If you’ve had a tear in the plantar fascia, you know how frustrating this can be and if you think it’s probably better and you’re going to start running, one of your big questions is probably, “How do I avoid a second tear in the plantar fascia?” That’s a great question and that’s what we’re talking about today in the Doc On The Run Podcast.
If you’re a runner and you go and tear your plantar fascia, this is going to be incredibly frustrating because most of the runners who call me who’ve had a tear in the plantar fascia, their routine goes something like this.
They start having heel pain, they think it’s plantar fasciitis. Maybe they have plantar fasciitis initially but one of two things happens, either they go to the doctor, they get a cortisone injection, it weakens the fascia and then they tear it or it doesn’t really hurt that bad so they just run with heel pain, and they’re told it’s self-limiting or something and they run and run and run and it continues to stay aggravated and inflamed, and the inflammatory fluid actually degrades the collagen and the fascia. It gets thicker, it gets weaker and it starts to get little micro tears in it.
So, when we say you have a tear in the plantar fascia, many people think that it means it’s ripped completely apart. But that’s not always the case. A lot of times it’s a little tear. If you have a little tear, particularly what we call an interstitial tear on the inside of the ligament itself, you might not see any bruising or the normal clues that tell you have a tear in the fascia.
But the thing they all have in common is that they treat it like plantar fasciitis. It kind of gets better, but not completely better and they stop running for weeks and then when they start running, well, it starts to hurt again. So, you take some more time off, maybe wear a fracture walking boot or a night splint or you do some stretches or any of these other things that people do for plantar fasciitis and it improves a little but it gets worse when you start running again.
If you think you finally got it better, the last thing that you want is for it to actually really tear and mess you up again. The way that you avoid that is first and foremost, this is going to sound silly, but you need to avoid the root causes of plantar fasciitis. You get plantar fasciitis because you have too much stress and strain on the fascia. That can happen for a couple of reasons. It could be your foot type, maybe you have flat feet or bunions or something like that, that actually puts more strain on the fascia when you stand up. You can address that with some inserts in your shoes or some stiffer shoes or motion control shoes. There’s lots of ways to go about it if that’s your issue.
But that’s not most people’s issue. Most people’s issue is a tight Achilles tendon and so if you’ve had a partial tear in the plantar fascia, and you want to start running and make sure it doesn’t happen again, the very best piece of advice I could give is make sure you do Achilles tendon stretches so that it puts less stress and strain on the fascia as you’re running.
You got to talk to your doctor, and you got to make it clear to your doctor that if you’ve had this injury you intend to run. So that’s another mistake runners make. But above all else, try to find out from your doctor what is it that really caused the plantar fascia strain in my case that stressed it so much than it actually tore and don’t do that again.
If you enjoyed this episode, please like it, please subscribe. And if you haven’t checked it out yet if you have a suspected issue with the plantar fascia, you might want to check out the heel pain masterclass. You can get it for free at www.docontherun.com/heelpainmasterclass. So go check it out, and I’ll see you in the training.