Managing and Preventing Plantar Fasciitis in Running

Jan 10, 2024

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that affects many runners, causing heel pain and discomfort. It occurs when the thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that connects the heel bone to the toes becomes inflamed or irritated. In this article, Hello Physio SG, a leading health and sports medicine center specializing in physical therapy, provides valuable insights and expert advice on managing and preventing plantar fasciitis in the context of running.

Understanding Plantar Fasciitis

Before discussing the prevention and management strategies for plantar fasciitis, it is important to understand its causes and symptoms. Plantar fasciitis often occurs due to repetitive strain on the plantar fascia, resulting from activities like running, jumping, or excessive walking. It can also be influenced by factors such as:

  • Improper footwear with inadequate arch support
  • Tight calf muscles and Achilles tendon
  • Excessive pronation (inward rolling) or supination (outward rolling) of the feet
  • Overweight or obesity
  • High-impact activities on hard surfaces
  • Foot abnormalities

Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Sharp pain in the heel or arch of the foot
  • Pain that is worse in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest
  • Pain that increases with activity and improves with rest
  • Stiffness and limited movement in the affected foot

Prevention Strategies for Runners

Preventing plantar fasciitis is essential for maintaining an active and pain-free running routine. Follow these expert-recommended strategies to minimize the risk:

1. Proper Footwear Selection

Investing in quality running shoes that provide adequate arch support, cushioning, and stability is crucial for preventing plantar fasciitis. Look for shoes specifically designed for running to ensure proper shock absorption and reduced impact on the feet.

2. Gradual Training Progression

Avoid sudden increases in running intensity or mileage, as it can put excessive strain on your feet and increase the risk of plantar fasciitis. Instead, gradually increase the duration and intensity of your runs to allow your muscles and tissues to adapt to the stress.

3. Stretching and Strengthening Exercises

Regular stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve the flexibility and strength of your feet and lower legs, reducing the risk of plantar fasciitis. Perform exercises targeting the calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia to maintain optimal conditioning.

4. Proper Warm-up and Cool-down

Prior to each run, perform a dynamic warm-up routine that includes leg swings, ankle rotations, and gentle calf stretches. After your run, cool down by walking and performing static stretches to gradually relax the muscles and reduce tension on the plantar fascia.

5. Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pain in your feet. If you experience persistent heel pain or suspect the early symptoms of plantar fasciitis, modify your training routine, decrease the intensity, and consult with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive assessment.

Management Strategies for Runners

If you are already experiencing plantar fasciitis, the following management strategies can help alleviate symptoms and support the healing process:

1. Rest and Ice

Take a break from high-impact activities like running to allow your feet to rest and heal. Applying ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day can also help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

2. Stretching and Massage

Gentle stretching exercises targeting the plantar fascia, calf muscles, and Achilles tendon can provide relief and promote healing. Additionally, using a massage ball or rolling your foot over a frozen water bottle can help alleviate pain and decrease inflammation.

3. Footwear Modifications

Consider using orthotic inserts or custom-made shoe inserts to provide additional arch support and cushioning. These modifications can help distribute pressure evenly and reduce strain on the plantar fascia.

4. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy plays a vital role in the management of plantar fasciitis. Working with a skilled physical therapist, you can receive specialized treatments such as ultrasound therapy, manual techniques, and tailored exercise programs to alleviate pain, promote healing, and prevent recurrence.

5. Anti-inflammatory Medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), prescribed by your healthcare professional, can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.


Plantar fasciitis should not keep runners from pursuing their passion. With careful prevention and effective management strategies, such as proper footwear selection, gradual training progression, stretching exercises, and seeking professional assistance from Hello Physio SG, runners can ensure a comfortable and pain-free running experience. Remember to listen to your body, pay attention to any warning signs, and take necessary steps to prevent and manage plantar fasciitis effectively.

plantar fasciitis running