Muay Thai (or any combat sport for that matter) is a sport that requires a lot of running as a means of conditioning your aerobic system to be more efficient.
This results in better overall stamina on your part when you train, spar, or fight.
However, with a lot of running also comes with it a number of potential injuries too. There are two common chronic injuries that people who run often may suffer from: shin splints and plantar fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis is one of those injuries that can just pop up over time that you’ve never heard about before.
Until you get it that is.
And once you do, it can dramatically impact your quality of life and your training. For many people, the condition gets so bad you can’t even bring yourself to stand on your feet, let alone train.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent the injury from every having, or if you do get it, treat it so it goes away over time. Depending on how sever it is, you can even still train with plantar fasciitis, if you go about it smart.
Let’s talk about Plantar Fasciia and how to deal with it IF you end up getting it.
What is Plantar Fasciitis
This is basically a condition where your plantar fasciia — the tendons connecting to your muscle and bone in your heel and arch area, end up with micro tears in them. As you put weight on your feet, those micro tears keep opening up which results in chronic pain near your heal area. The pain can be pretty intense and it can make walking, running, or even standing on your feet nearly a crying experience.
And if course if you train a sport like Muay Thai where you are on your feet all the time, well, Plantar Fasciitis can seriously impact your training. If you do running conditioning work, well, the condition can pretty much stop those activities.
Here’s a diagram that shows you the Plantar Fascia:
Plantar fasciitis is often caused by shoes that don’t fit properly, though there are a number of other factors such as being too heavy, wearing the wrong type of shoes, or a genetic predisposition to the condition.
How to Pick the Right Shoes
You should try to ensure you are wearing the proper shoe at all times to reduce the chances of developing plantar fasciitis. Wearing the right shoes for your foot type can radically reduce foot pain and ensure you can go about your natural activities without suffering pain.
To pick the right shoe, you need to keep in mind the following: your foot arch type and the type of shoe that matches that foot arch.
See the image here:
Your foot arch impacts what type of stride you have when you run.
Wearing a shoe that does not fit properly or a shoe that doesn’t match your foot arch type and stride can cause a lot of problems for people. Athletes — especially people who do a lot of running — are particularly vulnerable to this because they spend long periods of time doing high impact foot activities.
This can be caused quite often by shoes that don’t have good cushioning of the heel and forefoot areas as well as lacking good support near the middle of the foot and arch areas.
This can put a lot of stress on the plantar fascia during daily activities like running and walking. The pressure from such activities (especially if there is a lot of pressure) can cause severe inflammation of the plantar fascia.
If you have high arches, you are also at risk:
Fortunately, there are special shoes that are custom designed for people with feet problems. The shoes are designed to prevent irritation of the feet and help to sooth irritation and inflammation.
If you happen to suffer from flat feet or have an unusual stride, you can use special motion controlled shoes that will cut down on stress the soles of your feet. This is because such shoes have special linings that keep the feet quite inflexible during activity. This will help a person walk in a certain, correct manner.
If such shoes are too constrictive, you can opt to go with a more flexible style of shoe that has a much lesser density midsole and heal. These are known as “stability shoes”. For some people, these are best shoes for plantar fasciitis, but for others, not so. It all depends on the person.
One recommended pair of shoes for plantar fasciitis that many people suffering from the condition (both men and women) are New Balance shoes. These shoes, while not cheap, offer great heel support and motion control. And they’re incredibly comfortable too.
Plantar Fasciitis Shoes – Why?
Plantar fasciitis shoes are some of the more effective plantar fasciitis treatments if you develop the condition — or if not a treatment, at least a way for you to stop doing more damage to your feet.
These are essentially shoes that have extra cushioning along the heel, arch, and front areas of your shoe. This helps to stabilize your feet when you walk, reducing pain in the plantar, should you have the condition, allowing the foot to heal. Some plantar fasciitis shoes are also motion controlling which help correct the way you walk — a factor that may contribute to plantar fasciitis.
The best shoes for plantar fasciitis really depend on your specific needs. One recommended plantar fasciitis brand are New Balance shoes. New Balance shoes have a very good reputation with people suffering from this condition. These shoes offer superior motion control and heel padding — essential in a shoe should you suffer from the plantar fasciitis condition.
If you want some good shoe recommendations that may help reduce your Plantar Fasciitis pain or help your feet recover from the condition, check out this page on beatplantarfasciitis.com for some recommended shoes that won’t aggravate the condition. There’s a lot of different shoe recommendations you can try out including even some running shoes.
Some of the shoe brand recommendations given are:
- Bite Arch Support Shoes
- Darco Gentlestep
- Finn Comfort Shoes
- Name Mephisto
- P.W. Minor
- Standing Comfort
You can get for instance:
- basketball shoes for plantar fasciits
- tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis
- sandals for plantar fasciitis
- dress shoe for plantar fasciits
- men’s shoes for plantar fasciits
- women’s shoes for plantar fasciitis
I personally just use running shoes, specifically the New Balance or ASICS footwear because I find the foot and heel support outstanding. I know a number of people who have had plantar fasciitis, who wear New Balance shoes and say it took around 6 months to get rid of the condition.
Tips for Picking the Right Shoes If You Have Plantar Fasciitis
People who suffer from planar fasciitis often opt for shoes with more flexibility and good padding in the midsole area. So if you are in doubt about what type of shoe you need, go with these type of shoes.
