Plantar Fasciitis in Runners

1: Too much too soon

It is not uncommon to find Plantar Fasciitis in runners who have increased the intensity of their training programme too quickly. There should always be a gradual increase in the number of days training per week and likewise, a gradual increase in the distance of each run. Failure to follow this general rule can lead to Plantar Fasciitis in runners as well as other foot and leg injuries.

2: Hill training

We commonly see Plantar Fasciitis in runners who have been training on hills or inclines. Hill training loads the foot more than running on a level surface. This increase in strain can lead to Achilles tendon issues, calf tears or Plantar Fasciitis in runners.

3: Boot camp

The explosive nature of some of the programmes in boot camp follows a definite trend in the onset of Plantar Fasciitis. Ballistic movements such as jumping, sprinting and skipping can add significant load to the foot. So while Plantar Fasciitis in runners is common, it also affects the recreational athlete in boot camp or body attack type classes too.

4: Tight calf muscles

Plantar Fasciitis in runners with tight calf muscles is extremely common. Running is a movement that loads the calf muscles and it is essential that this lower leg muscle group be stretched after each run. Performing short calf stretches before the run and longer stretches after the run is advised, and this can help to reduce the chances of Plantar Fasciitis in runners.

5: Running shoes

Unsuitable running shoes can lead to Plantar Fasciitis in runners. Running shoe suitability is a very specific science these days as the technology in the shoes continues to evolve. A person’s body weight, foot shape, running style, or foot type will determine which make and model of running shoe would be most suitable. Failure to use a suitable running shoe can not only lead to Plantar Fasciitis in runners but other conditions too, such as tendonitis or stress fractures.

6: Forefoot striking

Running style is a contentious topic, and what works well for one person might not necessarily work well for another. (Body weight, stride length and cadence are but a few of the relevant factors that can make a difference). That said, there is an argument that forefoot loading adds extra strain to the foot and calf muscles. It is not uncommon to come across Plantar Fasciitis in runners with this particular running style. Some Sports Podiatrists will argue that it is the tightening of the calf muscles in patients with this running style that causes extra pulling on the heel and hence leads to Plantar Fasciitis in runners, while others will support the fact that there is simply an overload of pressure with each foot strike, which creates the pulling of the Plantar Fascia on the heel. While it is known that Plantar Fasciitis in runners occurs with other running styles, we can not ignore the fact that it occurs commonly in the forefoot striker.

7: Other sports

While Plantar Fasciitis in runners is common, it occurs in other sports too. As discussed above, boot camp has its fair share of victims, as does the Golf course, due to its undulating surfaces and the shear length of time that the participants spend walking them. Tennis produces patients with Plantar Fasciitis, as does the world of soccer and basketball. As a general trend, Plantar Fasciitis in runners occurs due to the same factors as those seen in these other sports – foot strain and tight calf muscles.

You might also want to learn about the following:

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
Plantar Fasciitis Recovery Time

Or watch the video to learn more: Plantar Fasciitis Video


Written by Karl Lockett