Questions & Answers

Hello From Stittsville (and game plan request)


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.



Answers and Replies


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



While I don't suffer from this problem, that is the best explanation and recommendation I've read on it. Thanks for posting. I learned several things.


Great post Mark! I think we everybody can pick up lot's of tips from there. I could add at least one point to dealing with PF (which also can be used with all of us who run with minimal shoe wear or barefoot).

  • Treating shorten calfmuscles: One great way is to take care of Triggerpoints on calf (=single musclefibre which has contracted). Use tennis ball under calf while you are sitting on the ground - roll it over muscle (10-20 sec) there where you feel "pain" - move to next this several times a day.


I started doing yoga and to my surprise I no longer have pain from Plantar fasciitis. I woke up one morning and realized that my aches and pains had dissapeared. I am also trying to get back to running and I feel chi running has made the process easier.


I am also combating plantar fasciitis (fasciosis) in my left foot while attempting a transition to full time zero-drop footwear (it’s been about eight months). It’s not a severe case, but the injury has nagged at me for about three months. In the last few weeks, I have had gradual success healing it with common methods, see (icing with a can of frozen beans, taping, stretching before getting out of bed or after long periods of sitting, eccentric heel dips to keep calves flexible). I also continue to run in traditional trainers for about 30% of my mileage. I would like to continue reducing my miles in these shoes but I can’t seem to get over this 30% hump, especially with the injury.

I wonder why my left foot, and not my right, is injured and whether my increased use of minimal footwear contributes to this. My injured foot seems to have a higher arch than my healthy foot and I land more on the outer edge of my injured foot (under 4th and 5th mets) than I do my healthy foot (more like 2nd and 3rd mets). I am trying to determine whether this outer-edge landing, which I think contributes to more stress on my left foot’s plantar fascia, is reduced or increased when running in minimalist footwear. I am hoping that improved biomechanics and stronger feet from minimalist running will alleviate this problem in the long term.

But in the short term I have been able to increase my mileage and intensity in minimalist footwear while still gradually healing my plantar fasciitis.

Good luck with your efforts! Maybe we can compare notes down the road.


@m george: When you are running miles down the road - which side of the road are you running? Most of us are usually running on the left side of the road... what a hack has this to do with our plantarfasciosis - well, roads are built never plain - they are convex in the middle (because water shall flow to side of the road) - and now when we are running on the left side of the road day in - day out - mile after mile... and every step landing our left foot on the lower surface than right one... our body adapts this and hitting harder all the time with our left foot - can cause irritation on our plantar fascia - and whole left foot/hip...

This may sound silly, but think about it ;-).


Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it. This makes good sense to me and I actually think about the slope of the road when I do run on the side of a road, which is virtually never. I do almost all of my running on sidewalks and rec trails. I try to stay in the middle of those when I can. Thanks again.


Great information there Mark - thank you!

Many years ago I had a sharp pain in my heel (shallow, not in the bone) whenever I tried to run, and sometimes walking too, and it was eventually diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. Ok, it very likely wasn't that from your description, but the podiatrist gave me acupuncture, and it went away very quickly.

I'm not an acupuncture nut - I've had it on other occasions for other problems and it didn't work. But it occurs to me that it might be no harm people giving it a go for underfoot pain.


Mark - thanks for the great information! and yes i do believe the slope of the road can have an impact on this issue.

Also, for everyone out there,not just injury sufferers, an nice way to provide some trigger point therapy for the foot is to sit and roll a golf ball around with as much pressure as feels right.

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