I am new to minimal running. I have a question regarding what a suitable game plan for minimal running. I have an occasional flare up of plantar fasciitis in my left foot and am a bit concerned about making it worse with running shoes having minimal support. I am doing some arch strengthening exercises, but am wondering if there are any suggestions dealing with minimal running making the plantar fasciitis worse.
Thanks in advance.
Plantar fasciitis is the common term for what should be more accurately termed Plantar fasciosis. “Itits” is an acute inflammation caused by a trauma or infection. “osis” is chronic degenerative condition. Most Achilles pain is “osis” also, not an acute inflammation. No evidence exists for an ideal treatment of this condition without identifying and treating the causes, which can be many. Since we have no literature to guide us this advice comes from seeing hundreds of runners and guiding them in self corrections. Let’s review what the plantar fascia is: it is strong ligament that runs from the heel to the metatarsal heads in the front of your foot. This ligament helps absorb the shock that occurs when your foot contacts the ground as you first step down. It then holds the toes firmly on the ground as your body passes over your foot. Several structural causes can contribute: • Weak intrinsic muscles of the foot • A misaligned and weak first toe • Tight shortened calf muscles • Tight plantar fascia Other important contributers: • increased mechanical stress from the amount of running or activity • Obesity • Adapting too fast from supportive footwear which inhibits intrinsic muscles to flat shoes or barefoot (i.e. summer if going quickly into flip flops or barefoot) • Poor walking and running mechanics So what can you do to correct this? A few basic principles but this varies depending on the cause: • Any support from an orthotic or arch support or taping should be a temporary modality while you strengthen the lengthen the tissues to optimal. Using one of these forever is akin to breaking your arm and leaving the cast on forever (in one week muscles are atrophied from disuse) • Doing eccentric drop down exercises from a stair can help. Place foot on stair and drop heels down. It is OK to have a little pain doing this as long as it is getting progressively better • Dorsiflex the big toe to lengthen PF if it is tight • Get out of heels gradually in ALL activity • Work on foot intrinisics…pick things up with your foot. Walk barefoot. • Run and walk with a Chi Running and Chi Walking technique- avoiding “pushing” the ground • Strengthen big toe by pushing it into the ground as often as you can…while standing at all times of the day. This will wake up the foot muscles and help recreate the arch. • If you first toe is bent in consider a product to straighten it like “Correct toes” from Dr. Ray McClanahan • Use principle of gradual progression and body sensing when making any changes • Avoid NSAIDS (motrin, ibuprofen). These drugs interfere with natural healthy healing processes. • See a good health provider who understands running and walking