Knowing when you can start running again after a plantar fasciitis problem can vary, depending on the severity of the injury. Mild cases may only require a short rest period before gradually building up to your previous level. However, severe injury may require up to 18 months rest before resuming your training.
Appropriate treatment by a healthcare professional, such as chiropractor, podiatrist or physical therapist, can provide treatment to heal injuries to the Achilles tendon. Treatments range from conservative measures to surgery.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that involves inflammation of the thick band of connective tissue called the plantar fascia that stretches along the bottom of the foot and joins the heel to the toes. The condition typically causes stabbing pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel. The pain can be triggered by long periods of inactivity such as during sleep or when you get up from sitting for a period of time. The causes of plantar fasciitis are not well understood, but individuals over the age of 40 are also at higher risk for the condition, as are runners and those who are obese.
Common Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis usually causes a characteristic pain on the bottom of the foot at the heel. Pain may be worse in the morning when you first get out of bed, which gradually gets better as you move around.
Pain After Rest
You may begin to suspect plantar fasciitis if you experience foot pain on first getting out of bed in the morning, or when you get up from sitting for a long period of time.
Pain with Activity
If you have pain when you engage in running or other exercise, it may be because of inflammation in the plantar fascia of the foot.
You may notice stiffness in your foot and heel that makes it more difficult to engage in your usual activities.
Foot tissues may become tender to the touch and putting weight on the foot can lead to significant discomfort.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Overuse or Excessive Strain
Excessive running without providing a schedule for rest and recovery can lead to problems with foot structures. The constant strain on muscles and overuse of tendons and ligaments can lead to intense heel pain.
Poor Foot Mechanics
Some people may have very tight tendons on the bottom of the foot that makes them vulnerable to plantar fasciitis. Individuals with flat feet may often have problems with plantar fasciitis.
Footwear that does not provide sufficient support and cushioning during running can lead to problems with plantar fasciitis. Careful attention to your choice of running footwear can help to prevent many foot and leg-related issues that can result from a vigorous running schedule.
Obesity and Excess Weight
Carrying extra pounds puts additional stress on the feet and other structures in the lower body. Maintaining a recommended weight can help to reduce the risk for plantar fasciitis.
Older individuals are more likely to develop a plantar fasciitis problem. Generally, those between the ages of 40 and 60 are most at risk.
Preparing to Start Running Again After Plantar Fasciitis
Assessing the Severity of Pain and Discomfort
A thorough assessment of your level of discomfort will inform whether you should resume your running program. If pain continues to be a problem, you should allow a few more days or weeks for recovery.
Working with a Physical Therapist or Podiatrist
A podiatrist or physical therapist can provide good treatment and advice for plantar fasciitis pain.
Stretching and Exercising the Calf Muscles and Connective Tissues
Regular stretching and exercising of the calf muscles and connective tissue can help recovery from plantar fasciitis pain.
Wearing the Right Shoes for Support and Comfort
The right footwear can help to protect the structures in your feet as you exercise. Replacing your athletic shoes as soon as you see signs of wear will ensure your shoes give you the support you need when running.
Improving Foot Posture to Reduce Stress on the Feet
Orthotic devices that fit into shoes and redistribute weight more effectively can help to resolve plantar fasciitis problems.
Avoiding High-Impact Activities That Could Worsen Pain
Generally, you should avoid high-impact activities when you have plantar fasciitis because these actions can worsen the inflammation and damage to tissues. Some individual with minor problems with plantar fasciitis may be able to continue running, but they should carefully attend to pre-run and post-run care to prevent worsening the condition.
When to Start Running Again After Plantar Fasciitis?
Resting Until Pain Subsides Before Increasing Activity Levels
Resting the foot structures is an important part of recovery from painful plantar fasciitis symptoms. Although inactivity can be difficult, it is the best way to allow tissues in the affected area of the foot to heal properly.
Slowly Increasing Distance, Speed and Intensity of Running Sessions
According to the Marathon Handbook site, you should carefully pace any increase in distance for running while you are experiencing discomfort to no more than 10 percent of your previous workout.
Testing Out Different Pacing Strategies During Recovery
You can vary your practice running sessions to determine what pace allows you to continue your runs without causing discomfort in the heel and arch.
Using Cross-Training for Low Impact Exercise Options During Recovery Periods
The Healthline site recommends using other training methods to stay in good condition is recommended for individuals experiencing the painful symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Walking, swimming, rowing, stationary cycling and other activities are advised.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I run while recovering from plantar fasciitis?
Some individuals who do not have severe pain from plantar fasciitis can keep running after developing the condition. However, they should take special care with footwear, therapeutic exercise, medications and rest periods to ensure they are not making the condition worse.
When should I resume exercise with plantar fasciitis?
