Plantar Fasciitis – boo

I’ve been running for over 3 years now with very minimal injury issues & extremely minimal encounters with plantar fasciitis (PF). I remember feeling little fleeting twinges of PF pain during some runs early on, but they would quickly disappear & not persist. That was even before I ever knew what PF was, so I just thought that maybe the skin under my feet was so dry that it was on the verge of cracking as I put my feet through the motions of running. (Little did I know!) Recently, I was taken by surprise that the PF pain would be so bad after returning from a 2.5 month break from heavy training. The bottoms of my midfoot have been hurting when I step out of bed in the morning, so much that I’m afraid to walk those first few steps of the day. However, the pain would go away after a few steps & a quick stretch. That is the classical symptom of PF. Then it started to hurt less than a mile into my short runs, preventing me from finishing my workouts. About one week ago, the pain decided to stick around so I’ve been feeling the pain throughout the day, even when walking. I thought and thought about it & I finally realized what happened…

  • Chronically tight calves/hamstrings
    (this was a problem even before I did IMTX & I never did anything about it even after the race. Doing absolutely nothing after the race did nothing to undo the stresses on these muscles, so the problems became more evident once I finally decided to come back)
  • Tightness of the toes & everything they attach to in my foot
    (I’m no expert at the proper terminology, but my masseuse always told me that I need to stretch my toes regularly bc they are so tight that they tend to curve upwards. haha, I know I’ve got some fugly toes!)
  • Recent switch to Newtons (Distance U)
    (I thought that since I regularly switch between stability & minimal shoes – Brooks Adrenaline GTS, Brooks ST Racers, & Saucony Hattori, that my transition into Newtons would be relatively quick, easy, & painless.  I jumped straight into 3 mile runs the first few times I wore them. Although I absolutely LOVE the feel of the Newtons & the pep that they add to my step, the PF pain was exacerbated exponentially during this time span of only one week. It wasn’t until after I had run in the Newtons 3 times that the PF pain became persistent, even when walking. I’ve had to take extra measures to get me thru the work day these past few days (PF foot sleeves & taping). I was  hoping I wouldn’t ever have to say this but I’m going to have to lay off the Newtons for a while.)
  • Simply lack of adequate stretching, foam rolling, massaging
    (Multiple people have been on my case about not doing this stuff enough, especially my masseuse. I like to think that it’s not because I’m lazy, I’m just BUSY! But then again it’s time to tell that little voice in my head to STFU because if I can make time to work out, I HAVE to make time to care for my body)

It’s pretty idiotic that I own all these things [see pic below] & I still allowed the PF to happen. But believe me, they will be put to good use now because I want to run!

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Lesson learned the hard way… AGAIN! The first time I learned this lesson the hard way was back in 2011 when I had ITB Syndrome, which kept me from running for nearly 3 months. With persistent stretching, strength training, & foam rolling, it went away. So the good thing is I’m fairly confident that I can get this PF to go away without any drastic measures. I don’t feel the need to see a podiatrist or PT at this point. I made a list of things to do to help make this recovery process as quick & painless as possible. If I post it here, it’ll make me feel like all of you are holding me accountable for actually doing it, so here’s the list:

  • Wear PF foot sleeves (daily until it resolves)
  • Tape feet before running/walking (has helped me get thru the day)
  • No running as needed to allow healing
  • Lay off the Newtons until it resolves
  • Ice feet after workouts & after long day at work
  • Massage feet & legs
  • TWICE daily – Roll feet with frozen water bottle or frozen golf ball
  • Roll feet some more using golf ball or lacrosse ball
  • Foam roll soleus (shin area) & calves
  • TWICE daily plantar fascia stretch
  • TWICE daily calf stretching
  • TWICE daily hamstring stretching
  • TWICE daily toe stretching
  • TWICE daily towel stretch (especially before stepping out of bed in AM)
  • Stretch other areas of leg/hips
  • TWICE daily shin curls & towel curls
  • Continue strength training
  • Take NSAID (Aleve) if needed to minimize inflammation
  • Change shoes at lunchtime if the PF is bothering me
  • Don’t wear the same pair of shoes 2 days in a row
  • Don’t wear high heels
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