Contributed by Tim Flahaven. Owner of Fleet Feet and MIT Co-Director/Wise Sage.
One of the most common injuries for half and full marathoners is Plantar Fasciitis.
The plantar fascia is the ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot from the base of the heel to the ball of your foot. Plantar fasciitis pain most typically is found near the base of your heel bone. The most common complaints are burning, stabbing, or aching pain in the heel of the foot.
The plantar fascia absorbs the bulk of your weight and pressure during exercise and acts like a rubber band loosening and contracting with movement. Because of this function, plantar fasciitis can easily occur from a number of reasons. Among the most common is an overload of physical activity or exercise. Wearing improper shoes can also be a major contributor to plantar fasciitis.
Flat feet, high arches and pronation also cause the fascia tissue to become overworked or stretched abnormally, resulting in tears and inflammation. Age and pregnancy also play a role as with age our muscles and tendons can grow weaker and more susceptible to strains and tears.
Treating plantar fasciitis can typically be done at home without the need for seeing a specialist. Calf raises on a step, or clutching a towel with your toes are two great ways to strengthen the plantar fascia. In some cases wearing the Strassburg Sock at night can be very beneficial when suffering from plantar fasciitis.
If exhibiting extreme pain you should consult a physician as untreated symptoms could lead to the plantar fascia tearing completely requiring surgery.