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Vicky asked...

I am a keen runner and have picked up an injury in my left foot...

I am a keen runner and have picked up an injury in my left foot along the bottom which feels like a cramping sensation. I can run on my foot however it becomes increasingly painful. I can walk with no pain and honestly wearing heels is better as flat shoes is where I can feel the injury. I have been using ibroprofen gel and resting for a week but this has still not gone away. Do I need physio?

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The answer

Running injuries can affect anyone, from experienced runners to beginners. Whatever your injury it’s important to listen to your body. Don’t run if you’re in pain and only start running again when you have recovered sufficiently. A common running injury is pain or swelling in the heel or bottom of the foot and can occur if you have started doing a lot more running, uphill training or if your running shoes aren’t supportive enough or worn out.

Plantar fasciitis is the medical term for when a band of tissue in the foot, known as the plantar fascia, becomes damaged and thickens. The plantar fascia is a tough and flexible band of tissue that runs under the sole of the foot. It connects the heel bone with the bones of the foot, and acts like a shock absorber to the foot. Sudden damage, or damage that occurs over many months or years, can cause tiny tears to develop inside the tissue of the plantar fascia. This can cause the plantar fascia to thicken, resulting in pain in the heel or under the foot. The surrounding tissue and heel bone can also sometimes become swollen and inflamed.

Treatment for this type of injury usually involves using a combination of techniques, such as stretches and painkillers, to relieve the pain and speed up recovery. See your GP if you’ve had persistent pain for 7-10 days or if it hasn’t cleared up within a few weeks. The GP will be able to diagnose the problem and give you specific advice about a suitable exercise programme. You may also benefit from additional input from a physiotherapist as they can support you with appropriate stretches and exercises to help with your recovery and reduce the risk of similar injuries again.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses