December 02, 2009

Plantar F-cking Fasciitis

Got Plantar Fasciitis?

It's a weird-sounding condition, and it has nothing to do with fascism or containers in which to put your geraniums. A medical dictionary describes it as "inflammation involving the plantar fascia especially in the area of its attachment to the calcaneus (heel bone) and causing pain under the heel in walking and running."

It's gotten very popular, at least in my neighborhood. The Lobster has dealt with this particular brand of foot pain; so has my sister; and so have a number of our other friends. The bad news: everyone said it was painful and they all had to cut back on their favorite forms of exercise for a while.

Photo: mikebitton

The good news: everyone I know eventually got better! Some got better slowly, and others got better even more slowly. But eventually, everyone seemed to return pretty much to their normal activities.

So one would think that when my the heel of my right foot started getting increasingly sore, oh about 2 months ago, it would have occurred to me that I might have it too.

Actually, it did cross my mind for a second, and so here's how I investigated the matter:

"Hon," I said to the Lobster, "When you had that plantar f.. fasc.. fash.. whatever the hell it's called, that foot thing, how did it start?"

"I think my foot started getting sore and then it just got worse and worse."

"Where did it hurt?"

"Mostly in my arch."

"Not the heel?"

"No, I don't think so. I think it started in my arch."

"Oh good! My foot's been a bit sore, but it's the heel. Probably just need to buy some new shoes. I'm sure it will just go away on it's own."

Of course, as it turns out, I never got around to buying new shoes, or cutting back on the running, and the pain just got worse and worse until I started limping and hobbling and cursing. Last week it got so bad I had to abort a neighborhood walk after two blocks, and I thought it might be time to consult Dr. Google.

And damn! Had I bothered to do that months earlier, I would have quickly discovered the likely source of my trouble. Heel pain is the most common symptom of plantar fasciitis--the Lobster's arch was a less common variation. And my heel hurt like the dickens first thing in the morning, but then got better throughout the day, but then worse again if I went for a long walk or hard run--pretty much a classic presentation.

Of all the things you can do to treat plantar fasciitis? Ignoring it until it gets a lot worse is not actually the best one to choose.

(Note: do not follow my example. I still have not been to an actual doctor, the foot kind or any other kind. Visiting a medical professional is the smartest thing to do when you have foot pain. I, however, prefer to go on the web and attempt to treat myself whenever possible because I'm cheap, lazy, stubborn, and foolish cautious about using up precious medical resources that someone else might need.

So what did I find out from Dr. Google about how to prevent and deal with plantar fasciitis?

Well, first off, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the risk factors, so you can figure out if one day you'll be hobbling and cursing like the crab:

Plantar Fasciitis Risk Factors:

Age: It's most common between the ages of 40 and 60.

Sex: When I first saw this heading I thought: What? Sex? How does having sex make the bottoms of your feet hurt? Have I been doing it wrong all these years? But reading a little further, the explanation was far more boring: "Women are more likely than men to develop plantar fasciitis."

Heel-Pounding Exercise: Yep, all that virtuous exercise you've been doing in order to treat your body well? It can come back to bite you in the ass. Or, more accurately, in the foot.

Apparently doing things that stress the heel, like long-distance running, ballet, aerobic dancing or playing professional football can be problematic. (And yes, weren't we just talking about the need for higher impact activities like jumping in order to prevent bone loss? Damn those trade-offs!)

Screwed Up Foot Mechanics: Flat feet, high arches, or walking in an unusual manner can put added stress on the plantar fascia.

Obesity: Yeah, it's yet another annoying complication--which then makes it hard to get enough exercise to lose weight!

On-Your-Feet Jobs: Factory workers, teachers, waitresses, street-corner drug dealers, prostitutes, construction workers and others who have to stand or walk on hard surfaces are at extra risk.

Note: Soft surfaces can pose certain risks as well.
Photo: TranceMist

However, the consolation prize of a stand-up job? Your feet may hurt but you live a lot longer if you don't sit on your ass all day!

