In this 3 part series, Dr. Ivy Roe, one of our talented Performance Physical Therapists and our resident running guru, will break down several issues that plague runners in their quest.Runners Training in a Green Field for their next PR.
Plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints…any of these sound familiar? It is estimated up to 82% of runners will get injured at some point during their training. 
If you intend to run at almost any intensity, you will run right into pain that will slow you down; then, what do you do? Do you try to run through it? Take time off and rest. See a doctor? Ask your friends what they’ve done when they’ve been injured?
This three-part post will describe some common running injuries, examples of self-treatment, and what to do if you can’t get back to your full health and running routine.

Injury #1: Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia, an important structural component on the bottom of the foot that helps with the stability of the foot and ankle. Typically, a person will start to have pain in their heel, especially with the first step out of bed in the morning and during prolonged standing, walking, and running. If the plantar fascia is inflamed or irritated it interferes with normastandardanics of the foot and ankle, which then causes dysfunction up the entire leg, even causing issues up into the spine. So not only will a person have pain in their foot, but they may then develop compensation patterns leading to knee, hip, or spinal pain…all because of your foot!! There is no need to throw in the towel; a few self-treatments effectively relieve a person’s foot/heel pain and allow them to get back to their normal activities, especially running.

Self-treatment of plantar fasciitis is not difficult. First is to ensure the plantar fascia is moving correctly and not getting “stuck” anywhere in the foot. Cross your affected leg on top of the other, then press firmly into the sole of your foot, looking for any tender or tight spots. When you find a spot, keep your finger firmly pressed into it and gently bend your big toe upward toward your shin using your other hand. This can help break up scar tissue and myofascial restrictions that do not allow the plantar fascia to function properly. Do this at least once daily, then stretch your calf muscles. Also, ice the sole of your foot with either a bag of ice or freezing a Coke bottle and roll your foot over it for 10-20 minutes daily, especially after a lot of impact activity like running.

At our clinic, we have developed a Runner’s Screening Exam which hones in on the areas of the body that are most important for efficient running form and tests specific areas needed for optimal running performance. For example, a runner comes in with suspected plantar fasciitis, and we put them through the Runner’s Screening Exam. A dysfunction we may find is weak hip stabilizer muscles, such as the gluteus medius, which will then cause increased stress on the plantar fascia from improper mechanics. We then design a comprehensive and individualized rehabilitation plan with a home exercise program to address the dysfunction/s we find and get you back to running. Not only do we correct the dysfunction/s that caused the plantar fasciitis in the first place, but we arm you with tools to prevent it from happening again.