Plantar Fasciitis

My dear friend Mandi over at the blog “Immeasurably More”, asked me for some tips regarding Plantar Fasciitus. I decided to share the information that I gave her.

She asked me because I have been trying to get rid of it for well over a year. And before that, I let it go on far too long before taking action. So whenever I hear that someone may be experiencing the same problems, I suggest that they take immediate action and don’t let it get as bad as mine did.

There is a lot of information out there. So I won’t go into detail on diagnosis, pathology, or specific techniques. I’ve gone to a podiatrist, physical therapist, massage therapist, and even took a sports injury class for my OT continuing education. Although I am an OT, this info is really from more of my experience than my education. So don’t sue me if you don’t like this advice! Basically, there is no quick fix.

Plantar fasciitis stinks. I would use stronger language, but I try to refrain from that. First of all, it HURTS! You can feel sharp heel pain and burning or aching pain in the arches. It is worse when you wake up, but mine also increases with use.

Secondly, most of the research suggests that it takes 6-18 months to resolve. And that clock only begins when you actually begin to do something about it.

Thirdly, one of the treatments is REST. Resting your feet seems nearly impossible! Some of the literature must be taking into account those of us chasing twins or children around, and now the literature suggests “relative rest”. I interpret that as, “Only able to rest when relatives visit and take care of your children”. But I still don’t think that is actually what they mean.

This is certainly not all inclusive and does not include medications. The list below emphasizes things you can do for yourself.

1. Find a podiatrist that believes in resolving the problem and not just treating the pain. Although the pain is what you want to get rid of, pain is also a messenger. It is telling you that you need to make changes.

2. Relative rest. Whatever that means to you.

3. Gently, but consistently stretch your calves. Make sure you stretch the gastrocnemius (superficial) and the soleus (deep). They are different stretches. Do this several times a day, but especially in the a.m.

4. Ice your feet at the end of the day. Use common sense, but about 10 minutes with a layer of material (socks) between your feet and the ice in a ziplock seems to work well. Also a frozen waterbottle is convenient.

5. Massage your feet before you start your day and at the end of the day. Use a tennis ball to massage your feet, by sitting at the edge of your bed and pushing the sole of your foot on the ball while rolling it. This will provide both a stretch and massage. I suggest a tennis ball, because you should be wearing shoes ALL day. And who really wants to test the love of their husband with those feet?

6. Find a trigger point in your calf (about 1/3 of the way down from your knee in the back of your calf) and massage it. You can do this by crossing your legs and sliding the top leg over until the bottom knee is at the trigger point. Then put pressure on the calf at the trigger point by pushing the bottom knee into the top calf. You may feel a tender spot. Don’t cause more pain, but do use a pressure that you can tolerate.

7. Also talk to your doctor about orthotics, night splints and arch taping/strapping /kinesiotaping.

8. Talk to your doctor about physical therapy. A PT can provide ultrasound, massage, medication via electrical stimulation, more modalities, and a complete home program. They also can do a full evaluation to identify other biomechanical factors.

9. Wear good shoes! Always. Don’t walk barefoot. Don’t wear those adorable shoes calling your name. Say, “Goodbye” for now. I wear cross trainers with my orthotics. I am still looking for a good pair of running shoes to use with my orthotics. They really don’t fit well in the ones that I have.

In all honesty, when I said, “I feel good!”, I was ignoring my feet. But I do love to run. I have to cross train with an elliptical, pilates, and spin class because I just can’t run as much as I want to. My feet do not respond well. So I do feel your pain, Mandi. Take care of your feet! And wear your tennis shoes to Disney!

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One Response to “Plantar Fasciitis”

  1. Mandi Says:

    I have already done some stretching this morning and I’m wearing my tennis shoes. They look so lovely with the cute PJs I have on!

    Thanks for these helpful tips!

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