March injury season is so common within the world of runners that as a physiotherapist, I can almost mark the exact date that enquiries for treatment will increase in my calendar.
January means 1 thing – goal setting. For many new runners that goal might be to run their first half marathon event while existing runners spend January increasing their mileage and dropping weight.
By the time February rolls around the temptation is to really ramp up the mileage (often far too quickly) which means that 1 thing is far too common – injury!
As runners we’re prone to picking up injuries and if I had to name the most common running injury that I see at this time of year then it’s without a doubt plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs under your foot and often becomes inflamed when running. It can be caused by a number of factors such as:
- Too many miles too quickly
- Poor footwear (if you are suffering make sure to read our guide to the best plantar fasciitis running shoes)
- Poor warm-up
- Poor running style
While there really is no substitute for seeing a good physio, there are some things that you can do to reduce your suffering.
Rest – Let’s face it, we like to think that we’re made of tough stuff. For too long the macho idea that suffering is the only way to achieve results has been gospel in the world of running and while it’s true that suffering at the right time is important, the truth is that often you need to rest.
Nowhere is this more true than with an injury, especially plantar fasciitis. Take 1 or 2 weeks off from running and give the tissue in your foot time to recover and for the inflammation to go down.
Roll – More and more runners are turning to foam rollers as a way to help reduce injury and speed up rehabilitation. One of the best exercises for helping with plantar fasciitis is golf ball rolling.
Take a golf ball and place it under the arch of your foot. Practice rolling the ball around with the arch of the affected foot for two minutes before repeating with the other foot.
Rehab – without a doubt the best way to manage the symptoms of plantar fasciitis is to seek professional help. It’s important that you don’t ignore the symptoms hoping that it will go away.
Proper physio is an investment in yourself and can see the time you spend with an injury dramatically reduced.