You can resume non-impact exercise as soon as your plantar fasciitis symptoms subside. You may have to change the type of exercise you do for a period of time after a flare-up to allow the inflammation in the tendon to resolve.
How do runners heal plantar fasciitis?
Serious runners will generally see a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist or physical therapist for proper treatment of plantar fasciitis and advise on the best ways to speed their recovery. Treatment may include non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications, exercise, icing, massage and rest.
How long does plantar fasciitis take to heal for athletes?
Because athletes often engage in lengthy practice and conditioning sessions, they are at risk for re-injury of the plantar fascia tendon in the foot. Your health professional can provide advice on how long it will take to heal tissues and avoid re-injury. Days or weeks of care may be needed, depending on the severity of the injury.
Should I run a marathon with plantar fasciitis?
It’s possible to run a marathon when you have plantar fasciitis, but you will have take specific measures to protect your feet, by regularly doing exercises to strengthen foot tendons, wearing orthotics to support the plantar fascia tendon and being mindful about how much practice running before the event. You may need to change your exercise regime to those that cause less impact between the ground and the feet, in order to keep conditioning your body without adding more stress to injured areas of the feet. According to the Podiatry Advice site, getting a cortisone injection cortisone to relieve inflammation and pain a few days before the event can help. Taking non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications are also recommended.
Can I do cardio with plantar fasciitis?
Generally cardio exercise involves impact of the feet on the ground, which should be avoided when you are healing from plantar fasciitis. Rowing, swimming, riding a stationary bike or simply walking are recommended cardio exercises you can do when you have plantar fasciitis.
How long should I stay off my feet with plantar fasciitis?
A period of rest is usually recommended for plantar fasciitis. However, how long you should rest is dependent on the severity of the problem. A minor issue with foot and heel pain warrants at least a few days of rest to allow the inflammation in tissues to resolve. If plantar fasciitis pain and stiffness are severe or a constant problem, you may have to forego your usual exercise activities for several weeks or even months to allow tissues to fully heal.
How long should you rest to heal plantar fasciitis?
Your physical therapist or podiatrist can advise you on the proper amount of rest needed to allow your plantar fasciitis problem to resolve. You may need a few days, or even a few weeks to fully heal.
How do athletes deal with plantar fasciitis?
Foot pain can be a real problem for athletes, because it can prevent them from engaging in their normal activities. If they have had heel pain in the past, they may do daily stretching exercises to keep foot structures strong. They often use athletic tape to give their arches more support. They may take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications at the first sign of discomfort or may apply ice or heat to relieve sore tissues. Some athletes get physical therapy to help resolve the condition.
What happens if I keep exercising with plantar fasciitis?
If you continue exercise that involves hard impact with the ground, you are likely to cause even more damage to tissues in the foot and will extend the time needed for proper recovery. Changing your exercise regime to a less rigorous one is advised to allow inflammation to subside and to allow tissues to properly heal.
How long is the recovery time for plantar fasciitis?
Recovery time can vary, depending on how severely damaged the plantar fascia tendon is. For minor symptoms, a few days rest will be sufficient to repair injured tissues. More severe tears in the tendon or chronic heel pain may take several months to heal.
How can I speed up my plantar fasciitis recovery?
You can help shorten the recovery time for by choosing good quality footwear that provides solid arch support, substantial soles and a moderately high heel. Orthotics can help foot mechanics. You can apply ice to your foot if you begin to experience discomfort. You can periodically exercise and massage your feet and heels to keep muscles and tendons strong.
What is the alternative to running with plantar fasciitis?
Any non-impact exercise that does not involve hard or continuous contact with the ground is a good alternative to running when you have plantar fasciitis. Rowing, cycling and swimming are good alternative choices. Just walking at a normal pace can still provide good conditioning until the inflammation has been controlled.
Will running with plantar fasciitis make it worse?
Yes, running when you have plantar fasciitis can cause additional injury to tissues in the foot, can cause increased pain and can extend your recovery time. That’s why rest is recommended to allow the injury to heal.
Plantar fasciitis running symptoms
Plantar fasciitis symptoms include a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel of the foot, or in some cases, a dull, constant pain in the heel. You may have pain when you start your running program, or after you have completed it.
Running technique to avoid plantar fasciitis
First, you should choose footwear that provides good support for the foot as you run. Taping the foot can offer additional support for the plantar fascia tendon. Alternate your running regime with other types of exercise. When increasing your pace or distance, follow the 10 percent rule. Don’t add too much, too fast.
Signs plantar fasciitis is healing
Less pain in the morning when you get out of bed is a sign of healing. If you notice less physical bruising, swelling or muscle tightness, it could mean the structures within your feet are healing well. Better range of motion when you stretch your feet and legs can also mean your plantar fasciitis is healing, and you can gradually resume your activities.