Silly Shoes: Apparently, you should avoid shoes that are thin soled, loose, or lack arch support or the ability to absorb shock don't protect your feet. And don't wear high heels all the time either, because it shortens your Achilles tendon, causing strain on the tissue around your heel.

How To Treat Plantar Fasciitis

Here's what WebMd had to suggest, so I thought I'd give some of these a try:

Rest: OK, I'm having a hard time getting this one into my thick skull, but numerous sources of advice seem to confirm: to the extent it's possible, you're supposed to STOP DOING THE THINGS THAT HURT. I'm trying to keep in mind that I will get better faster and get to do much more running and walking over the long haul if I chill on my normal routine for a while. I'm relying on the elliptical machine, and I'm hopping on a bicycle and pedaling up some hills in order to try to replace my normal foot-pounding cardio options. (Pity the poor Lobster, because as you might imagine, these modifications are generating a LOT of whining and griping).

Stretch: Stretching the achilles tendon and plantar fascia is supposed to be a really good idea; for example there's the towel stretch, the calf stretch, and what I've always called the heel drop. This arch stretch in particular gave me almost instant relief from the "first-few-steps-in-the-morning ouchies." I make sure to do it before getting out of bed or after sitting for an extended period of time. (However, stretching did not seem to work as magically and instantly on the "long walk" kind of pain).

Strengthen: Exercises to strengthen the muscles of the foot and ankle are supposed to help too; however, fewer people seem to swear by these, either because they're tedious or maybe the impact is more subtle and long-term. You can try the towel curl or the marble pick-up.

Wear supportive footwear. Normally, this is no problem for me as I conform to stereotype and tromp around in super-supportive trail runners and other clunky athletic wear whenever possible. However, over the summer I fell in love with a nifty pair of shoes meant more for splashing about on the beach, not walking endless miles on roads and sidewalks. But they were so cute and light and comfy! So I started wearing them all the time. Now I'm paying for this summer fling, big time. My advice: flirt if you must, but don't have an extended affair with a flighty, flimsy pair of shoes no matter how adorable they are. Eventually they'll just hurt you and make you cry.

Oh, and lots of people emphasize that to get better, you gotta wear supportive shoes almost ALL THE TIME. Like even when you're just getting up in the middle of the night to pee! Barefoot is Bad, unless you're doing one of the tedious exercises listed above. On the other hand, some hold a contrary point of view, and say that running barefoot (or in those funny-looking vibram things) can strengthen foot muscles and actually help plantar fasciitis.

Consider Shoe Inserts. So I actually already have some prescription orthotics, which I got for my crappy knees, though this did not prevent me from getting plantar fasciitis. Meanwhile, all my friends are running out and getting these non-prescription (but still insanely expensive) inserts from a place called Good Feet, and finding them helpful. I scoffed and muttered and shook my head as all my pals went out and got these things... and then the Lobster joined the Good Feet cult too so I had to put a lid on it. (But inwardly, I still scoffed).

Well, now who is asking to borrow the Lobster's magic inserts? Yep, in another probably bone-headed, "don't try this at home" move, I'm wearing her orthotics, though in my defense, we have the same size feet and often borrow each others' shoes. Unlike my regular, mellow orthotics, these Good Feet inserts feel pretty much like you just stuck a giant golf ball in the arch of each foot. Yowza! And yet... they do seem to help. It makes no sense to me that these would work better than my carefully-fitted prescription orthotics, but they seem to stretch out my arch and keep me from putting as much pressure on my heel. Or, another theory: maybe they just feel so obnoxious I don't even notice if I have heel pain or not.

Ice: So I already ice my knees after running, and thought this would be no big deal. But wtf? Feet are more sensitive and icing them HURTS!! I blunt the effect by keeping my socks on, which may make it less effective, but what the hell, it's the only way I'm gonna stick with it. As far as I'm concerned, Bag of Ice Directly on Feet=Torture=Screw It, I'd Rather Have Heel Pain.

Anti-inflammatories: Yep. I do naproxen (Aleve) 'cause you don't have to take it as often as ibuprofen, aspirin, or tylenol.