If you are trying to seek out a walking shoe for plantar fasciitis (i.e. not running shoes, just regular walk about shoes), you must find a shoe without a high heel that guides the foot in a certain manner as to not bend the ball of the foot which will cause you pain. Also, as the shoe is pushed downwards near the toe, the bottom heal must rise slightly, in the upward direction, away from the ground.
A proper shoe should always provide good support for the arch. Many people end up with plantar fasciitis because the arches of their feet are not supported by their shoe
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Solutions
Wearing the right shoes are not the only solution, however. Here are a few more ways to treat the condition if you do get it.
We’ve talked about this already. Picking the right shoes can prevent plantar fasciitis or if you have it, help your feet heal from the condition.
You also might want to look at applying ice packs to the affected area for some immediate relief. Ice packs can help reduce the swelling on your feet and bring some pain relief. For best results, you should give your foot extended rest from physical activity like jogging or running or course. To apply ice packs:
- Freeze water in a plastic bottle that’s about a foot look.
- Use the frozen bottle as a roller along the bottom of your feet for at 5 to 10 minutes each day.
Shoe orthotics are basically special inserts you place into your shoe that mold to your feet. You can get custom orthotics or you can get off-the-shelf ones. Custom always fit better but tend to be pricey. I’ve used different orthotics and I’ve found some of them quite effective.
Foot Support Devices
There are a medley of plantar fasciitis braces, night splints, and tapes out there all designed to restrict the motion of your feet, allowing your condition to heal. I’ve particularly found that night splints are the most effective.
What happens is that when you first get up in the morning and put pressure on your feet, your plantar stretches, causing intense pain. This is actually a common symptom of plantar fasciitis — early morning pain when you first put weight on the foot. A plantar fasciitis night splint helps to prevent this by keeping your plantar stretched out all night, so when you put weight on it in the morning, there is no pain. This also allows your plantar to heal better too.
For cheap daytime solutions, you might wrap up your foot with plantar fasciitis tape or use a day brace to “brace” your foot into a splint to help keep it immobile.
Exercise Devices for Plantar Fasciitis
There are little devices that you can use to exercise your foot, helping to stretch out your foot muscles and build them up much stronger than they were. This is actually pretty effective to do and can make a big difference. However, you will need to use these devices on a regular basis to see results. I can personally verify that they are pretty effective.
DIY Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis
There are a number of foot exercises designed to strengthen your plantar and stretch your foot ligaments. These can help treat the condition, prevent it, or rehab your foot if you are suffering from plantar fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis Surgery
This is another potential solution, if a last resort one.
For most cases of plantar fasciitis, surgery is not needed. Only if your condition refuses to heal naturally do you need to think about it.
Generally, it can take anywhere from 3 months to 18 months to get rid of plantar fasciitis. In almost every case, the earlier you spot and treat the condition, the faster the recovery. This is why it’s important to note any heel pain in an early stage — often just changing your shoes to shoes that offer good heel support will cure plantar fasciitis or prevent it from progressing to a worse stage.
When All ELSE Fails, Take a Break from Running
If you are in pain, consider NOT running for a few months. Sometimes you can keep running (with the right shoes) when you have Plantar Fasciitis. But sometimes, depending on the level of severity of your condition, you can’t.
If you are in serious pain, TAKE A BREAK for a few months. Don’t be a hero and push through the pain. It’s better to lose a bit of conditioning and HEAL properly than to keep going at it and end up with a more severe, perhaps permanent injury.
In some cases, you might even need to stop most of your training (yes, that could mean Muay Thai classes). While you probably don’t need to go to this extreme, some people may have to.
Better a ‘break’ then to ‘break’ something.
Alternatives to Running to Keep Your Conditioning
While you may be used to running to keep your conditioning, you don’t actually have to run. You can replace conditioning work that involves a lot of foot impact — such as running or skipping rope with anything that increases your heart rate for a a targeted period of time and at a targeted heart rate intensity.
Both the duration and intensity will need to adjusted to what you are trying to achieve, conditioning wise.
If you want to keep your conditioning up while giving your feet a break from running, here are two possible strategies for training:
LSD (Long Slow Distance Work) without Road Work
For example, instead of doing long steady state runs, you can use a heavy bag and do slow punching combinations — just enough to keep your heart rate slightly elevated. Long distance work that keeps your heart rate elevated (but not too high) can be used to build up your aerobic energy systems for more overall stamina and better recovery ability
You can use the rowing machine, or spin bikes — just do the same amount of time while playing around with the intensity.
You can also do circuit work on a variety of different machines and with a variety of different exercises.
High Intensity without Road Work
If you want to do high intensity work, you can use heavy bags, spin bikes, rowing machines, or any other activity that rapidly elevates your heart rate for short periods of time (1-2 minutes). The key here, if you have plantar fasciitis and need to give your feet a break, is to do activities where you are NOT using your feet. Bag work, rowing machine, spin bikes (depending how this impacts your feet) all are suitable
Recommened Resources about Plantar Fasciitis
It’s important that you seek out proper medical advice. I highly encourage you to visit a doctor and seek out trained medical advice.
Here are a few good resources on the topic I found, looked at, and decided are legit sources of information: