Puma Hybrid Site Take Over
Midrand Striders Half Marathon
25 Jul, 2018

Feet of Flames


When you take those first few step in the morning, or after sitting for a while, and the bottoms of your feet hurt like crazy with a burning pain, chances are you have plantar fasciitis, a common overuse running injury, but the good news is that a bit of rest should be enough to get you up and running again. – BY SEAN FALCONER

Knee pain, shin splints and Achilles pain seem to get all the ‘fame and glory’ when it comes to running injuries, whereas the bottom of the foot literally stays out of the limelight. Until you get plantar fasciitis, that is. Then every step just walking can be painful, let alone actually running. If you’re lucky, the pain will go away or get less after a few steps, but your foot may hurt still more as the day goes on, especially when you go up stairs or just stand for a long time.

The plantar fascia is the thick, fibrous band of tissue (fascia) that reaches from the heel to the toes, supporting the muscles and arch of the foot. When this fascia is overly stretched, tiny tears can occur in its surface, causing inflammation and pain when you stand or walk. This is known as Plantar fasciitis, and can happen in one foot or both. It is common in middle-aged people, but can also occur in younger people who are on their feet a lot, like athletes, especially if:

  • Your feet roll inward too much (overpronate) when you run.
  • You have high arches or flat feet.
  • You walk, stand, or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
  • You are overweight.
  • You wear shoes that don’t fit well or are worn out.
  • You have tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles.

When you go for a check-up, your doctor will check your feet and watch you stand and walk, and may take an X-ray if he suspects a problem with the bones of your foot, such as a stress fracture. Once diagnosed as plantar fasciitis, there is no single treatment that works best for everyone, but there are several things you can try:

  • Give your feet a rest: Cut back on activities that make your foot hurt, and try not to walk or run on hard surfaces.
  • Ice your heel: This will reduce the pain and swelling. Alternatively, take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or aspirin.
  • Stretch the fascia: Do toe stretches, calf stretches and towel stretches several times a day, especially when you wake up. (For towel stretches, pull on both ends of a rolled towel that you place under the balls of your feet.)
  • Replace your shoes: Pick shoes with good arch support and a cushioned sole, or try heel cups or shoe inserts (orthotics).

If these treatments do not help, your doctor may give you a splint to wear at night, shots of steroid medicine in your heel, or other treatments. You will likely not need surgery, which is only recommended for people who still have pain after trying other treatments for six to 12 months. Instead, good old rest is your best bet to get over the problem.

IMAGE: Shutterstock


Race Calendar - August 2018

08 August 2018 - Want to get ready for some fast racing in Spring? Need to get your legs moving again after some winter hibernation? Then check out all the races in August and use them as a great stepping stone to ...

Mokoka Claims Eighth SA 21K Title

31 July 2018 - For the third consecutive year the often windy city of Port Elizabeth produced a perfect day for running for the Nelson Mandela Bay ASA Half Marathon Championships on Saturday 28 July, and the athl...

Blazing a New Trail

26 July 2018 - The old saying “Dynamite comes in small packages” could have been written for Shafeeqah Gordon, a Cape Town trail runner with the heart of a warrior and the motivation to prove that you...

Get ready for the Discovery Tough Mudder!

25 July 2018 - Tough Mudder, the world’s leading obstacle course challenge, announced today its ground-breaking partnership with Discovery that will see the inaugural Discovery Tough Mudder coming to South ...

2018 Old Mutual Soweto Marathon: Runners workshop

25 July 2018 - In 2018, the year where the Old Mutual Soweto Marathon celebrates its 25th edition, we are on a mission to empower the novice runners with knowledge that will enable them to ‘Run their Great&...

The Incredible Comeback

25 July 2018 - After surviving a brutal attack in February that had many thinking his running career was prematurely over, Thabang Mosiako not only returned to running incredibly quickly, but also stronger than b...

Rikenette’s Record

25 July 2018 - After coming back from an operation on her foot and having to learn to walk again, multiple SA Champion Rikenette Steenkamp had been frustratingly close to breaking the 21-year-old SA Record for th...

A Select Comrades Club

25 July 2018 - Winning the Comrades Marathon is considered one of the pinnacles of achievement in South African road running. It brings a massive payday, makes you a household name and really puts you on the runn...

Freeze-proof Fitness

25 July 2018 - There are two ways to approach winter from a training perspective: Stay tucked under warm blankets and sleep the winter away, or toughen up, get out of bed and set your body up for a few early spri...

Matters of the Heart

25 July 2018 - Dawie Aucamp has been running for 26 years, but the last few years have been really challenging after he suffered a heart attack while out training… even though he didn’t know that unt...

One More Time

11 July 2018 - Seven years after running her first three-day AfricanX Trailrun at the age of 67, evergreen Marianne Nelson returned in 2018 to give the race another go, and by the end of the event she had once ag...

Great Expectations

11 July 2018 - While some described Clarence Munyai’s fourth place in the Commonwealth Games 200m final as disappointing, it was actually an incredible achievement by an emerging young star. – BY SEAN...