Plantar Fasciitis – workouts & recovery tips?

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  • #16880

    Hey UA community,
    Coming down with a case of plantar fasciitis and am wondering if anyone has suggestions for:
    1) Workouts that are “off feet” but are as sport specific to the TFTNA program as possible? I am thinking elliptical, stationary bike, but not sure about swimming???
    I replaced a couple hikes with ski touring and, while better, it still leads to a bit of aggravation…

    2) Tips/suggestions for recovery and avoiding this overuse injury? I’ve got my first physiotherapy appointment in a couple days but am wondering if anyone’s got some personal experiences that have worked well for them?

    I’ve got a 3 week trekking expedition coming up @ the end of March so it’s less than ideal for this to pop up now 🙁

    Thank you!!

Posted In: Injury & Rehab

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #16884

    Ideally, avoid anything that aggravates it for now. It is an inflammatory issue so it will not be able to heal if it keeps getting aggravated.

    That being said, if ski touring, you could try to use your high heel bars to get your heel lifted. One of the treatments for PF is to use a heel lift in a shoe. It is usually caused by tight calves and big toe extension range of motion. So stretch those areas. If your PT does dry needling, that can help but beware it does not feel good.

    You could try the painfully mindless step up workout and see if that hurts. Doing stairs minimizes the dorsiflexion movement that causes pain in the PF so step ups might be okay.

    cnikirk on #16894

    A combination of green superfeet insoles and only running on trails seemed to help me a lot, but it was still a slow process. In face I wore the insoles constantly even when not training.
    Pretty sure running uphill started my whole issue.

    todd.struble on #16910

    I had mine initially from a backpacking trip with a too-heavy pack and poor arch support in my hiking boots and then playing too much soccer. I let mine get pretty bad before addressing it, because it’d feel OK after warming up and then I’d pay for it later and it got worse and worse.

    Here’s what resolved it for me: 1) A complete break from any soccer or running/high intensity leg work for about six weeks; 2) I bought aftermarket insoles with arch-support for all of my shoes; 3) I bought a splint that kept my foot/ankle at a 90 degree angle to wear at night to keep the calf stretched out; and 4) regular calf stretching.

    I think the thing that helped me the most (besides the rest) was getting the night splint. I felt like that put my calf to stay flexible and arch in a position to heal at night when sleeping, and then the insoles prevented it from getting worse during the day. But that’s my n=1 sample size.

    Anonymous on #16915

    Hey Guys:

    I have moved this thread to this new forum section focused on injury.

    We have enlisted a long time Physical Therapist friend, Pete Dickinson, who has worked on Steve, myself and many of the high level athletes I have coached over the years. Pete currently looks after the US Ski Team World Cup Cross Country Skiers.

    We’ll be fully rolling outs Pete’s involvement on the UA site with a bio and info page but this post seems like a perfect time to introduce him to the UA readers.

    I know you will be getting really solid advice from Pete.


    Pete Dickinson MS,PT on #16917

    Pete here, really excited to contribute to this community! I share the need to get back to effective training as quick as possible while dealing with injury.

    Good news/Bad news here! If you can intervene when it first starts, your success rate goes way up. I often deal with plantar fascitis that has gone on for MONTHS, that can be a different story. You first start with treating locally: arch support, change in footwear to more supportive, deep massage to the arch surfaces, kinesio taping or traditional athletic tape for support, and activity modification…ugh. Cycling with stiff shoes is usually well tolerated. Low rpm or standing intervals will address muscular endurance work. Deep water running in the pool would be better than swimming.

    If you dig a little deeper to the origins, you can avoid it in the future. Training errors are the usual cause, poor progression in volume/intensity/terrain/equipment (Shoes)! Have a plan, a coach, and follow the path.

    Calf and hamstring stiffness will create more restriction through the fascia, exacerbating heel pain. Dig a little deeper, and if your are over `30-40 the spine comes in to play as the cause of calf/hamstring tightness giving heel/foot pain. Of course every therapist will tell you the hip is ‘weak’ which increases the amount of work the foot has to do to control movement. One of my Olympians felt that getting really glut strong helped, but this does not work for everyone.

    Whew, a lot of ground to cover here. As you can see, there can be several causes and therefore people have success with different treatments and approaches. Start working on the calf mobility, arch soft tissue support, and have your therapist run down what is the cause of your plantar fascitis.


    TerryLui on #17285

    Thanks so much for the insight Pete!
    Your diagnosis/approach is exactly how my physio has got me tackling it. Calf mobility, arch soft tissue exercises, I’ve been doing various foot mobility/massage and stretches too.
    I was able to jump on it shortly after flaring up and it is progressing gradually. Think the issue was progressing in volume too fast (an issue I’ve stumbled on more than once…dumb me…)

    Thank you!!

    Ori on #55555


    Like your man Terry I’ve been affected by a case of PF. Fortunately I identified it quite quickly and have been seeing improvements over the last week or so with rehab exercises and a strict diet of no running, with some gentle swimming and cycling to stay active.

    I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions or tips regarding returning to a full running training load? Of course one should build up gradually, but I was curious if there is a consensus over how long a period this should be achieved, or any particular things to avoid in that transition back into running my pre-injury mileage?


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