect your feet by practicing barefoot one leg balance, wearing flat shoes, or no shoes at all, as often as possible.

Use these five tips to protect your feet from fungus, blisters and muscle strains so you can stay on the road all season long.

Coach Meredith

Plantar Fasciitis Problems

Plantar fasciitis is a serious issues faced by many athletes, and last week we went over times it’s just fine to miss, or skip, a workout.  Being injured is a great reason to take a day off, and this common one can be very discouraging.plantar fasciitis  We discussed the importance of taking good care of your feet two weeks ago, and this injury is a perfect example of something that can easily be avoided with proper foot care.

Let’s start with some anatomy.  The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes.  It is a flat band of tissue that supports the arch of each foot, acting like a shock absorber with each step and can be strained in one or both feet.  When the plantar fascia is strained or injured, it becomes swollen, weak and irritable.  This will cause any of a number of symptoms, including heel pain or pain on the bottom of the foot when standing or walking.

There are lots of things that can cause plantar fasciitis, and luckily, most are preventable.  People who are prone to plantar fasciitis include those who roll the foot inward when walking or running (excessive pronation), individuals with high arches, people who are overweight, stand, walk or run on hard surfaces for long periods of time, have tight calves or Achilles and finally, those who wear poorly fitting or worn out shoes.  All of these causes can be prevented or avoided very easily.  Two weeks ago, we wrote about the importance of taking care of your feet.  If you follow those suggestions, along with the ones we’re about to share, you’ll be as well prepared as you can be for the fight against plantar fasciitis.

Make sure you have good shoes.  If you wear the right shoes, any excess pronation will be prevented and both arches, no matter how high, will get support.  Replacing your shoes before they are worn down to the bones or using insoles helps ensure coplantar fasciitisrrect fit and keeps feet protected even if you stand, walk or run on hard surfaces for long periods of time.  Tight calves or Achilles tendons are an easy fix, too.  Daily stretching can help lengthen and strengthen these important parts while aiding in injury prevention.  Weekly foot massages, from yourself or someone else, are a relaxing way to prevent foot injuries, too.  Being overweight puts extra strain on your plantar fascia as well, so making sure you have supportive, properly fitted shoes when starting a weight loss program is incredibly important.

What if you already have plantar fasciitis?  While there isn’t one magical cure-all for making plantar fasciitisyour foot, or feet, feel 100% better, there are things you can do to help the process along.  The pain associated with this type of injury often makes putting ice on your injured heel and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug a necessary part of recovery.  Taking a break from exercising or switching from hard surfaces to soft ones will give the injured foot, or feet, time to heal.  If you’re not ready to take a breather, daily stretching, or stretching multiple times per day, will aid in flexibility.  You can also consider night splints, a boot that stretches your calf and foot while you sleep to help even more.  Rolling the length of your foot with a tennis or lacrosse ball can act like a massage and stretches the arch of your foot, Achilles and calf.

Now that you know the symptoms, the treatments and how to prevent plantar fasciitis, protect your feet and get going!  For more help with injury prevent, email us at Info@FitNicePT.com today.

Must Do Foot Care

Having two healthy feet is something most people take for granted.  Until one gets injured.  Foot care is often overlooked by runners who stretch hamstrings, quads and calves but miss their most important part.  Even when hitting the gym for strength training, a group class or round on the elliptical, those two feet take more impact than any other body part.  Almost all athletes will experience some kind of foot pain during their adventures, but here are a few foot carefoot care tips to keep you healthy.

Find the right shoes.  If your shoes are too loose, they can rub, causing blisters, too narrow and you are susceptible to callouses and if they’re too short, toenails can turn black.  When you buy running shoes, do so from a reputable running store, rather than from a big box chain where your sales person might not even be a runner.

Once you have the correct shoes, it’s important to know when it’s time for new ones.  Most shoes are good for 300-500 miles, but it depends on the wear they get.  A good way to extend foot careshoe life is by alternating pairs, especially if they get wet.  Putting wet shoes near a heater or in a dryer will cause them to shrink, potentially causing a myriad of problems.  By having alternate shoes to wear, you can let wet ones dry out naturally and not risk changing their fit on your foot.

Socks.  There are a ton of socks out there, and you want to be sure you’re running in the ones that are right for you.  Wet or cotton socks will lead to blisters, while other materials, such as acrylic, can help protect your feet from rubbing by pulling sweat and moisture away.  You might need to vary your sock choice based on the weather, a light sock won’t be equally fit for a speed workout and racing a half marathon.  Although there are lots of choices, socks are fairly inexpensive, so try different brands, fabrics and cuts until you find what works best.

Keep your feet dry.  This can be hard if you’re running in the rain, on the trails, in snow or on the beach.  Waterproof trail shoes are a great choice for those who brave nature, but for those who run mostly on pavement or a treadmill, the answer is usually to wear moisture foot carewicking fabrics, never start with damp or wet socks and shoes and carry an extra pair.

Massage your feet once a week by rolling them on golf balls, a rolling pin or wooden foot roller.  You can head into most sporting goods stores and find all kinds of foot care products that are built to help you stay on them.  Not only will a foot massage relax those hard working muscles, it’ll give you a few minutes to chill out and take a break.

Do foot and ankle strengthening exercises and be barefoot as much as possible to make weak foot muscles strong.  If the muscles in your ankles and feet are weak, your foot won’t go straight ahead while you run, and you’ll miss out on a lot of power, and speed, stronger ankles and feet can provide.