How I’m Treating My Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar-Fasciitis

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I’ve had a few requests for an update on my plantar fasciitis.

I don’t see many posts about your plantar fasciitis and would like to see more (how you are caring for it, what shoes you’ve been wearing, what stretches you recommend). That condition is extremely common, which I just recently found out, but it’s been hard finding bloggers who are open to discussing it so I can see how other people are treating theirs.

The reason I haven’t shared more about how I’m treating it is because nothing seems to work. If I had a miracle cure, I’d be shouting it from the rooftops.

Here is the back story. I’m a fairly new runner. I took up the sport about three or four years ago, sheerly by accident. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve tried to run several times throughout my life, but it never stuck till now. I used to find running boring. That was back before I had kids. Remember those days? It seems like another lifetime to me! When I finally caught the running bug, I think the lure was in the freedom to be alone. I joke that the only time I can be alone is when I’m running . . . because the kids can’t catch me!

I had no running coach, no experience to draw from, and no running partner so I was pretty much going it alone. I started experiencing knee pain, and after doing some research and reading the book Born to Run, I started running in Vibram Five Fingers — shoes that are supposed to simulate barefoot running.

My knee pain dissipated, and I loved “barefoot running” for a while but then I started having these pains in my right heel when I got out of bed in the mornings. This was the summer of 2012.

I ignored it for a long time but in the spring of 2013, I finally decided to see a doctor. After x-rays, I was diagnosed with heel spurs and plantar fasciitis.

JOY!

On the advice of my strength trainer, I sought the help of a chiropractor who is an athlete and sympathized with my desire to continue running. I also switched to more traditional running sneakers.

I believe the chiropractor enabled me to get through my half marathon in the fall of 2013 without major injury. My plantar fasciitis did worsen during my training, but it was never completely debilitating. His therapies included manipulations as well as physical therapy exercises and electrical stimulation.

He also gave me good running advice as I trained for and ran my half marathon.

The half marathon didn’t do me in. In fact, the irony is that my feet felt really good the week after I ran the race.

But then the plantar fasciitis symptoms came back full force — pain in my heel and arch of my foot, not only in the mornings but throughout the day as well.

My insurance only covers a limited amount of chiropractic visits for a particular issue and I had maxed out, so I sought the help of an orthopedist several months ago.

He told me to stop running (I stopped . . . sorta; every few weeks I get desperate and go out for a short run to clear my head) and prescribed physical therapy 2-3 times a week (which I’ve been doing) plus an anti-inflammatory (which I have yet to take) as well as heel cups (which I still have to get fitted for) and a bone scan to rule out a stress fracture (which I have scheduled for tomorrow).

I love my physical therapist, and I feel like she’s doing all she can, but it’s not working. Every time I think I’m turning a corner, it comes back in full force. It is frustrating to say the least. I thought I was getting back to running last week, but I have had to stop again.

I’ve been trying to stretch the dickens out of my foot when I’m not in therapy. Stretching definitely helps. I have a heel rocker that I use whenever I happen to trip over it (which is often throughout the day) and I do a towel stretch every night before getting into bed and every morning before putting my feet on the floor. I sleep in a Strasburg sock. When I think about it, I roll my foot on a golf ball. I do eccentric calf raises on the steps. My PT uses KT Tape to support my foot in between visits. I have spent my kids’ college funds on supportive and somewhat fashionable shoes this past fall, and I wear Crocs around the house.

I’m telling ya, I do everything I can think of to beat this nasty beast!!! I’ve even started using Young Living essential oils in hopes that they might help alleviate my discomfort. They do seem to help briefly, but they certainly haven’t removed the issue. If anything, my feet are just as painful now as they have ever been.

So that’s the latest. I wish I had some great news to report, and I wish I could tell those of you suffering from the same thing that there is one cure-all, but there just isn’t.

After my bone scan rules out a stress fracture, and my PT is pretty confident it will, I’ll request a cortisone injection.

JOY and RAPTURE!

Cuz you know how I love a needle.

I’m trying not to let it get me down. I’m thankful for my general good health. I do know one thing, though. I HAVE TO GET OUTSIDE. If the injection doesn’t fix me, I will take up biking.

Here’s hoping it won’t come to that!

Comments

  1. Mindy vG says

    Hey there from Munich, Germany!
    Maybe I can help? I have felt your pain & it’s the worst…well labor was no picnic but at least it was over in 36 hrs. ;) This went on for a year for me. Ugh. I did many of the same things you mentioned (podiatrist visits, foot braces, physical therapy etc. and NOTHING helped–tho Dansko clogs at least allowed me to walk).

    I was about 2 wks into a 30 day clean-eating/detox program & realized I’d gotten out of bed one morning & didn’t have to hop on one leg to the bathroom. It was a total miracle! I seriously couldn’t believe after a YEAR of therapy $$, time & agony…it just took 2 wks of this program to heal my foot. I know you are a gluten-free gal..but this involves more–taking out dairy, soy, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, basically all breads, nothing processed…but it’s only for 30 days. If I could do it-with my love of Starbucks, cheese & wine..anyone can!