Night Splints:

(Photo swiped from Orthotics and Beyond)

I'm not resorting to one of these things unless I get really, really desperate. They're designed to frighten small children stretch the plantar fascia ligament and achilles tendon during the night.

I've seen other suggestions online too, like massage, or rolling tennis balls or frozen juice cans or golf balls under your foot, taping the arch, getting acupuncture, wearing Birkenstocks, getting cortisone shots, or shockwave therapy, or evil-sounding surgery, or finding a cute little monkey and training it to do all your chores so you won't hurt your feet. (OK, perhaps I made that last one up, but wouldn't it be kinda cool to have a pet monkey?)

How about you guys? Have foot pain or other injuries that are complicating your fitness routine? Finding any good solutions?


  1. maaaaaaaaaaan.
    I feel for you Crabby and wish I had any plantarwhattawhatta wizdom to proffer.

    I shall defer to the experts.

    *settles in to read the comments*

  2. Ouch, Crabby - that sure sounds painful. I've never had the planter's fancy-itis but given my general anxiety and suggestibility I predict that by dinnertime I will have come down with it.

    Hope it's gone soon!

  3. You have real reason to be crabby, that's for sure.

    A year and a half ago, I had plantar warts (much easier to say). I ignored it until it became worse and multiplied, and I couldn't walk on it anymore. OTC products sorta helped. I finally went to the doc.

    Oh, I hope you feel better soon.

  4. This post could not have come at a better time - for the past 2 - 3 weeks, my right heel has been hurting. I keep thinking it's the Achilles tendon based on location, but now you've got me wondering if it isn't PF. Thanks for the extra stretches (I've just been doing the calf stretch) - that arch stretch did seem to help with the crippling walk I have first thing in the morning!

    Sorry you are having such pain - I (literally) feel for you.

  5. Oh, Crabby, Crabby, Crabby...... I have been where you are, and I'm here to tell you.... it ain't fun. Get OFF your feet, immediately, because you do NOT want to go through what I went through!
    Get thee to a podiatrist, toot sweet!

    Mine started in much the same way as yours, in my right foot. I ignored it, too, much to my detriment. Kept working at my stand-up-all-day job, blah, blah, blah. Soon it was both feet, and the pain was so bad, I cried every night when I went to bed AND every morning when I woke up and stood up.

    Do the exercises. GET YOUR OWN CUSTOM-MADE ORTHOTIC INSERTS!! The Lobster's may make your feet feel better in the short term, but everyone's foot is different and you may be doing more harm than good. (If, for example, she has a flat foot and you have a high arch, you need different corrections.)

    It took THREE YEARS, orthotics, physiotherapy, and finally, shock-wave therapy for mine to go away.

    One thing that did help - freeze a small plastic bottle full of water and use it to roll under your foot. It helps, really! (and if you want any more advice, email me and I'll try to answer any questions.)
    Good luck!

  6. My brain "injury" interferes with my fitness routine.

    Sorry to hear about your foot pain. As we age, (and I hate to say this) but it almost feels like one thing after another though that could just be my experience.
    (sorry. I was actually laughing to keep from tearing up)

  7. Great, informative post. I'm a massage therapist and have dealt with clients experiencing this condition. Your recommendations are dead on. Another thing that you can do is to seek the treatment of a massage therapist to perform what is called "myofascial release". In a nutshell, the connective tissues that surround our muscle fibers and form our tendons and ligaments basically become too tight and need to be what I like to call "ironed out". A good, well educated therapist can help and teach you things to do at home as well.

    Sorry for the length of the post, just wanted to give you another option. Hope you find relief soon.

  8. Crabby - been with plantar f.... got the t-shirt and medical bills. One doc told me it was related to something in my knee. I'm not sure if my knee agreed though.

