If you're a runner who has suffered from plantar fasciitis pain in the past, it's important to take steps to prevent this injury from setting in again. Here are a few simple ways to do just that.

Massage your soles with a tennis ball.

Place a tennis ball on the ground, and sit down on a chair in front if it. Roll the ball back and forth under the sole of your foot. Make sure you're applying firm and even pressure with your foot throughout the movement. Spend about 2 - 3 minutes on one foot, and then switch to the other. Do this before and after every run. It will help keep your plantar fascia, the tough connective tissue that runs along the sole of your foot, loose and supple.

Soak your feet in Epsom salts a few times per week.

If the muscles in your foot grow too tired and tight, they may begin pulling on your plantar fascia, increasing your risk of developing plantar fasciitis. A good way to keep muscle stiffness and soreness to a minimum is to soak your feet in an Epsom salts bath every few days. Just toss a handful of Epsom salts into a tub of warm water, and stick your feet in. About 20 minutes of soaking is ideal. The Epsom salts contain magnesium ions that penetrate your skin and help soothe aching and tight muscles before the tightness has a chance to cause more substantial damage.

Take those rest days.

As a runner, you're used to pushing through the pain and discomfort and giving everything your best effort. However, it's important not to push too hard. Take the rest days in your training plan, rather than heading out for some "extra miles." If you feel overly tired or sore, don't be afraid to take an extra rest day. By letting your body rest, you're giving it time to repair micro-damage before it progresses to an injury like plantar fasciitis. If you keep running when you're very tired or sore, your form will suffer, and you'll likely end up putting extra strain on your plantar fascia, leading to injuries.

Stand on your toes.

This one simple exercise will strengthen the muscles throughout your feet so that they do a better job of absorbing shock evenly without putting too much stress on your plantar fascia. Once or twice a day, spend a few minutes just standing on your toes or walking around on your toes. If you get tired, lower your heels to the ground for a minute, and then get back up on your toes again.

If you do develop plantar fascia pain again, be sure to talk to a physiotherapist. He or she can recommend some more exercises to help you recover and prevent subsequent injuries. To learn more, speak with someone like Clayton Heights Sports & Therapy Center.

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