If you’ve read about my treatment for plantar fasciitis, then you already know about my 10 month journey to find a cure for plantar fasciitis. I can finally say, with confidence, that I’ve been successful.
As an avid runner, this hasn’t been an easy time for me. When I was struck with plantar fasciitis, my goal had been to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Boy, did the wind ever get knocked out of my sails quickly. Forget about Boston, forget about any marathon, forget about running! That was my reality.
My running partner of the last 26 years, also happens to be my life partner – my husband. This made it twice as difficult as I’d wave goodbye as he’d headed off on his run without me. I tried to use my recovery time constructively. I started working out to the P90X Workout DVD’s, which was an awesome way to tone my upper body, a neglected area for most runners. In hindsight, there were probably some P90X workouts that never aided in my recovery from plantar fasciitis, like the Plyometrics and any of the jump exercises.
Today, I am so happy to say that I am almost recovered. Recovered enough that I am now running again. I started running again about two months ago, very slowly and very short distances. I have built my runs up to roughly 5 miles now. I have no problem taking days off so that I can gauge the progress of my plantar fasciitis very carefully. I don’t want a setback. I just want to run again.
So, I’ve summed up my story, and if you are looking for a cure for plantar fasciitis then you are probably chomping at the bit wanting to know:
“WHAT IS MY CURE FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS?”
Before I tell you the winning combination, I have to say that I’ve read a lot of rubbish on treatments that claim will cure plantar fasciitis and went down a lot of dead end streets, but if I had read between the lines, the answer was right in front of me. I just didn’t figure it out.
My personal cure has been a combination of the following treatments:
- Ice: Apply ice twice a day to the area of soreness. For me, this is a very localized point on my heel. Since plantar fasciitis is caused by a pulling or overuse of the fascia or arch tendon, instinct would tell me that I should apply the ice to the arch. However, my orthopedic surgeon advised me to apply it directly to the area of pain. I could definitely feel the difference when I changed the area that I was icing. So, my recommendation would be to ice where the pain is.
I am using an amazing product for icing called Active Wrap® Foot/Ankle Heat Ice Wrap. I wish I had one of these years ago. This high quality compression ice wrap is an essential for delivering maximum icing to a targeted area. It’s usefulness goes beyond plantar fasciitis and can help with so many sports inflicted injuries. I could go on about how great this product is, or you could head over to my ActiveWrap® Review where I cover all the specifics.
- Stretch, stretch, stretch: as many times a day as you can remember, do you calf stretches. I focus mostly on calf stretches, but arch and toe stretches are useful as well. The most popular advise is to apply the stretches for 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off. My favorite calf stretch is the stair calf stretch, although the wall calf stretch is also a well known alternative.
Stair Stretch Wall Stretch
- Night Splinting: I ignored this advise for a long time because I thought that I would never be able to sleep with a night splint. The next best alternative to night splinting was the Strassburg Sock, which I thought would be more comfortable. I picked up my Strassburg Sock from Amazon, where I found the best price ($20 cheaper than our local running store). I used it for a while last Fall, then I gave up. I didn’t love wearing it to bed, so I seldom did, but I used to wear it while sitting down at night.
The goal of the night splint and/or the Strassburg Sock is to maintain a flex in your arch. It’s important to understand, so I’ll repeat that the cause of Plantar Fasciitis is the pulling or overuse of the fascia or arch tendon that runs from your heel to the base of the toes. This tendon helps to keep the structure of the arch of the foot. Think of your foot as being in a flexed position while you are standing and applying your body weight. Then when you sit down, your foot naturally moves into a non-flexed position, which shortens those tendons. When you stand again, your arch flexes and you re-introduce the injury. Part of the cure for plantar fasciitis relies on keeping that flexed position and not reintroducing injury. If you are sitting or laying down and not wearing a splint of some sort, try to lightly stretch your foot before you stand and walk. You can do this with either by pulling back on your toes with your hands, applying a light stretch against a the wall or floor before you bare down on your foot with all your body weight.
- Wear Foot Supports: I encourage you to try different types of foot supports. You don’t need to go out and buy expensive orthotics, like I did, only to find that they don’t work. What has worked for me was the Birkenstock Blue Footbed. If your pain area is also in your heel, then I highly recommend the Birkenstock Blue Footbed. I felt a difference the moment I put them on. The Birkenstock insert cups the heel which allows the heel’s natural cushioning to protect itself.
I never walk barefoot anymore (although I hope that one day I will again). I have the Birkenstock Blue Footbed’s in my slippers at home which are at the side of my bed waiting for me when I wake up. If I go out, I switch them over to my outdoors shoes. I also wear them in my running shoes. Some shoes I need to take out the shoe inserts so that my feet are comfortable and some shoes I don’t. Just takes some experimenting to find what’s comfortable.
There you have it – my cure for plantar fasciitis. Only four simple steps. These recommendations don’t cost a lot of money, but they do take some discipline to stick to the routine. And I think that the discipline is the key to the cure.
When I talked to my orthopedic surgeon about running again, he said to start out slowly and if it hurts, then back off. I respect those words and don’t try to push myself. Believe me, I am just happy to be outside, running again.
I am not a doctor, I am a runner with a burning need to run again. I have visited the gamut of professionals which includes a:
- orthopedic surgeon
- laser technician; and
- massage therapist
… and I have learned from it all and I hope that I can help anyone else suffering from plantar fasciitis to recover.
For those of you with a calcaneus bone spur as a result of the plantar fasciitis, read on. The reason I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon was because my x-ray showed that I had developed a calcaneus bone spur. I was sure that it was the bone spur that was the sore spot on my heel. However, when I saw the x-ray, it showed that the bone spur was no where near the point of pain. As a matter of fact, the bone spur never hurt at all. I kept asking questions about how I was going to get rid of the bone spur, but the surgeon told me not to get hung up on the spur, but to cure the plantar fasciitis.
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