Words: Paul Hobrough
As a high-impact sport running is a pastime with a potential for injury, but that doesn’t mean all runners need to suffer pain.
Previous injury (particularly in the past 12 months) and increasing age are both key risk factors for future injury. So how can we affect our own injury risk if it comes down to age, our history and biomechanical faults?
Put simply, every runner needs the key ingredients to rehabilitate themselves back to full fitness. However more important than that is the PRE-habilitation programme to prevent the injury in the first place.
What is Plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a common running injury. A pain in the heel, sufferers usually feel it first thing in the morning. This pain often goes away for the rest of the day but comes back again in the morning and potentially every morning for a number of months or years if left untreated. As the pain develops it may start to hurt after any short period of rest and eventually during every step.
The plantar fascia is connective tissue that travels from the calcaneous (heel bone) through to slips that attach to each of the toes. Its function is to support the longitudinal arch of the foot and acts as protection for the foot and also provides some propulsive force in walking/running.
When the plantar fascia breaks down, due to a number of reasons such as direct physical stress through to hormonal changes within the body, sufferers may find it difficult to walk normally or run at all.
It all sounds bleak, don’t worry as there is a now a wealth of scientific research and treatment options to get you back to full health.
Firstly, you need to be properly diagnosed, not just a scan to tell you that you have the injury, but a full biomechanical overview to find the reasons why you might have caused this damage.
A higher body mass index (BMI) and lack of flexibility can contribute to your risk factors of falling foul of Plantar fasciitis, however recent studies have found an association between hamstring restriction and the condition.
The 8-point Plantar fasciitis recovery plan
Follow my 8-point plan, which can be used as part of the recovery solution or indeed as a prophylactic measure to stave off this painful injury.
1) No barefoot walking.
2) Wear orthotic insoles.
3) Warm up the foot by writing the alphabet with your foot in the morning and after any period of rest.
4) Stretch the gastrocnemius and soleus 6 times per day for 45 seconds.
5) Towel grabbing along the floor using your toes for 2 x 2 minutes every day.
6) Ice the foot after any significant period of work.
7) Treatment from a qualified Physiotherapist every week until touch pain is minimal.
8) Wear the Strassburg sock at night.
Running free of injuries by Paul Hobrough (Bloomsbury) is available now on Amazon