If you have heel pain, and you call for a ride instead of finishing your run, it’s not plantar fasciitis. And that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
Just today I was on a call with an injured runner and she had been told that she had plantar fasciitis. But she called me because she was confused and she started doing some research, she enrolled in the runner’s heel pain course and she was trying to figure out, is this really plantar fasciitis or not.
During that call after she told me her story, I basically was saying, “Okay, look, when I lecture to physicians at medical conferences about runners heel pain, there is a slide that I have in there where I’m talking about the difference between plantar fasciitis and something else like a partial rupture of the plantar fascia.” I said the real difference is that if your patient says, “Well, I knew exactly at three miles into my 10 mile run, or I was halfway through the half marathon and I had to stop and start walking.” They know the exact moment it started. It’s almost never plantar fasciitis.
Interestingly, when I explain this, what she said was, “Well, actually what happened was it was three miles into my run and I called my husband to come pick me up because it hurts so bad and I knew I couldn’t walk the rest of the way home.” So, this is not plantar fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis almost never has an exact timeframe onset.
I will ask patients, when do you think your plantar fasciitis started? And they’ll say, “Well, I don’t know maybe October and then they look back and they realized that it was actually maybe August.” It’s one of those things that starts very slowly it gets progressively worse, it becomes more and more bothersome and then you finally seek help after it’s getting really annoying. But other things don’t do that. Calcaneal stress fractures, they’ll stop you in the middle of a run. That’s a stress fracture in the heel bone by the way, a calcaneal stress fracture. That’s just a fancy term. But if you have a tear in the plantar fascia, then that’s one of those things that can stop you in your tracks.
There are lots of other things that are in this area where you would get plantar fasciitis, but they’re not plantar fasciitis. So, just because you have heel pain, it does not mean that you’ve got plantar fasciitis. Even though that’s the most common thing, that’s not always what it is. But if you call for a ride and you stop because you can’t do the run and you can’t finish it because it hurts that much. almost certainly not plantar fasciitis.
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