Marathon Training and Plantar Fasciitis

Marathon Training and Plantar Fasciitis

September 16, 2017|By Rob Polk|No Comments »
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It’s almost marathon time in Chicago and thousands of runners have been training all year with the hopes of crossing the finish line in October. Unfortunately, for some, pain will prevent them from reaching their goal. The consistent running that is required in the marathon-training program to build up to 26.2 miles can cause many muscular conditions just through the repetitive motions that muscles engage in during the run.

Stiffness, pain and discomfort of the heel and plantar (bottom) surface of the foot are often attributed to a condition called plantar fasciitis. For avid runners, walkers or fitness enthusiasts, this condition can cause a lot of frustration, especially when people are trying to pursue their goals or engage in activities that bring them joy. Our feet are an important part of our body. They bear our weight and keep us in motion.

Plantar fasciitis is an injury caused by repetitive use of the muscles and plantar fascia, which is a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel through the plantar surface and arch of the foot. Over-tightening of the calf muscles can contribute to this condition as well.

There are several factors that increase the odds of plantar fasciitis, such as over-pronating feet, being overweight, having high arches, calf muscles that are tight, poor footwear or a previous injury. Another common cause is simply engaging in repetitive motions that cause tightening of the area, such as running and even walking. Common symptoms of this condition are a gradual onset of pain in the heel, pain radiating thru the bottom and arch of the foot, tenderness in the foot when stepping on the sole and/or heel.  Pain can range from being slightly uncomfortable to very painful, depending on the extent of the condition. Many people describe the condition as feeling as if needles are piercing through the bottom of the foot.

At Delos Therapy, we have had considerable success treating and eliminating plantar fasciitis, especially for our clients who are marathon runners. The reason our therapy is effective is because we focus on stretching the muscles and fascia in and around the area using precise pressure, which we believe is the most effective way to stretch bound-up tissue.

Often times people try stretching the area conventionally (or length-wise, by placing their foot at an angle and using a wall, for example, to try to lengthen the bottom of the foot). This type of stretching is very limited as it only impacts the healthy, elastic fibers that are capable of stretching. The fibers that are chronically contracted and tight do not respond to this method very well and need a more direct, multi-dimensional approach. Similarly, using a ball to roll over the tissue is too superficial and doesn’t actually get to the deep tightness from various angles that are knotted and hyper-contracted. Most people we see use conventional stretching and ball-rolling on a regular basis without sufficient relief, so something is obviously being missed.

Working through a treatment plan with us will re-structure the muscles of the foot and calf into a healthy and pliable muscular state, which will result in the relief of pain and stiffness.  Delos Therapy also can loosen these muscles as a preventative measure.  Our loosening technique enhances athletic performance by allowing the muscles of the feet and calves to be recruited so they can perform runs more efficiently and with less effort.

If you’re preparing for a race or struggling with this problem, continuing to be active will often exacerbate the issue if it isn’t addressed. When pain and discomfort become unbearable, they are the result of weeks, months and even years of repetitive motion that led to the chronic tightening of the plantar fascia. Resolving this issue takes some time, so we recommend immediate treatment. Our biggest pleasure is enabling runners to run the marathon when all odds were against them and they gave up hope. We’d hate to see anyone feel like they’ve wasted time training when we know that we can help.

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