Today's post is centered around a patient that I have been working with lately. This athlete is a sophomore collegiate runner that competes in middle distance running events.
This patient is now a 19 year old male that began running in 4th grade. He was in a running club affiliated with his grade school and was soon running around 160miles a year. He began to suffer minor injuries during middle school and somebody had prescribed him orthotics. He struggled with stress fractures, hip pain, and plantar fascia pain all through middle school. Despite these issues, he still managed to run a 4:43 Mile as an 8th grader.
Throughout high school he continued to struggle with injuries such as hamstring strains/tendonosis, spinal stenosis and low back pain, chronic ankle instability and piriformis issues. He also struggled with plantar fasciitis/osis during this time as well.
Once this athlete got to college he tried to transition to minimalist footwear in attempt to "correct" his heel strike. He did not suffer at all until halfway through his first cross-country season when he had a week long flare up of pain that was similar to his previous plantar fasciitis/osis. He was fine again until the beginning of his first indoor track season. The pain became unrelenting despite being prescribed new orthotics and undergoing an expensive shockwave therapy procedure. The patient decided to just cross train and rest for the remainder of his freshman year as a collegiate runner.
This is where I entered the picture and had a few small conversations with this athlete regarding his plantar pain and I gave him a few exercises to perform on his own such as a self-mulligan mobilization with movement technique for ankle dorsiflexion and repeated end-range plantar flexion prior to runs. The patient used these few exercises all summer long until he returned for his sophomore year with good results but was not completely pain free.
I heard that he was still struggling with his plantar pain and offered to help him with a proper evaluation and treatment plan.