  9. I was plagued by PF for years. It improved a lot when I got some crazy supportive inserts for high arches.
    BUT. The best treatment that I have found after you actually get it, is acupuncture. I tried the other stuff for years, and one day I mentioned PF to my chiropractor and he threw me down on the table and stuck needles in my feet. Not exactly like that, but close. I walked out of the office almost completely pain-free.
    I love flip-flops, but know the support issues suck--Fit Flops from Victorias Secret (or elsewhere, I don't know) are amazing. I can wear them for weeks on end with no problems.

  10. Crabby, I feel for you. I've no advice other than to listen to dfBag Lady. She knows of what she speaks.

  11. UGH! This seriously dampened my social life when I was a City-dweller,, I eventually got PT and wore the leg brace thing to sleep.. The thing that helped the most... was the arch support from Good Feet store.. an orthotic.. it helped support my arch during the day while I was walking and moving and that was like an all-day long stretch.

    The hardest part,,, having to jump up to go to the bathroom at nite and walking like your geriatric when your only 25!!! I still walk a lil 'aged' but I try to straighten out when I remember!

  12. I've had plantar fasciitis as well, and was suffering with it for six months. Did go to the doctor, they wanted to do very expensive custom orthotics. I couldn't afford it at the time, and looked for alternatives. While the green 'Perfeet' inserts are good, I already had them and didn't make a difference. But I ran across the 'sole' series at REI, and it made all the difference. You actually put them in the oven to heat them up, and then step into them -- they conform to your feet like custom orthotics. They are really, really great -- and the pain was gone in 2-3 weeks (psychosomatic?). In any case, I'm now back to regular running!!!

  13. sis-in-law gets that. It seems quite painful. She was told to not go barefoot while "healing"...she wears Birks or sandals around the house. Apparently it helps.
    I've been lucky to not have run into it yet. I have rather flat feet so I've sort of expected it, but luckily, nothing so far. I stand most of my day at work so I have good shoes...I'm betting that helps.
    Hope you're on the mend.

  14. Oh Crabby do I feel for you. I started my new year out for 2009 with grand ideas of this being my year to finally do something about my weight. I started at the gym everyday, eating healthy and BAM! Plantar Fascitis. I went to the Doctor and fortunately for me, he has it too so he was sympathetic and didn't give me the lecture on losing weight. I bought the inserts and the ugly yet comforting Birkenstock's. I stopped going to the gym and slowly healed my body.
    It was a good lesson for me in the long wrong. It taught me to slow down and focus on my body and not my scale. I am thankful that I went through that - now in hindsight of course.
    Do the stretches, buy the right shoes, and go see the Doctor.
    I bought a pair of the lightweight skechers so no more ugly birks and I am pain free. It goes away, but you have to pay attention to taking care of it.
    Good luck!

  15. I used to get that SO BADLY when I was still dancing (ballet, which even made your list of Things That Make It Worse!).

    After consulting with a lot of other ballerinas (you didn't think I was going to say "doctor" did you?) I went out and bought an exercise band and did this:
    Sit with your leg elevated (the coffee table is fine).
    Holding one end of the exercise band in each hand, loop it around your TOES - not the ball of your foot, but JUST your toes.
    Point your foot.
    Now flex JUST your toes, leaving your ankle straight/pointed. (It's harder than it looks.)
    Point your toes again.
    Flex, point, flex, point, ad naseaum. Increase the tension on the band as you get stronger.

    I used to do it every night for about 3 minutes per foot while I watched TV, and I never had problems again. No shoe inserts needed, no early morning pain, nada. These days I don't do it as often, but if my foot starts hurting at all, I go back to it and the pain is gone in a day or (maybe) two. Flexing and pointing your toes like that does pretty much the same thing as the towel grab: it increases the strength of the micro-muscles in your foot, which makes them better able to take the pounding you're dishing out when you run/dance/whatever.

    Whatever you decide to try, good luck!

  16. Thank you all, I am really appreciating these suggestions! So dumb that I didn't realize earlier; on the other hand there's a good chance I probably would have kept pushing the running and long walks anyway until it hurt enough to slap me upside the head.

