treatment for stress fractures and plantar fasciitisJordan Hasay made a stunning debut at the Boston Marathon last year with the fastest first marathon by an American woman. She came in 3rd overall.

What a disappointment this year when she found out that she couldn't run in the annual race due to a heel injury.

She tweeted: Unfortunately @JordanHasay has a stress reaction in the heel and will not be able to run. "Despite my team working to give me every chance to make it to the starting line, I won't be able to join you. I'll be cheering everyone on and hope you enjoy this historic race."

For most of her running career Hasay has been injury free. It was only a couple of years ago that she developed plantar fasciitis. After much preparation and training for this year's marathon, an MRI revealed that she should sit this one out as doctors labeled her injury a "stress reaction".

Although many people are speculating the stress reaction is related to her plantar fasciitis, a stress reaction can also be a stress fracture.

What's the difference?

If Jorday Hasay is suffering from the lingering effects of plantar fasciitis the cause and treatment would be vastly different from a stress fracture.

Although both would require she sit out the Marathon, that's where the similarity stops.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are tiny, hairline cracks in the bone. In the feet they most often affect the metatarsals of the foot (mid-foot) and can also affect the heel. They are common in athletes due to the repetitive nature of running, a rapid increase in training, and/or worn out shoes.  They are also more frequent in women who are too thin, lose their periods, and don't get proper nutrition.

Treatment for a stress fracture is very straightforward; keeping the foot immobile with a walking boot (sometimes non-weight bearing) and refraining from physical activities. Long term women should make sure they get proper nutrition including Calcium and Vitamin D, best through food but also through supplementation if recommended by their physician. Training should increase gradually and shoes should be replaced every 500 miles.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an injury of the plantar fascia which is a large ligament that runs from the front of the foot along the bottom and inserts into the heel. When the fascia gets overstretched, micro-tears develop at the point where the fascia inserts into the heel causing inflammation and pain. It is very common in runners due to the pounding and repetitive nature of the sport. Treatment for plantar fasciitis also known as heel pain often takes a multi-pronged approach. The goal is to relieve the inflammation to start the healing process. First weight is removed from the fascia through taping and use of an air heel. Inflammation can also be reduced by use of ice, anti-inflammatory medication, and sometimes a cortisone injection.

Depending on the person's foot structure inserts or orthotics may be needed for long term pain relief. People with tight calf muscles will also need to begin and maintain a stretching program. Tight calf muscles are often a large part of the cause. Supportive shoes designed for the runner and running distance are also a very important preventive measure.  

Additional Resources:

Preventing Painful Foot Pain Conditions in Women Runners

6 Ways For Running Moms to Prevent Foot Pain

How New Runners Can Prevent Foot and Ankle Problems

If you're a runner and experiencing heel pain,call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

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