My Advice for Plantar Fasciitis

There is plenty of information on the web about plantar fasciitis, so there is no point repeating it here, except to give my advice on what you should be doing for it.

Put simply, plantar fasciitis is due to too much load in the plantar fascia for the tissue to handle. The only way to really fix and prevent it happening again in the long term is to lower that load.

Here is my advice if you have plantar fasciitis:
1.       Reduce the level of activity that is causing the symptoms. Substitute another activity (such deep water running, cycling, swimming) to maintain fitness levels
2.       Use ICE and other methods after a run
3.       Stretch the calf muscles (the research has shown that this is a major risk factor for plantar fasciitis)
4.       Strapping has been shown to be a great way to reduce the load, but this is a short term method and is great if you have a competition coming up.
5.       Get to a health professional who really knows about foot orthotics. Foot orthotics are the best way to reduce load in the plantar fascia (the research shows that). However, not all types of foot orthotics and all type of designs of orthotics do actually reduce that load, which is why foot orthotic can often get criticised. The right orthotic will work in most cases.
6.       Gradually return to full running mileage

Those steps will probably take care of most cases of plantar fasciitis in runners. There are many other treatments for plantar fasciitis and there is no secret sauce for plantar fasciitis. Most of the other treatments you come across for plantar fasciitis are all aimed reducing the symptoms or helping the tissues heal and there is nothing wrong with that. In the long term, these other approaches are less likely to be successful without a reduction in the loads in the plantar fascia

There is a non-mechanical form of plantar fasciitis, so if you have an ongoing problem, that may need to be investigated.

Use Foot Orthotics Long Term?
Every guru has an answer for this; however it will vary from case to case. If the forces in the tissues are high, then it is likely that you will need to use foot orthotic long term. If the forces in the tissues are not so high, then there is good chance the use of foot orthotics will be short term. In this case you can start wearing the foot orthotic less and less and allow the tissue to adapt to the load. If they can not adapt, then you need to keep wearing them. Do not listen to the guru’s, listen to what your body is telling you.

If you want to know more about your particular case, then ask about it at the Foot Health Forum or look up plantar fasciitis at Running Research Junkie. Most importantly, stay away from all the snake oil.