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Any ideas on how to cope with plantar fasciitis?

By January 20, 2009 - 3:23pm
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I've dealt with plantar fasciitis off and on over the last two years. When I was first diagnosed, I had to wear a foot brace 24 hours a day that went all the way up to my knee for about a month. Resting my foot did wonders for the pain, and it magically disappeared. I was then fitted for a special shoe insert that I use much of the time and that helps as well. The problem is that I'm pretty athletic. I love to run, walk, cycle, do yoga, swim, and generally chase after my very active kids. So from time to time my plantar fasciitis rears its ugly head and I'll wake up with intense heel pain. Whenever that happens, I'll take a couple of days off from running or I'll switch to cycling (which doesn't seem to put as much strain on my foot). Any ideas of how to get it to go away completely? I'm wondering if I'll just have to deal with it the rest of my life.

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Kristin, I suffered from plantar fasciitis a couple of years ago and I refused to cope with it. I was running then and wearing the wrong shoes (high heels for work). I researched beyond traditional medicine to find the root cause and like most of the postings here stated, there is very little offered by current treatments unless you are willing to take drugs for pain, which I do not like for me.

There are two things I can say helped the most: Zyflamend By NewChapter and supplements of MSM (powder form), in addition to removing foods that were causing more inflamation. I must say that those days are over and I no longer suffer from this annoying pain.

January 22, 2009 - 11:46pm

Plantar fasciitis is a common injury among runners, and we have our fair share of complaints in my training group. Sometimes, the cause can be traced back to the shoes. However, it can also be traced back to the runner's biomechanics.

If at all possible, and available, you should always be professionally fitted by your local running store, wear any orthotics you would with your running shoes, and inform the person fitting you about your plantar fasciitis.

You can use a Pilates resistance band by flexing your foot against it to help strengthen the muscle and build better flexibility. Also use the band to stretch your calf muscles. Amazing how all the muscles are connected and work together!

Ease back on running, especially long distances and hills. Shortening your stride can also help, as you would be putting less tension on the underside of your foot. In fact, walk, don't run, until your foot has healed. Ease back into running slowly, in properly fitted shoes. You might even need to change up your foot strike.

I've managed to avoid this type of injury by listening to my feet early on and adjusting my stride and foot strike. Hope these running-specific links help:

Running Injury Free: Plantar Fasciitis

Dr. Pribut's Sports Pages on Plantar Fasciitis

Cool Running: Plantar Fascitis

January 20, 2009 - 5:33pm

One more great resource I just found is the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, and they state, "There is a growing consensus of opinion that plantar fascitis is best treated non-surgically with the vast majority of patients becoming asymptomatic within twelve months of the onset of symptoms."

Sounds like it is possible to be completely healed and asymptomatic from plantar fasciitis. This site provided numerous treatment modalities, especially for the athlete who is preparing to return to their sport.

January 20, 2009 - 4:08pm
(reply to Alison Beaver)

Well, this is interesting..... on the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine site that you recommended, they mention:
"It is well recognized that recent trends in athletic footwear have actually predisposed to greater frequency of plantar fascitis due to the fact that athletic shoes have weaker midsoles with newer designs.The popular "two-piece" outsoles with an exposed midsole cause a hinge effect across the midfoot placing excessive strain on the plantar fascia in the running and jumping athlete.These shoes must be eliminated if the injured athlete is wearing them."

This is interesting to me because I've switched over to a running shoe that is designed with a two-piece outsole, just like they state I SHOULDN'T be wearing. Wow. I had no idea. My podiatrist never even warned me about that. And I think it's when I moved to this particular kind of shoe that my plantar fasciitis started acting up. Guess I need to find new running shoes.....

I think I'm going to get my old brace out too and see if sleeping in it helps at all......

I really appreciate your help with this research, Alison! You're the best!!!

January 20, 2009 - 4:21pm

I am not sure about the long-term effects or treatment of plantar fasciitis. It sounds painful!

Since you said that you "wake up with intense heel pain", the Mayo Clinic has one remedy for you: "Before you get out of bed in the morning, stretch your calf muscles, arch and Achilles tendon by reaching for your toes and gently flexing your foot. This helps reverse the tightening of the plantar fascia that occurs overnight."

Other sites concur with the stretching as an important part of treatment and prevention:

"Simply reducing pain and inflammation alone is unlikely to result in long term recovery. The plantar fascia tightens up making the origin at the heel more susceptible to becoming inflamed. Tightening of the plantar fascia happens in particular over night which is why pain is often worse in the morning. A plantar fasciitis night splint (video) is an excellent product which is worn over night and gently stretches the calf muscles and plantar fascia preventing it from tightening up overnight." Have you ever heard of/used the night splint? (not sure if this is legit or not).

January 20, 2009 - 3:59pm
(reply to Alison Beaver)

That night splint looks almost identical to the brace that I had to wear for a month -- the splint just isn't as big as my brace was, but it looks like they do the same thing. I probably should try sleeping in my brace for a while and see what happens. All I know is that after I wore it non-stop for a month, the pain was completely gone. But then a few months later, after I got back into running, the pain started up again, off and on. I'll check out that other site you recommended too. Thanks a million!!

January 20, 2009 - 4:13pm
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