Luckily, plantar fasciitis is much easier to explain than it is to pronounce.
It’s basically an injury which you’d recognize from a very sharp pain, similar to a pinprick, underneath your foot.
It can come from too much running, having a long term problem with an Achilles tendon not properly fixed, from wearing running shoes a little too tight, running on hard surfaces (causing the muscles to tighten and joints to stiffen) or even… a weak lower back.
Take your pick!
Either way, it can be debilitating. And it can be quite painful too! Particularly for the first 20 minutes or so when you get out of bed.
It is made more likely by running on a hard, concrete surface in an attempt to increase cardiovascular fitness.
Another injury I would expect to see happen a lot more this time of the year is shin splints.
Again, it’s an overuse type of injury mainly occurring in runners either trying to increase cardio outdoors or even preparing for a half or full marathon. This common injury typically rears its ugly head around this time of year, due to over-training.
But, you don’t usually see something like this with those professional runners or athletes.
Why is that?
Simply put, it’s because they are better prepared when it comes to having core stability muscles working to limit the risk of any of these injuries occurring.
In the early stages of training, you’re likely to see a lot more impact of ‘sudden’ ankle and foot injuries. This happens because of the hard surfaces most runners will train on over the course of those weeks, and some injuries are just hard to avoid.
My tip for you to maintain fitness but limit stress through the foot and ankle to help avoid plantar fasciitis is to vary your training.
Get on your bike. Go for a swim. Do things like the elliptical or rower, so you’re not constantly training on hard ground.
Dr. Nick Hunter is the founder of Preferred Physical Therapy, 18301 N. 79th Avenue, Suite B122, Glendale; for more information, call 623-486-3333 or visit preferredptaz.com.