Plantar Fasciitis, is a common and annoying injury affecting approximately 10% of distance runners.
I am not offering medical advice but a simple way that I agree with comes from Dr. Michaud on how to tell if you have plantar fasciitis versus a heel spur/stress fracture is to walk on your toes. Heel spurs and stress fractures generally feel better while you walk on your toes, while plantar fasciitis typically produces more discomfort when you shift your weight onto your toes. Unlike bone spurs and stress fractures of the heel, plantar fasciitis tends to produce pain during the pushoff phase while running, not during initial contact.
If you are experiencing persistent pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel or foot The cause of this pain may be be plantar fasciitis.
This is a condition that often can be treated without the help of a physician or trainer.
1. Stretch the plantar fascia. There are several ways to do this. You can prop your toes up against a wall, keeping your arch and heel flat so the toes stretch. Also you can use a towel or tension band as in this figure from Competitor magazine
2. Use a golf ball and massage the fascia. This was my favorite. You can start by using a tennis ball and eventually a golf ball under the foot, starting from the front and working your way back. Some people put the golf ball in the freezer. Alternatively this can be done with a frozen water bottle
3. Foam roll all muscles in the legs and lower back. Stretching hips, hamstrings and calves is also important
4. Support your arch or get a heal lift. Commercial insoles with an arch support or a heal lift are available in virtually every running store. This can be a relatively quick and easy albeit often temporary fix.
5. Consider a new pair of shoes. When shoes start to break down, plantar fasciitis sometimes strikes.
If pain persists, injections and other modalities are available but often times these are painful, expensive and temporary.