    The most frustrating thing is there doesn't seem to be a perfect correlation between "good" behavior--doing all the stretches and ice etc, and staying off it, and the pain levels. Sometimes it hurts more when I've been "good" than when I've been less than angelic in my efforts to let it heal.

    One thing that's really helping psychologically is to hear how many of you have dealt with this successfully and are back to your normal exercise routines!

  17. I'm sorry to hear about your PF - a coworker of mine had to resort to shock wave therapy and she seems to be better now.
    Be careful about sharing shoes - in elementary school, my cool new indoor runners were stolen and I was forced to wear the "extra" pair that was kept in the classroom for just such an occasion and I got a Plantar's Wart because of it. Apparently mixing your foot sweat with another persons foot sweat causes these things to grow.

  18. Cranky, get yourself to a doctor ASAP. I’ve never had foot pain, but I’ve been dealing with knee pain for years. Recently, it’s gotten so bad that I can’t even walk three blocks without my knees swelling up like water balloons. The best tip I can give anyone with an injury is to take it seriously. I tried for too long to deal with it on my own, and I only hurt myself. It’s important to get the right diagnosis, learn exactly which physical therapy exercises will help you, and find out if you have any other mechanical issues contributing to the injury. After years of dealing with knee pain, I finally learned I have flat feet, slightly bowed legs, weak quads, hamstrings and hips, and a too-tight ligament that pulls my knee out of alignment.

    I hope you find out what caused your foot injury and how to fix it. And, by the way, can you get some sympathy foot massages out of this???

  19. Planter Fasciitis is one of the only running injuries I haven't gotten! I wrote a column not that long ago discussing it, and why heel striking as we run is not normal, and suggested being a mid-foot striker was the more natural way of running. Just to add to all of your useful suggestions: Rather than get an expensive orthotic to wear, just get a pair of high top tennis shoes, and sleep in them. That was your feet will remain flexed just the way the orthoric keeps them at a fraction of the cost. Usually P.F. hurts the most in the morning as our feet shorten the fascia as we sleep, but the tennies will prevent that.

  20. So, just to inject a whole other point of view, have you been to Barefoot Ted's web site? Yeah, he's um...unique. How about Barefoot Ken Bob? For me, the whole Nike Free, barefoot running, huarache thing makes sense in my head. But, there's really no good explanation for what goes on in there (my head), so read for yourself and see what you think.

    PS They are not doctors and neither am I so you know, disclaimer!

  21. When I start to feel my heel, I take it as A Sign that it's time to do more bike riding.

    I like the idea of getting a massage.
    Preferably while having minions fanning you with palm leaves and feeding you grapes.
    In Maui.

    Hey, stick with our suggestions, Crabby, and we'll get you better in no time :)

  22. I had both the planter fasawhatisit and a heel about painful. I found that swimming helped me to get exercise and remain off the foot. Also, the frozen water bottle trick really helped...

  23. Please post a pic of your flighty, flimsy pair of shoes. I want to see if they were worth it ;>)

  24. If you want the cure, rather than just treating the symptom, then you must find what's causing the pain. When you get to the root of the problem and correct that, only then will you have no more PF.

    The short answer is you have to return function to the ankle joint. The plantar fascia is doing the work for an ankle joint that has lost its function. You now have fascia (connective sheath) doing the job of the ankle joint and 1 + 1 doesn't equal 2 anymore.

    Grab a copy of "Pain Free" by Pete Egoscue. Read the first three chapters and then go to the chapter on what hurts (PF, back pain, headaches, etc.). You can contact any of the Egoscue clinics worldwide by going to and clicking on "Find a Clinic". If you have questions about the book or any other pain, you can contact me at

    Keep us posted!

    John Elder
    Clinic Director
    Egoscue Nashville

  25. I get PF occasionally -it always seems to me to be a warning that I'm wearing some bad shoes.

    One icing trick: throw a water bottle in the freezer (you might want to let a little water out first) and freeze it.

    Then use the bottle to get both some self myofacial release and some icing done at the same time.

    Or freeze a tennis ball or some such thing and use that. Myself, I love the knobby balls sold to be thrown in the dryer.

