You’ll hear us say again and again, rest is one of the best treatments for plantar fasciitis.
But when you’re already active or trying to lose weight, should heel pain put an automatic halt to your running?
Here’s the deal:
Every case of plantar fasciitis is different. Some runners can “push through” mild plantar fasciitis and continue their workout routine as normal while treating the cause of the problem. For others, running can cause additional damage to the plantar fasciitis ligament, worsening the condition, or causing such excruciating pain that even walking is incredibly difficult – and running is near impossible.
If your pain is severe it’s best to start by resting from vigorous activities for a few days, however if your plantar fasciitis is mild or moderate, it’s possible to safely enjoy running.
Bouts of Plantar Fasciitis in Experienced Runners
If you are an experienced runner and have a bout of plantar fasciitis, it is smart to take a few days off before resuming your running. Focus on stretching your feet a few times a day, and foam rolling your calves and legs. Worn-out or non-supportive shoes may be a contributing factor to your plantar fasciitis, so consider replacing your sneakers or investing in a pair of plantar fasciitis inserts.
Once your feet begin to feel better, re-incorporate running into your routine at a reduced volume and slowly build back up to your regular workouts.
New Runners With Plantar Fasciitis
It’s also possible to begin incorporating running into your fitness routine, even if you already have mild to moderate plantar fasciitis. Start out by walking, and begin incorporating intervals of jogging or running with walking. Rest a few days between your runs to make sure your feet have enough time to recover, and slowly increase the duration of your running intervals until you are jogging more than walking. Always ice the area for 20 minutes after each session.
If you have severe plantar fasciitis or at any point your pain becomes severe, refrain from running until you consult your doctor for medical advice.
Tips for Running with Plantar Fasciitis
Warm up thoroughly before you run
A good warmup is vital for any safe workout – but this does not mean you need to stand still and stretch each of your muscles. The goals of your warm-up should be to gradually increase your heart rate, improve the range of motions of your most important joints, increase capillary activation, and increase the elasticity of your tendons and ligaments.
A typical running warm up should include exercises to “wake up” your hip flexors and legs – such as lunges, squats, and leg swings. However, when you have plantar fasciitis you need to pay special attention to your ankles, calves, and plantar fascia ligament during your warm up.
Here are a few exercises to incorporate into your running warm up if you have plantar fasciitis:
- Calf raises
- Pointing and flexing your toes
- Ankle circles
Ice After Your Workout
If you anticipate you will be struggling with heel pain after a run, try elevating and icing your feet after your cool down. Ice for 10-15 minutes after your run, and again in the evening if you are experiencing heel pain.
There are a variety of ways you can ice your feet. Try using Ice Therapy Slippers, or fill a bucket with ice water and submerge your feet. Some people will also hold a bag of frozen peas to the bottom of their foot.
Above all else, listen to your body
When you have plantar fasciitis, listening to your body is vital no matter what — but especially when you want to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. There will be times when you have to reduce the intensity of your workouts or take a few extra days rest to heal, and that’s okay! Instead of “pushing through the pain”, reduce the intensity of your workouts until you know you can complete them safely.
Running should make you feel healthier, not put you in excruciating pain. If you have mild plantar fasciitis, make sure you take special care of your feet and listen to your body.