We don’t give our feet more credit than they should for being a powerful, impact-absorbing part of our body. It requires the harmonious work of many bones, joints, and muscles just to take one step or experience that air beneath my feet feeling when we run. Although more common injuries involving the foot are usually ankles, an injury to the heel can cause more pain and movement restriction. As we mentioned before, it absorbs a lot of the impact from walking, running, and any exercise type.
A common injury that many runners dread is called Plantar Fasciitis: which refers to the swelling of a ligament that extends from your hell all the way to your toes. This ligament is essential for running because it plays a role in controlling your step and absorbing the impact. Its flexibility helps redirect the force and push you forward. However, with Plantar Fasciitis, this ligament is overexerted and can cause micro-tears and restrict your movement. You may not notice it initially because it accumulates over time gradually. You might mistake it as just a sore initially, but it will grow into a nagging and sharp pain on your heel. It, unfortunately, takes at least a month to about maybe a year to heal completely.
In this article, we help you with useful tips to prevent Plantar Fasciitis so that you can maintain the best ligament health and continue with your regular active lifestyle. By training your body to get accustomed to it, you might have to activate different muscles to not overexert that ligament. Let’s get started!
Especially if you’re new and plan on starting out on a new active lifestyle, it is important, to begin with smaller and achievable goals first. Do not push yourself when you start to feel like you are at your limit. Ease yourself into it, so as to not shock your feet into a new movement too immediately. This has nothing to do with staying within your comfort zone and avoiding challenges. It’s more of a safe, introductory orientation activity for your entire body to get used to starting an exercise routine. Once you start feeling more confident and comfortable, you can start adding more rounds or reps to your routine.
Take Your Time To Recover
A lot of people want instant results and make the mistake of pushing themselves too much. They do not allocate themselves enough time to rest before heading out for another run again. Ask any professional athlete, and they will tell you that there is a huge difference between pushing yourself and over-exerting. Make sure to at least have one day to rest before engaging in another day of training.
Equip Yourself Right
There’s a reason why running shoes are always in the constant eye of innovation. We always see more shoe designs to cater to every runner’s comfort and to ensure a safe environment for the feet to go on runs. However, if you have been hanging on to an old pair of running shoes with its soles flapping at every step, it is time to invest in a new and durable pair. Shoes are the immediate environment that impacts how your feet absorb impact, so worn ones can really increase the chances of injury. An important thing to note is that any new shoe can be further improved with specialized inserts. You can find the ones you need online on websites like Protalus.
Warm-Up & Stretch
A good warm-up and stretch help to loosen up the muscles and serves as a good little “wake-up call” too. This gives your muscles and joints time to prepare before you pop out of the house for a run. This is vital for any type of exercise routine because it prevents injuries. When your muscles are prepared, you are at a lesser risk of overexerting.
A good tip to remember is to also stretch after your workout. This helps you cool down and prevents muscle sores and aches the next day. Especially if this is your first workout in a long time, you’re more prone to experiencing soreness the next day. So give your muscles and joints a break by just doing simple stretches before and after your exercise.
Tips on How To Deal With Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis does not mean you can’t run forever. If you start to see symptoms, here’s what you can do. Firstly, put a pause on your running schedule. You need as much time to let your heel heal instead of further exerting it. Continuing to run is not going to help your situation get better. The last thing you would want is to risk a more serious injury that could permanently put you off from running for the rest of your life.
The next thing you can do is loosen up the ligament’s tautness by rolling your foot on a tennis ball. Do not roll the ball on the part of your arch that hurts, but do so with softer pressure every day for about two to three minutes. As the days progress, you can start to apply more pressure on the affected area.
To reduce the chances of your foot stiffening up, practice stretching the bottoms of your feet. A way to ensure a good stretch is to get on the knees and set your toes on the floor. You should gradually shift your weight so that you end up resting on the back of your foot. While keeping your back straight and maintaining your balance, you should feel a stretch over the arch to your heel.
Another good exercise to add is to work on your shin muscles to take off the stress from the calves and soles. All you need is three reps of 45 seconds of this exercise. You will need a resistance band attached to a stable structure and hook the other end to your foot. Alternatively, you could hold both ends of the band in each hand and place the band in the arches of your feet. All you have to do is just flex your foot vertically and then straighten it, and that’s one rep!
Foot injuries should never withhold you back from living an active lifestyle! But if the pain persists, we highly advise you to see a professional. These are basic tips to prepare a person new to running or someone who has Plantar Fasciitis to ensure a smooth exercise routine. With extra care and mindfulness, you are sure to overcome any obstacle. We hope this article has given you useful tips that you can use in the long run.