  26. Take Iodoral (an iodine/iodide supp). I had PF for a long time. Did the doctor route (including cortisone shot and PT). Did the ART (active release therapy) route. Did the shoe inserts and the weird shoes (MBT, d*mn are those shoes ugly). What finally worked? Started taking Iodoral on the recommendation of a 70 year old lifter. Within three days, my muscles felt a lot better (which is what the older lifter said would happen). Within a month, the PF got a lot better. Within 3 months, the PF was completely gone and has never come back. I walk 2+ hours a day on side walks. I walk barefoot on concrete. No problem.

    Good luck!

  27. Birkenstock inserts are also helpful and not too expensive.

  28. I had PF a few years ago and somehow it magically went away with minimal effort on my part - while I continued training for a marathon. One thing that helped enormously was a foot roller thingie made by the same company that makes The Stick (another great product).

    Also, since I tend to be awake during the middle of the night I would do foot flexes throughout the night and that helped relieve the morning pain. Of course, then you're just tired instead.

  29. Oh man! I feel for you! I haven't had PF myself, but my triathlon boss has been fighting it for going on 4 years now. His seems to come and go based on how hard he's training.

    Me? Any sign of foot pain and I'm off my feet until it goes away. I'm either a wimp or learning from others mistakes. I think I'll pick the latter.

  30. I'm just gonna echo what others have said: get to a podiatrist! The longer you delay, the more painful (and expensive) the situation will become.
    PLEASE take care of yourself!!!!!!

  31. I've flirted with PF for the past 9 months or so. But I DID mention my morning arch pain to my doctor who promptly poked at my heel, asked if that hurt, and when I said no he said I was fine. As you now know, that doesn't mean squat.

    Thankfully, stretching, taking a day off when it acts up, and rolling my foot on a frozen bottle of water seem to clear up the pain right away.

  32. Do as Sis (Bag Lady) regular GP just sent me to get expensive orthotics. With no other care I am still wearing them long after Sis is healed and I started long before she got hers. I am going to look into those five finger shoes though, thanks for the link ;)

  33. Nice review of Plantar Fasciitis and a not-so-nice reminder of having it. I treated mine with generic shoe inserts to counter the pronation of my feet, and eventually went to the night splint, which relieved that excruiating first step upon getting out of bed. I continue to wear arch supports, but the cheap, non-prescription variety. Maintaining a significant weight loss has also helped keep the PF from recurring.

  34. Crabby... SO SORRY!!!! I would whining big time too! I am not a nice person when I can't exercise! Very comprehensive post & I was all set to write about the stretches & the towel curl & marble pick up but you are so on it!!!!

    I have a lot of risk factors like age, flat wide feet with bunions, sex, my exercise.. OMG!

    I have been lucky though. I do always buy good shoes & I also buy inserts for my crazed feet. I stretch all the time but I don't do the towel/marble stuff. Maybe I should. I am a stickler for form too... just got to hope & listen to the bod..

    I hope you get better soon!!!! LOVED the pic of the guy in the ceiling!

    Thx for all the great info!

  35. ugh, I've heard horrible things about PF. have you tried rolling your foot on a frozen water bottle? Would that help?

  36. I've experienced the excruciating agony, the burning, the tearing, the got progressively worse and worse until I finally forswore all my cute flat shoes and went crazy at a Naturalizer outlet sale. Gradually, over the next few months, the pain went away. It flares up from time to time (barefoot walking on the beach!), but goes away within a reasonable time. Haven't done the expensive orthotics myself...everything I've read has been mixed. Some swear by them; some haven't gotten any relief with them.

    One thing you need to add,however...thigh stretches. Stretching my thigh muscles, particularly my hamstrings, has helped MUCH MORE than any of the calf and PF stretches. I read something that said when your thighs are tight, they pull on your calves, causing them to be tight, which pulls on your you should start at the top with your stretches. I've even seen immediate results...hobbling after doing some exercises, then did a minute of hamstring stretches, and was able to walk w/o hobbling right after. I keep a resistance band by my bed to help me stretch it out in the AM, and I think that and the better shoes have really helped me from having prolonged flare ups anymore.

