Running is an awesome activity. No seriously, it’s loads of fun as it’s usually a great source of camaraderie. While for some it may have some deeper value as running more often than not is a therapeutic activity for them. Running is so important for so many people around the world. But like everything in life, running also has its cons. Being a runner is no easy task, even more so when you’re a competitive runner. And the biggest con of them all is getting injured.
But what if you’ve been training for a big race for the last 6 months. It’s 4 weeks out to your event and you decide to add in an extra long run this weekend. You’ve been feeling a bit sluggish so you thought getting in some extra minutes on the road can only help. It’s been almost 90 minutes and you’ve hit your stride pace. You suddenly feel a warm almost numbing sensation in your left heel. You ignore it, and soldier on. It gets worse, it starts radiating into the base of your foot and the warm numbing sensation has turned into a sharp almost burning feeling. You slow down, but it gets worse. Eventually you have no other choice but to stop.
This is horrible, an injury so close to your race. The next day you wake up and you can barely walk for the first 30 minutes. It eventually gets better and you decide to visit your family doctor. He confirms your suspicion… It’s PLANTAR FASCIITIS!
Okay, yes this story might be a bit dramatic but unfortunately it’s not at all uncommon. So let’s say you’ve found yourself in this untimely situation. And now you need to know:
How to treat plantar fasciitis before a run: limited time, no problem.
The biggest factor here is your lack of time. That means you will need to use your time wisely.
The best way to go about this is to have a plan. And here is the plan:
This breakdown is aimed at relieving pain, rehabilitating the injury and maintaining your fitness levels. Let’s get into it by starting with point number one:
Treat the Symptoms
When it comes to plantar fasciitis the only real symptom that needs treatment is a piercing or stabbing pain near the heel of the foot. In our previous edition of this series we discussed the RICE protocol as the way to go when treating Plantar Fasciitis. And while that may be true, the RICE protocol requires one crucial factor… Time.
With your race or event fast approaching time is one thing you do not have an abundance of, so RICE might not be the best fit.
But don’t despair we have a plan C and C stands for contrast as in contrast therapy. Or more specifically contrast hydrotherapy. Contrast loosely translates to opposites, and in this case it’s HOT and COLD. Hydrotherapy means “using water as a therapeutic tool”.
This is a popular method amongst seasoned athletes to treat injuries. It works by completing immersing your injured limb into hot and cold water, quickly alternating between the two. For example, get 2 buckets of water, one hot and one cold. Submerge your foot in the hot water for 15 seconds and then immediately switch to the cold water for another 15 seconds. Repeat the process for 15-20 minutes.
Despite not having massive amounts of scientific evidence backing this method most athletes, coaches and doctors swear by it. And so do we. I mean it’s cheap, safe and easy to implement so who are we to disagree with years of experience. And the fact that you’re pushed for time, you literally have nothing to lose.
The usual prognosis for plantar fasciitis rehab stretches anywhere from 6 weeks to 9 months. Unfortunately, we do not have that kind of time. So in an effort to speed up this process we’re going to use three techniques:
Now I know some of this might seem tedious, but honestly you need to persevere. We can’t guarantee that any of this will work but it will help, and that’s all that matters right?
Modified Training Program
This might sound counter-intuitive because most therapists will tell you to rest. But again, we don’t have that luxury. So maintaining a sufficient level of fitness is absolutely vital to ensure you can compete. And you will be achieving this by utilizing low to zero impact exercises.
* Stationary bicycles
* Rowing or rowing machines
* Elliptical training
Are all methods to maximize your fitness levels without running the risk of re-injuring yourself or delaying your recovery.
In short, if you find yourself in this predicament, don’t panic. Set up a plan, follow through and be patient and trust the process. It might feel like all hope is lost, but that’s why we are to help you navigate this problem and get you back on the road asap!