Running with Plantar Fasciitis

Running with Plantar Fasciitis: Tips for Runners in the Downtown Core


For many runners in Downtown Toronto, hitting the pavement is more than just exercise—it’s a lifestyle. However, when foot pain strikes, particularly from conditions like plantar fasciitis, it can put a damper on our passion for running. As a competitive runner myself, This article will explore what plantar fasciitis entails, how it impacts runners specifically, and most importantly, how to manage it while still pursuing our running goals.

Cause of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot ailment characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that supports the arch of the foot. For runners, the repetitive stress of running can exacerbate this inflammation, resulting in pain and discomfort, especially in the heel area. This pain can occur anywhere along the plantar fascia band, from the middle arch to the heel or borders of the foot. It’s often a result of biomechanical imbalances in the foot and lower extremity combined with overuse stress.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and Mayo Clinic, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and can be particularly challenging for runners due to the repetitive impact on the feet.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

As dedicated runners, it’s crucial to pay attention to our bodies and recognize the signs of plantar fasciitis, which may include:

  • Sharp or stabbing pain in the heel, particularly upon waking or after periods of rest.
  • Tenderness and stiffness in the bottom of the foot, especially near the heel and arch.
  • Increased pain during or after running, which may subside with rest but return after activity.

What to Expect from Your Running-Focused Physio and Foot Clinic

When visiting a running-focused physio and foot clinic, you can expect:

  • Thorough Assessment: Evaluating the severity of the injury and determining a treatment and rehabilitation plan.
  • Tailored Advice: If the pain is rated 4 or greater, low-impact cross-training may be recommended to allow the injury to recover. Specific exercises will be suggested based on pain levels before you return to running.
  • Continued Running: If the pain is less than 3 and does not worsen during or after running, you may continue to run with caution, potentially reducing overall mileage, intensity, and duration.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for general guidance only. Each individual should receive a personalized assessment from a qualified physiotherapist or running focused medical professional. Following the advice without proper assessment may result in injury or adverse effects. Always consult with your healthcare professional before making changes to your training regimen.

Expert Advice from a Running-Focused Clinic

Professionals at a running-focused clinic may advise:

  • Proper Footwear: Invest in running shoes with adequate support and cushioning. Look for shoes designed to alleviate pressure on the heel and arch, and consult a knowledgeable chiropodist for personalized recommendations.
  • Warm-Up and Cool-Down: Before and after each run, dedicate time to dynamic stretching and mobility exercises to prepare your feet and lower limbs for the impact of running and aid in recovery.
  • Regular Stretching: Target the calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia with regular stretching to improve flexibility and reduce tension. Incorporate these stretches into your daily routine to prevent tightness and discomfort.
  • Supportive Gear: Consider using orthotic inserts, compression socks, taping, or heel cups to provide additional cushioning and stability for your feet while running. These accessories can help alleviate pressure on the plantar fascia and promote healing.

Recommended Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

Treatments such as extracorporeal shockwave therapy can promote healing to the injured fascia band. Regular visits to a specialist can help manage and reduce symptoms over time.

Sport Physiotherapy for Runners in Toronto, ON

Our sport physiotherapy services are designed to address both acute and chronic conditions, with a focus on optimizing performance and preventing injuries. Key components include:

Manual Therapy: Our physiotherapists use hands-on techniques to improve joint and soft tissue mobility, which can enhance overall function and reduce pain.

Exercise Prescription: We develop customized exercise programs tailored to your specific needs. These programs aim to strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and enhance your running performance.

Functional Training: Exercises are designed to mimic the demands of running, ensuring that you are well-prepared for real-life running conditions. This includes balance training, agility drills, and sport-specific movements.

Additional Therapies: We offer supplementary therapies to support your recovery and performance:

  • Dry Needling: Targets trigger points in muscles to relieve pain and improve function.
  • Ultrasound Therapy: Uses sound waves to promote deep tissue healing and reduce inflammation.
  • Taping and Bracing: Provides support and stability to injured areas, allowing you to continue your activities safely.

Benefits of Regular Visits: Maintaining regular appointments with our physiotherapists can significantly enhance your recovery and performance:

  • Optimize Recovery: Timely interventions and adjustments to your treatment plan ensure optimal healing.
  • Enhance Performance: Progressive advice and support tailored to your needs as a runner.
  • Prevent Recurrence: Proactively addressing issues before they become major problems, keeping you on track with your running goals.

Sport Massage Therapy for Running

Sports massage is an integral part of our treatment protocol, offering numerous benefits for runners:

Muscle Relaxation: Regular sports massage helps relieve muscle tension and prevent tightness that can lead to injuries.

Improved Circulation: Enhanced blood flow aids in nutrient delivery and waste removal from muscles, which is crucial for recovery.

Injury Prevention: By identifying and addressing muscle imbalances and areas of tightness, regular massages can reduce the risk of injury and enhance overall performance.

Shockwave Therapy by a Podiatrist in Toronto, ON

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive treatment that uses sound waves to stimulate healing in damaged tissues. It is particularly effective for chronic conditions such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinopathy. Benefits include:

Pain Relief: Reduces pain by promoting natural healing processes.

Enhanced Healing: Stimulates blood flow and cell regeneration, accelerating recovery.

Non-Invasive: Offers a safe alternative to surgery with minimal side effects.

Preventing Plantar Fasciitis

To reduce your risk of developing plantar fasciitis or experiencing a recurrence, consider these preventive strategies:

  • Gradually Increase Training Intensity and Mileage: Avoid overuse injuries by building up your training slowly.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Reducing excess stress on your feet and lower limbs by managing your weight.
  • Proper Foot Care: Wear supportive footwear, replace worn-out shoes, and avoid high-impact activities on hard surfaces.
  • Strength and Mobility Exercises: Incorporate regular strength and mobility exercises into your routine to keep your feet and lower limbs healthy.


While plantar fasciitis can be a persistent issue, it doesn’t mean you have to completely stop running. With the right guidance from a running-specific clinic and by following these tips, you can manage your condition and continue to pursue your running goals. Whether you’re aiming to maintain a healthy weight or qualify for the Boston Marathon, avoiding injury and staying consistent is key.

For more detailed exercises and tips, check out LiveActive’s Instagram page where we’ll be posting helpful stretches, exercises, and tips to avoid plantar fasciitis. And remember, always listen to your body and seek professional help if needed.