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A Step in the Right Direction: The Basics of Plantar Fasciitis

In the beginning of August, we hosted our 24th Annual St. Barnabas Run/Walk. Leading up to this event, we offered training tips to prepare runners for race day.

Though running is a generally safe sport, injuries can happen. That’s why it’s important to be prepared and knowledgeable when dealing with a sports-related injury.

Today, we’re going to cover the topic of plantar fasciitis, a common complaint among runners.

Plantar fasciitis is the painful inflammation of a thick band of tissues, known as the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes.

It’s one of the most common causes of heel pain and often triggers stabbing pains that occur when you take your first steps in the morning. However, once your foot begins to warm up for the day, the pain of plantar fasciitis often subsides, but may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.

Among runners and walkers, this particular injury can be caused by a drastic or sudden increase in mileage. So, if you went from the couch right to running long distances, you are more apt to develop this injury. But that’s not the only way to find yourself battling this particular type of foot pain.

Below are the most common risk factors that are associated with developing plantar fasciitis:

  • Age– This ailment is common among people between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Biomechanical flaws– Flat feet, high arches and a tight Achilles tendon are all examples of poor foot mechanics. All of these can factor into an abnormal walking pattern, which affects the way a person’s weight is distributed when standing or walking. This can add stress to the plantar fascia.
  • Exercise– Physical activities that put stress on the heel and plantar fascia, such as long-distance running and aerobics, can add to an earlier onset of plantar fasciitis.
  • Obesity– It may not come as a surprise, but, in addition to the myriad of health problems that obesity creates, extra stress on the plantar fascia is another issue that’s a product of excess weight.
  • Unsupportive Footwear – Shoes that don’t support your foot, such as flip flops and ballet flats, can compound stress on an already taxed plantar fascia, causing the irritation to become even more pronounced.

If left untreated, plantar fasciitis could become a chronic condition.

Check back in the coming weeks to learn more about the common treatment options that are available to treat plantar fasciitis.

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St. Barnabas Health System,
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St. Barnabas Health System
5850 Meridian Road
Gibsonia, PA 15044

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