Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Most Annoying Foot Pain

Plantar Fasciitis. WTH - you say? 

Pronounced "plantar fash-ee-eye-tis" but I tend to leave the double e out of the middle. 

At any rate, however you say it, it is a most annoying injury. Just when you think it's had it's fill of you, it raises it's ugly heel and stabs you once again.

I've had this before I started running. Runners seem to be more prone, but it is certainly not limited to those who exercise. It was summertime, and since I was wearing sandals to work everyday I kept a golf ball at my desk and would mindlessly run my foot over it every time I sat down. That seemed to speed the heeling, and I was limp-free fairly quickly

Unfortunately it's not summer-time now, and I'm too lazy to take my shoes off every time I sit down at my desk. Plus my feet stink more during winter.

What is this mystery condition? There is a ton of info on the web, and since I know how to use Google, I am now a PF expert.

Heel That Pain has a lot of comprehensive information, and many, many videos about the condition as well as other heel problems. They also have videos of stretches that may also help. They offer one product on their website - shoe inserts which they call "heel seats".

The short of it is that the Plantar Fascia muscle, which runs the length of your foot and connects your heel to your sole, becomes inflamed (there are a variety of reasons), and causes knife-like pain in the heel. The pain is usually more pronounced at the first step out of bed. There are a multitude of treatments, stretches and apparatus that are all touted to bring heeling.

I've tried many of them, including - using my tiger stick on my shins/calves, rubbing my foot over a lacrosse ball, rubbing my foot over a frozen water bottle, putting my running shoes on first thing in the morning, stretching my soleus muscle (which I think is the same thing as my shin) on my steps, stretching my calves out. I've also ordered some foot compression sleeves to sleep in. They should come today, so I can't report on any success/failure of them yet. 

When I had it years ago I had a night boot, but never could keep it on more than an hour, so ended up not using it at all. I considered ordering another one, actually I did order one. Then seconds after I hit the Amazon order button I opened up my account and canceled the boot. It looked like a space boot, and with my history I just didn't think I would be able to sleep with this thing on my foot. 

I've only run once in the last 4 weeks. But hubby and I have upped our walking to 2 miles/night. I was experiencing a distinct improvement, and was gearing myself up for a run this week, but the extra walking has brought slight aggravation. So I will keep with the walking, stretching, rolling, icing, massaging and see if after a week there is improvement. If so, then I will try a short run/walk and see what happens.

I was hoping to PR a 10K this April, but since I've already missed the first 3 weeks of training, I haven't even signed up for the race yet. I've decided not to sign up for any until the pain is gone. I don't want it to worsen, and there will be plenty of time for races after my foot has healed.

I am impatient though. 

I think my trouble started when the weather started turning, I started running almost every day - short distances, mind you, but still I think the quick increase (I was running 3x week) is the source of my pain. There is no way to know, but that's my suspicion.

My friend and owner of my local health food store also took a look at my running shoes, and thought they might be too stiff. He scored the bottoms with his pocket knife, so when I do get back to running, that should help prevent it from re-occurring. Or at least I tell myself that. 

Have you ever had this condition? What has worked for you?

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