In early October we put up a poll on our blog asking the Tommie Copper family about running-related injuries. The results were interesting.
59% of those responding have had a running-related injury and use compression to help relieve pain and support the body while the remaining 41% are lucky to be injury free and tend to look towards compression wear to aid performance and speed muscle recovery.
The most common injuries were Plantar Fasciitis (foot) and Runners Knee, followed behind by the diabolical shin splint. An interesting connection to note is that foot pain is directly related to other common pains found elsewhere in the body as we tend to compensate for foot pain by changing how we carry our body; Thus, knee and shin pain are, not surprisngly, right behind foot pain in the poll!
For those that were wondering, the Plantar Fascia is the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes and when inflamed can make walking, standing or running quite painful. While P.F. is actually quite common as we edge towards middle age, it is strikingly prevalent amongst younger athletes, soldiers or people who are just on their feet a lot.
For many of us, we cannot change the above facts (our age and activity level) but WebMD lists the main causes of P.F., a few of which we can actively work on to help ease the foot pain (and maybe the other pain as well) without resorting to pills.
1) Excessive foot pronation and/or worn out shoes. I ran for the longest time in my old shoes, unaware of the damage it was going to my fee--and by proxy the rest of my body. Always go to a podiatrist or an expert on running to be fitted for proper shoes and/or medical insoles. Remember that foot pronation, a slightly longer or shorter leg, or an unusual gait can not only cause foot pain but pain in the knees, back and hips.
2) High arches or flat feet also effect how our body distributes pressure onto our feet and ligaments. Once again, look into a podiatrist or running export to check your running or walking style to identify whether pronation or high arches affect your comfort. Try "rolling" on the arch and heel before and after exercise, making sure to warm up the ligaments before starting off.
3) Excessive body weight causes not only that extra weight to be transferred to our feet but it can change the actual mechanics of our bodies' movements. If you are struggling with Plantar Fasciitis and exercising to lose weight just bear in mind that it is a long process. Ease into exercise with lots of stretching, proper shoes and diet. As the weight comes off, you should be able to look forward to an easing of these pains caused by weight.
If anyone else has interesting information regarding Plantar Fasciitis, from causes to cures, be sure to post below!