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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Plantar Fasciitis & Cycling

Rarely if ever does cycling cause plantar fasciitis. In fact, if you are recovering from plantar fasciitis, cycling is an excellent way of maintaining cardiovascular fitness while healing. I'm sure you're able to put some of the reasons why cycling would not cause plantar fasciitis just by using some common sense. If you noticed how rigid cycling shoes are, then you could also deduce that without the movement in the foot and the stress through the arch of the foot as well as the achilles, there would not really be any mechanism of injury to the foot. The sole of a cycling shoe is designed to put as much power as possible through the drive train of a bicycle. If your foot were to move too much in a cycling shoe, this movement would be translated into lost power that would be used to propel you and the bike. Compared to running, a running shoe is made to absorb forces and power. The many bones of the foot along with the joints that are designed to glide in unison when running are dispersing potential damaging forces during that part of the gait cycle when your foot first hits the ground through toe off.

So, let me throw this out there as well. If you are a cyclist and want to get into running or duathlons, triathlons, etc., then a period of acclimation from cycling to running, in my opinion, is necessary to avoid potential foot and leg injuries. A cyclist, being very fit cardiovascularly, may feel that running would come easy to them. In truth, running may come easier but specific conditioning is still necessary.

This necessary transition or cross conditioning just doesn't pertain to physical injuries but also to maximum oxygen uptake (V02 Max). Runners will typically display larger V02 Max values due to the larger amount of work being done. If I may just state a true fact, the measured V02 Max in cycling measures very differently than the V02 Max in running. This statement comes from my own research done at the National Institute of Health. Even though my initials are BS, this statement about V02 Max is not!

Enjoy your holidays and until next time,

Happy Bipeding!

Brad Senska, PT, DPT, BS, ASTYM.

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