  37. Good idea about rolling your foot on a frozen water bottle. I'll have to try that, as this ailment has been plaguing me in my left foot over the past several months. It came pretty much out of nowhere and I was perplexed at first since I haven't been running as much as I used to.

    Anyway, I got a few hard rubber balls at the dollar store, and when my plantar fasciitis acts up, I just roll my foot on the ball till the pain goes away. It usually "irons out" the tension, but I'm definitely going to try the stretching, too.

  38. When plantar fasciitis ruined attempt at half marathon training, the following treatment advice from my physical therapist helped:

    rest (hours on the stationary bike with a book, specifically)
    an exercise in which you sit in a chair and scrunch up a towel with your toes
    an exercise in which you pick up marbles with your toes and put them in a cup
    massaging the bottom of my foot by rolling a tennis ball around on the floor

    That is such a frustrating condition to have! Feel better soon!

  39. So sorry to hear you're injured too. I have just developed a dodgy knee and I'm seriously sulking. I think I'd prefer Christmas to be canceled than to have to give up on my marathon hopes now.
    Like you, I much prefer Dr Google to the real thing. ;)
    I hope you figure out a remedy that works well for you!

  40. You can also massage the bottoms of your feet (and many other places) by rolling them on a lacrosse ball. Lacrosse balls are hard rubber balls about the size of a tennis ball that cost $2-3 and should be available at any sports store. Good luck.

  41. Well the upside is you are officially a Runner now;) I don't think I've ever met one that hasn't had this at one point or another. I hope Dr. Google helps and you feel better soon!

  42. I developed plantar fasciitis over the summer. During my vacation it was a real pain in the foot. During my last week off I went to see a chiropodist who confirmed my internet diagnosis.

    I was fitted with a new pair of orthotics (my sixth pair, the other ones all hurt me, but I was a bad patient and never went back to those quacks).

    This pair did the trick. I still have occasional bouts of mild pain, but no more of the "where can I get a pet monkey to do all my stuff" pain.

    When I remember I stretch my calves, rolls my ankles and bend my feet around before I get out of bed. That also seems to help.

    Hope you get some relief and as a last resort you might want to try the doctor.

  43. I had NO idea that something like that even existed. I'm sorry to hear that you're going through something like that...DAMN! You exercise to prevent injury and what do you get as a reward? INJURY!

  44. "How about you guys? Have foot pain or other injuries that are complicating your fitness routine?"

    Umm, no, but I overstress my gluteuses mediuses a lot, which takes forever to get over because you use them for everything, and umm, I think my "fitness routine" is kind of in the crapper at the moment...

  45. I'm, um, too much of a slacker to need any of this, but as I'm getting more active I'll keep these in mind and probably thank you later! Sounds horrid. Have to say though, that night contraption is scary! lol. I doubt I'd use it either.

  46. Seconding the recommendation to check out Pete Egoscue's book Pain Free. If I hadn't gotten the book from the library, I would probably still be immobilized with back pain and taking prescription painkillers. Instead, I'm training -- pain free! -- for a half marathon next March. It's amazingly powerful and effective for being such gentle, low-stress exercises. It changed my life, truly.

  47. I had the plantar, and I guess I still have it... not sure when I will get over it. Anyways, I went to the podiatrist after four months of ignoring it. I got two cortisone shots in one month. The BEST relief is s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g. Lots and lots of stretching. The inserts that I can only buy at the podiatrist are also very nice support. But stretching is the best for me, hope it works for you.

  48. I suffered for over a year from intense pain upon awakening and when I would sit for any length of time. Running, walking, and weight lifting were so painful. Nothing I tried--stretching, orthotics, and shoe changes helped.

    I started swimming again. Instant relief after my first swim and the problem went away after two weeks of lap swimming. I'm back running, walking, and weight lifting but would recommend a swimming cure. It worked for me.

