Plantar fasciitis — inflammation in the ligament that runs along the sole of your foot — is one of the most common chronic injuries in runners. The ligament attaches to the bottom of your heel bone, which is why the pain is often felt in your heel.
The cause can be traced to excessive stress placed on the heel bone and soft tissues, causing inflammation. Improper footwear is typically part of the problem, and research1 by Michael Warburton, a physical therapist in Australia, found that running barefoot decreases the likelihood of plantar fasciitis.
Treatments typically focus on relieving tension on the heel and lowering inflammation. While cortisone and anti-inflammatory drugs are typically prescribed, I would suggest trying non-drug alternatives first.
For starters, you'll want to make sure you're on an anti-inflammatory diet high in healthy fats and low in sugars and non-vegetable carbohydrates. There are also plenty of anti-inflammatory foods that may do the job in lieu of pharmaceutical drugs. This includes:
- Herbs and spices such as cloves, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric
- Animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil
- Fermented vegetables and traditionally cultured foods, which quell inflammation by "reseeding" your gut with beneficial bacteria that help optimize your immune function
- Shiitake mushrooms also contain strong compounds with the natural ability to discourage inflammation, such as Ergothioneine, which inhibits oxidative stress