Sunday, February 26, 2012

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a ligament attached to the heel bone (calcaneus) that divides and fans out to attach at the base of the toes (metatarsals). Layers of muscles, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels run over the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia covers these layers and acts as a bowstring on the bottom of the foot, helping the bones of the foot maintain the arch. A fat pad covers the plantar fascia beneath the heel bone; this pad cushions the heel as it takes the force of each footstep.*   (from webmd)

This is a very normal injury for runners, for many people who are on their feet most of the time.  I didn't recognize this as the problem till I had been running for about a year.  But now that I have suffered, I know now that I have had this ailment for years.  I have worked as an independent contractor cleaning a local business.  This injury first occurred then.

After about a year running I thought I had bruised the bottoms of my feet running on the trail with too little support in my shoes.  My doctor told me otherwise.  We started on finding a solution to plantar fasciitis (PF).
Our first solution was a night boot, some relief, but no cure.
Prescription insoles, some relief, but no cure.
Rolling feet on frozen (full) water bottles, some relief, but no cure.
Spending $1,000's on different shoes for running and work, some relief, but no cure.
At this point I started looking for solutions online:

New icing technique:   Fill bucket with ice, then water.  Dip feet for 10 seconds in, 2 minutes out x 10.  2x a day.
Find softer baseball (not softball, not t-ball, not tennis ball) but the softer of a real baseball.  Stand on the ball and roll it around.  Your weight will be completely on the balls... yes it hurts like hell till you get used to it.  But this type of rolling and icing helped better than any other method.

At this point I decided close my business and find employment.  Knowing I was crippled and knowing that I would probably have a job that I would be on my feet for the job.   I found, on a hunch, Sketcher's Shape-Ups Work.  I wore them for two weeks before I got hired at  Wal-mart.  By the time I was working there my feet were feeling better than they had been in years.  Sketcher's Shape-Ups gave me my life back!

I do get twinges of pain from time to time and in the late miles of ultras, but I am not disabled anymore.

Now I run barefoot a few times a week to strengthen the muscles in my feet.

Joe Taricani of The Marathon Show sent me a video of a stretch he learned to help heal PF.
 This stretch is very helpful to easing discomfort when it rears its ugly head.

Chris Russell of and the runrunlive podcast has posted this video of PF self-massage
Thank you Chris and I suggest giving his podcast a spin, great info.

Now I'm running in: Hoka One One Bondi for the road
 And for the trail Altra Lone Peak Trail shoes

 Yes minimalist for trail and maximum for road!  LOL  we will see how this works.

I hope this helps someone keep running.

Happy Running,

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