  49. I totally have it...and it really, really (can I say REALLY?) SUCKS! I have been using Super Feet insoles (found at my favorite REI), and that helped for awhile.... I finally bit the bullet and saw my Podiatrist (can you say I've been el cheapo?) and got fitted for made-for-my-feet insoles. ( I feel OLD and CHEAP.)
    They come next week,and they'd better work because I'm training for a 1/2 marathon!

  50. Hey Crabby! I sleep with the darn splint, have had 3 cortisone shots within a year, wear a "Super Feet" orthodic religiously, towel pull (well I use a long tube sock) 2-3x's per day, heel stretch and STILL my heel kills!! I was an avid Chroc Shoe wearer being that I do hair and they were soooo comfortable, better than my Danskos (sp?), now I wonder if a few years of wearing those ugly yet ever so comfortable shoes have screwed up my foot! I've lost 75lbs. this past year and I'm seriously concerned about giving up walking, I do about 3 5K's per week. I rested the foot by riding an indoor bike for 4 months last winter & I HATED IT!! First walk in early spring..eeeeouch heel pain again, WTF! Right? I can't seem to rid myself of this ailment. Any suggestions?? I weight lift regularly & Yoga as well but I need my cardio and biking sucks! Giving my ass a ride is no fun for me LOL

  51. OK, Crabby. Time for an update! Did you ever get better? 20/20 or one of the networks ought to do a special warning boomers about this PF epidemic. Since I got my pain 4 months ago, I run into so many people who are limping with it. . . and never get better. (Oh wait, I know one guy who did get better after 2.5 years. . . ).

    Me, I went from vigorous at 50 to housebound at 50. Even grocery shopping is something to dread. Sleeping is OK. The Big Sleep is probably the only sure cure.

    1. Well, it's a LOT better, but even now I have to go easy on running or jumping to keep it from flaring up.

      And I have tried just about every damn strategy there is!

      But being able to go for long walks is awesome, and I've got the elliptical which doesn't bother it. But would LOVE to go back to running.

      Good luck with yours Jonathan, and I hope you end up with the non-chronic kind!

  52. This is such a great post! Thank you for all the info. I friggin' hate the night splints. More like a night mare.

  53. Take a small rubber ball. Cut it in half. Place the flat side down and stand on the ball, so that the epicentre of your pain is being "gouged into" by the ball. Hurt yourself. That's one hell of a deep massage, which should eventually clear the pain. You may even put it in your shoe occasionally and walk with it. To not have it come back: stretch everything everyday (Achilles, calves - that's two different stretches, not one - quads, etc), wear flexible NOT supportive shoes, don't wear orthotics or splints.

  54. I love this are a funny and good writer. I have now read at least half of everything on the internet about PF!! Who knew something so simple could interfere so much with life. It's depressing. Just found some flip flops with a very high arch and they feel better then any other shoe. Bought them at Foot Solutions where I got an awesome assessment and learned so much about feet like the fact that we are all wearing shoes that are too small for us. Your shoe size is not the size you should wear but higher. That person also said that for me PF is an arch problem even though I have high arches and sure enough, these high arch shoes feel great. I even tried walking on gravel as one site suggested and actually it felt pretty good. I am pain free when in the swimming pool.

  55. So I had PF AND heel spurs on BOTH feet a few years ago AND I am in retail mgmt. (Can anyone say Black Friday? )

    Anyway? I tried it all, 3 podiatrists,2 physical therapists, cortisone shots, electroshock, frozen water bottle,.stretching, tennis balls, towel rolls a walking boot, a night splint..seriously, you name it, I tried it.

    Finally I burst into tears as yet another physical therapist attempted to fix me. I became hysterical that she wasn't to touch my feet ever again.

    I found an orthopedic surgeon, who had me on his surgery schedule the next wee2. He performed the Topaz procedure, which is a fairly new and minimally invasive procedure. Had to take off a full 12 weeks of work to heal and be in robot looking boots and in a wheelchair.

    2 years later and no pain. None. Zip. May not have fixed me forever but I'm good at least until in my 50s! (I am 32 now. )


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