    Afterwards you can assess how you feel, then slowly add foods back in and see if you have a reaction to them. Lots of times we have food allergies/sensitivities and don’t even realize it. What I found out was, with this program I was eating non-inflammatory foods. Doing so actually gave my foot the time needed to heal itself from the inflammation. Voila! Nutritional healing magic ;) I’m happy to give you more info on the specific program if you’re curious.

      • says

        Right?! Guilty as charged. Post-post-holiday bloating. Ugh. I did this detox in Nov. and felt fabulous–loose jeans, lots of energy & cleared up the brain fog.
        However 3 wks back in the USA — & let’s just say I’m starting over ;)
        The program is from a company called Arbonne–are you familiar with them?
        Best known for Swiss-formulated pure & safe products. Full disclosure– I’m a consultant as I had amazing results with their stuff. Which means tho, that I can personally help you get started if you choose to go for it ;)

        Probably the simplest way to share the info is for you to take a peek at my website. (added it to my private info above) There’s a 2 min. intro video & short questionnaire, which helps me figure out how I can best help you. (seen only by me)
        Following that is an option to watch a 20 min. nutrition video which is what really explains the 30 day program in detail & includes product info. This explains the “why & how” of the program–which is key. I’m actually rather stoked because I’m confident you’ll feel fabulous and heal your foot too!

  2. Tina says

    I read in your post that you have not yet taken the anti-inflammatory meds. I urge you to try them. That is what worked for me.

      • Susan says

        I’ve really seen a solid 2-4 weeks of anti-inflammatories work well for some people. Some –not so much, but for others =YES. Also…walking backwards around the house, heel first is a really great exercise.

        Best of luck…it really can interfere with things for a long time and there is no one easy answer. I admire you for doing all that you’ve done and love that you tried a variety of things, including the PT. I’ve also heard some talk of a night time heel strap ? I don’t know much about it though. Hang in there!

  3. Jenn A says

    I, too, have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. My doctor showed me exercises I could do–stretches before I get out of bed in the morning (that is when mine hurts the most), suggested I wear shoes all the time (yuck, because I love going barefoot or wear my slippers inside), and loaded me up on ibuprofen. My personal favorite is freezing a water bottle and rolling that under my foot. Unfortunately, everything I mentioned was not enough. I had to have custom orthotics made and that did the trick! I’m pain free most of the time now!!

    • says

      Yes, I do those stretches, and I try to wear shoes, although I hate them. I did the frozen water bottle a lot during my training. It did seem to help. I haven’t done it lately b/c a) it’s winter and I’m already cold enough and b) my PT is more a fan of heat to loosen up those tight muscles. But maybe I should try the water bottle again. I do think it helped a lot, especially after my long runs.

  4. Danielle says

    I agree with Tina above. Try the anti-inflammatory. I use alleve once a day and its been a MIRACLE. I also try to wear supportive shoes (read: no flip flops or flats), I did get an orthotic for when its super achey and I saw a podiatrist a few times for cortizone shots (hurt like hell for a second but then miracously I could walk!)… that was when it was at its worst.

    The orthotics with the drugs seem to help the most. And I still go barefoot at home and wear slippers sometimes if my feet are cold, but if it starts up again (usually if I’m walking around too much or standing a long time then I wear shoes all day for a few days).

      • Lynda says

        Jo-Lynne….
        so frustrating isn’t it. I too have the same issue and nothing really helps. I will warn you the cortisone shot hurts like hell AND…..mostly they don’t work. Relief for about 3 weeks but it is the best weeks EVER. Sometimes they do work, I’ve had PF in both feel and the cortisone shot worked in one foot. Barefoot and slippers worst thing to do….crocs are good, ugly but good. Good luck. Would love to hear if you are finally ever to overcome the beast. We forget how important our feet are until they hurt every day all day…………

  5. says

    I sometimes wonder if there is such a thing as a cure. I’ve had mine more or less for about 12 years. After therapy failed for me (never got the shot), I resolved to using orthotics (I loved Powerstep insoles) and/or high quality shoes with a bit of arch support. It’s rare to have a flare-up now, but then again I don’t run. I wish you the best with yours.

  6. says

    Oh ouch. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this, Jo-Lynne. It sounds painful and to not be able to run, something you enjoy so much, well, I can imagine that is almost as painful as the pain itself. Here’s hoping something will work!

    Nell

  7. Stephanie says

    Hi Jo-Lynne,

    I have a severe bone disease, so I can understand your pain…can I recommend water running if you have a pool available? I wear a aqua jogger belt and can run without any weight on the joints. It’s fantastic, if a bit boring.

    xo, Stephanie

  8. says

    Hi Jo-Lynne,

    A runner friend of mine said she did acupuncture for hers – dry needling is the actual treatment she had, it worked and hasn’t had a reoccurrence of plantar faciitis pain since! And she continues on with her marathon madness :)

    I’m seriously considering doing dry needling for mine, too, I just need to figure out the insurance coverage.

