Sore Feet Including Plantar Fasciitis? Look To Your Calves Or Further Upstream!

“Underneath tightness, lies weakness!” Best defense against sports injuries is your mind.

As we age, we frequently develop sore feet. I’m no exception, so I study this issue closely.

We also develop tightness as we age, including tension in our calves. I think that these events are often causally related, based on personal experience, including sensations during a recent race.

As I was plowing into the run at the OBX Half Ironman race, my feet became increasingly sore. This half-marathon was preceded by a 56-mile bike ride – normally, no big deal. However, there was intense wind, resulting in my body being beaten up (undertrained for load on the bike, clearly).

So, I started the run with very tired legs, including exhausted calves (arch support machinery would be a more accurate description).

Butterfly flowers

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses (yes, I know these aren’t roses) or rescue turtles. Photo by FitOldDog.

As I proceeded to run, my feet became extremely painful, feeling as though I was bruising them. I soldiered on, until the race organizers closed the race early due to a severe lightening storm, when I reached mile-10.5.

The next day, I expected to awake with very sore feet due to the assumed bruising. Surprise, surprise, my feet were fine! How to explain that? I suspect that it was tightness in my calves during the run that resulted in a nociceptive (potential of injury) message, saying, “STOP!” Of course, I didn’t stop, I’m training for an Ironman, and it just didn’t feel like bad pain.

Subsequent study has revealed, for me at least, that the level of comfort of my feet is almost always related to the degree of tension in my calves, and that tension frequently arises in my hamstrings and hips, projecting all the way down to my feet.

Recommended action?

Lengthen AND strengthen affected regions of my body – works like a charm.


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.