Today on the Doc On The Run podcast, we’re talking about where to run when you have plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and it’s also one of the most common reasons people actually go to the podiatrist and in fact, about 40% of all visits to podiatrists in the United States are because of this condition called plantar fasciitis. Well, what is it? Well, plantar fasciitis is just inflammation of the largest ligament in your foot and it’s where you get too much tension on the plantar fascial ligament that you start to get irritated and you get this inflammation, it causes pain. You get pain when you get up and step out of bed in the morning and if you don’t get it to calm down over time, the plantar fascial ligament will actually get thicker and damaged in a condition called tendonosis.
You don’t want that. So you got to get it to calm down. Well, the fastest way to get it to calm down is to reduce the stress and strain to the plantar fascia ligament so that it’ll actually heal. So if you’re going to try to run, well you have to do something to reduce the stress and strain to the plantar fascia ligament, while you’re running. This is really simple.
The easiest way to do that is to pick some place where you can run that will achieve that and I’m not talking about running in Hawaii versus Texas, and I’m not talking about running on a treadmill versus running outside. I’m talking about running on a surface that will actually supinate your foot to decrease the stress and strain on the ligament.
Let’s talk about how that works. If you look at your foot and you have, this is your foot, and you’ve got the heel bone sitting back here and your talus sits on top of the heel bone and you have the cuboid and the navicular and the cuneiforms and metatarsals, a whole bunch of other stuff you don’t really care about. That’s more or less your foot.
The plantar fascial ligament starts at the heel and then goes out toward the toes. So if you have stress applied in this direction and you do something to decrease the distance that thing spans, by for example, increasing the arch height that will actually reduce the stress and strain on the ligament. So how can you do that? Well, it depends on where you run. So if you think about this, if you go out for a run and you run on the road, well, the road is sloped, right? That’s more dramatic than it’s really sloped in real life but the gutter is collecting all the rainwater and the sidewalk slopes toward the road and the gutter and then you have the same thing on the other side.
But what you’re looking at is where you’ve got the center line coming down here is the sort of flattest part of the road and then it slopes down on either side. So if it is your right foot, let’s say, we’re looking from behind here. If you have plantar fasciitis on your right foot and you’re on this slope, then what happens? Well, this foot is supinated. So if this is looking at you from behind your right foot is actually supinated. If you’re running in the road with your back to traffic, if you’re on the other side of the road and you’re running facing traffic, well, same thing.
You’ve got your feet on the slope. Your shoes are in contact with a slope, your subtalar joint adjusts to actually adapt to that slope and in this case, the left foot is supinated the right foot is pronated. So when you supinate your foot, it actually increases the arch height and so the simplest thing you can do is actually pick one of these places to run.
Now again, if you’re on the other side of the sidewalk and you think about your shoes in contact with the sidewalk, your legs obviously are straight up then in this case, if this is looking from behind on the sidewalk over here, your right foot is actually supinated and opposite would be on the other sidewalk. So if you can actually pick a surface that actually slopes underneath you, that will make a huge difference.
Now, I actually got plantar fasciitis myself when I was training for Ironman races and the only treatment I did, the only thing I did different was I actually ran in the road with my back to traffic like this and my plantar fasciitis went away after a couple of weeks. I didn’t do anything else. No corticosteroid injections, no braces, no stretches, nothing and I did that as an experiment to see if it would actually help.
If your doctor told you to do something else, of course, listen to your doctor. I’m just telling you one thing that can actually help and why it can help. So if you have plantar fasciitis, pick a slope, that’ll actually work. That’ll help you by supinating your foot, and that’ll help you get back to running a lot faster.
Now, if you haven’t seen it yet, if you got plantar fasciitis, you have heel pain, you should check out something I made for you. We’ll have a link in the show notes. It’s called two reasons runners with heel pain don’t get better. So you should definitely check that out. Just go to docontherun.com, go to the podcast tab and then at the bottom of that page, you’ll be able to get a link. You can get it and you can check it out for free and I’ll see you in the next training.
Now try this out. It should really help. And if you found this useful, please like it, share it, subscribe. Please share it with somebody who might have runner’s heel pain so that they can also get back to running as quickly as possible.