  9. says

    I have to tell you that going grain-free and sugar-free really made in impact on curing mine. But I am left with bone spurs:( I also recently upped my Vit D3 and it is amazing how much that has helped with PF and lower back pain.
    Heel Cups – when I went searching for them – I found these and seriously I own 3 pairs now (one in gym bag shoes, one in my everyday shoes and one pair that floats from pair to pair). THESE have made all the difference for me. Heel Seats: http://www.amazon.com/HTP-Heel-Seats-Inserts-Medium/dp/B000KPHHQA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389652346&sr=8-1&keywords=heel+seats+for+plantar+fasciitis I know exactly where you are – a day will come when you feel better.

  10. lisa says

    Plantars Fascii (dadgum) Itis..
    The only thing that helped me walk again was Skechers shoes!!!
    They have the right support. I cannot walk far without them.

  11. Cindy says

    I am in the same boat…plantar fasciitis, bone spur in my heel and tendonitis. I’ve tried all the same things, and they weren’t working. I watched a YouTube video last week that showed massage that you start working in circles just under your toes and work your way back down your foot applying pressure for about five minutes. It has done wonders…not sure I explained it well but try YouTube. I have also gotten inserts from Dr. Scholls that have started to make a big difference after a week although I admit that they were miserable for the first few days. I hope it gets better for you soon!

  12. Teresa says

    I’ve had plantar fasciitis in both feet. First my left and after months and months of PT I had surgery!! Worked like a charm. Just had surgery on my right and still having pain but I attribute that to my doctor. Good luck!

  13. Lynn B says

    My husband was bothered with plantar fascitis, went to the doctor, took a prednisone dose pack, and has never looked back. Pain free for five-plus years!

  14. Laurie says

    I have PF and it went away for several years actually and within the last year it has flared with a roar! I can have pain all day and there are times I can barely walk. I’m like you – tried everything. I live in a shoe like Crocs EVERY day. Brand name is Nothinz. http://www.sportco.com/store/pc/Nothinz-c663.htm
    My sister who is a hospital nurse told me about them years ago and to me they are much better than Crocs. They’re not fashionable at all, but since I work from home, comfort is the name of my game :) I do take anti-inflammatories every now and then and even a prescription naproxen on days that I’m in excruciating pain (which is usually a day when I’m on my feet all day long). Because of this pain, I haven’t really been able to walk anymore for exercise much less run in my Vibrams. And my weight gain has been ridiculous… :( Hope you find something that works for you soon…I’ll be checking in to see!

  15. Laurie says

    I forgot to mention that in the summer I wear the FitFlops – totally for the comfort level for my PF. Otherwise, no fitness benefit that I can tell haha!

    • says

      All good input. I’m so sorry for your pain! Mine never reached a level of intensity that I would describe as excruciating (thankfully) but we have had some recent developments and after a YEAR of being treated for PF, my PT discovered that it is NOT PF but an issue in my back causing my foot pain. They are now treating my back, and my foot pain is all but gone. My back, on the other hand . . . LOL!! I will be writing an update soon. I was hoping to see my doc today to see his take on this new development, but the appt got postponed due to the snow.

  16. Karen Hall says

    I have plantar fasciitis. I bought a pair of high-heeled (5″) booties and a couple of years ago and noticed it really helped with the pain. Since then I try to wear heels a couple of times a week to keep the pain away :)

  17. Jessica says

    Tightness of the calves is definitely a huge factor. I find that proper stretching of the legs/calves including using a foam roller helps me immensely with prevention- good shoes and proper running form also helps make great strides. Many people assume that once they get plantar fasciitis that stretching it or wearing orthotics will help- big no no! The plantar is a thin tissue comprising of 3 bands (tough fibrous tissue) which like any other of your muscles, will further tighten and get agitated when stressed. Would you jab at an open wound? Stretching and using hard orthotic inserts will essentially be the same thing. Orthotics have proven to be a great preventative tool, but during a flare up, they are the last things I look to. My secret consists of icing, rest, massaging, Dr. Scholl’s athletic gel soles/inserts (super soft supports that won’t cause further harm) and BFST Plantar Wrap (stimulates blood flow in my plantar using EMR to bring nutrients and oxygen back into my feet to promote healing). The wrap is a little pricey but it has worked for me and others I have recommended it to, which makes the $150 or so well worth it! http://www.kingbrand.com/Plantar_Fasciitis_Treatment.php?REF=47PV1

  18. says

    Well I’ve come across an article about Plantar fasciitis and plantar fasciosis, you might want to check on that because you might be suffering from Plantar Fasciosis or the necrosis of the fascia. Icing reduces the inflammation and swelling of your muscles and tissues. Stick your sore foot in a bucket of mixed ice and water after your run, or massage the bottom of your foot with a cylinder of ice made with a dixie cup.

  19. Jen says

    I just found your blog, and THANK YOU for writing about your trials and tribulations with plantar fasciitis! I was officially diagnosed a month ago and am trying to find a way to live with it. I had a MAJOR episode when I was in Chicago for a conference in June and could barely put weight on my left foot – that was my wake-up call. Trying to find cute shoes that are “supportive” and allow me to walk around pain free is such a challenge, and your blog from June is helpful – I already have the Birkenstock Giseh’s but will look into a few other shoes you mentioned. THANKS again!

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