Seriously, Foot? Get With The Program.

Uncool foot stuff going on over here.

On Tuesday last week, I went for a run (we had fun, and even crawled under a tree – see here).  Everything was dandy.

On Wednesday, I did spin/yoga.  My usual combo, and felt pretty normal.

On Thursday morning, my left heel felt a little funny.  So I skipped my run and stuck with BodyPump/Hot Yoga.  Also, extra stretching and tennis ball rolling.

Left foot hiding in shame...

Left foot hiding in shame..

On Friday morning, my left heel felt really funny every time I took a barefoot step (much better with shoes on).  And I don’t mean “funny” in a “ha, ha” way.  So I sat for most of the day and didn’t do any working out.

On Saturday, it stopped being funny (oh, wait, it never really was), and hurt even more than on Friday.  After a day of rest.  I call shenanigans.  KMN and I had planned to go for a long run, but I conjured up enough wisdom to know that was a royally bad idea.

Folks, I fear there’s a touch of plantar fasciitis in the house (errr…apartment?).

This is a major bummer.  Things were rolling along so nicely, and after months of tedious, careful, slow building, I was finally getting my miles up close to where I want them to be.  I didn’t do anything majorly stupid or irresponsible.  Not cool, foot. Not cool.

But, enough moping.  Let’s start with this, for my non-running friends: What’s plantar fasciitis?  Better yet, what’s your plantar fascia?  Why, I thought you’d never ask!

The plantar fascia is the long, tough piece of connective tissue that connects your toes to your heel – basically, it creates the arch of your foot.  Sometimes, this tissue gets irritated – usually where it attaches to the heel – a condition called plantar fasciitis.  This causes discomfort/pain right here:

I'm sorry.  You probably don't want to be this close to my foot. But it was the best way to illustrate THE exact spot.

I’m sorry. You probably don’t want to be this close to my foot. But it was the best way to illustrate THE exact spot.

Plantar fasciitis is commonly caused by extra stress on the arch of the foot – for example, in runners who increase mileage too quickly, in overweight individuals, and in those without proper arch support in their shoes.  This extra pressure on the arch results in stretching of the plantar fascia, which then becomes inflamed at the point where it connects to the heel (see photo above).  Very tight Achilles tendons/calves can also contribute to plantar fasciitis (everything in the legs and feet is connected).

Most textbooks would tell you that plantar fasciitis is worst in the morning, after sitting for extended periods, and after extended periods of standing/walking/activity.  This leads me to wonder when it’s not aggravated…? (While you’re sitting.)   Anyway, this is my first personal encounter with plantar fasciitis, and I am by no means an expert – but I haven’t yet correlated any of the aforementioned things to more/less discomfort yet.  In the meantime, I’m pursuing a standard treatment plan:

1. No running.

2. Ice and massage:

3. Supportive shoes.  Going barefoot definitely hurts, but in sneakers, or even my Adidas “Inside Sandals”, I often don’t feel any discomfort at all:

I rather adore my Adidas nubbly sandals.

I rather adore my Adidas nubbly sandals.

4. Calf Stretching: More on this in a separate post.

5. Ice cream.

On Saturday, we tried out Neli’s, a gourmet ice cream shop pretty close to where we live.

I had a scoop of dark chocolate in a waffle cone.  Pretty decadent!

I had a scoop of dark chocolate in a waffle cone. Pretty decadent!

On Sunday, we popped over to City Square Mall.  Guess what’s there?  DAIRY QUEEN.  Dairy Queen is the ice cream of my childhood, and as artificial as it is, I love that stuff.  I treated us to Blizzards:

6. South Indian food.  We were in Little India on Sunday, and stopped for masala dosai (huge savory Indian pancake, folded over and stuffed with seasoned potatoes).  *gobble*

Hanging with your husband WHILE eating South Indian food is extra-awesome.

Hanging with your husband WHILE eating South Indian food is extra-awesome.

OK, so maybe 5 and 6 were more for my mental health, than my physical health.  But 1-4 are legitimate plantar fasciitis treatments.

By Sunday, there was some noticeable improvement, and moreso on Monday morning.  Plantar fasciitis can become quite a problem (like, requiring months to fully resolve) for some people, but I’m hoping that I’ll be rewarded for catching this mild tweak very early and treating it appropriately.  Time will tell.  In the meantime, I’ll try not to whine and mope too much.  Deal?

Anything I’m missing on the plantar fasciitis treatment front?
[I do respectfully request that you keep your horror stories to yourself for the time being, though.]

*I have a PhD in Biochemistry.  I am not a medical doctor, nor do I have a degree in physical therapy. Please consult the appropriate specialists to help you diagnose and treat your conditions.

20 thoughts on “Seriously, Foot? Get With The Program.

  1. Amy @ Writing While Running

    Try a lacrosse ball (if you can find one in Singapore?) or a golf ball. My crazy ultimate friend suggested this and it works well. Damn thing is so hard that I am sore for a day after massaging with it (and I scream/grimace in major pain), BUT it is all worth it. The day after I am sore, I feel much, much better. I hope that is not a horror story?

    If you can drool over my NJ pizza, I can drool over your access to Indian food. Supposedly, I live in one of the most highly populated Indian areas of the US, but have yet to find good, cheap, fast Indian food. Sigh.

    1. Holly KN Post author

      I used to think anything other than a tennis ball sounded masochistic. Then, I took that photo of my photo on the tennis ball, and realized how collapsed the tennis ball got. Hmm…

      And yes. Some most excellent North and South Indian food here. I probably could’ve eaten 3 of those dosas!

  2. Jean

    Oh no, seems I managed to get behind on blog posts! Here I thought your life was all cheese and Shel Silverstein jokes.

    How terrible about your foot. You mentioned that you were trying out some new Brooks/forefoot striking – could it maybe have something to do with that? I don’t know anything about anything, but figured I’d ask since that’s the first thing I thought of when you mentioned it. Hopefully all your rehabbing helps!

    1. Holly KN Post author

      I prefer to focus on cheese & Sliverstein, for the moment. 🙂

      Honestly, I tried the shoes once, about two weeks back. Since then, I’ve been either racing or on trails, and I haven’t wanted to use them. It’s a good thought, but probably not the cause, since I haven’t worn them much (like, more than once). Strange as it sounds, though, they’re tempting to try now, since walking on my forefoot doesn’t hurt at all, but landing on my heel does (barefoot, at least – everything feels mostly OK in a regular shoe). Oh so many variables… 🙂

    1. Holly KN Post author

      Gotta be honest – I’ve heard of freezing water bottles, and I’ve heard of golf balls, but I’ve never heard of freezing a golf ball. I may just have to track down a golf ball now!

  3. Kristen L

    Sorry to hear about the foot pain! Seems like you have a few methods to try reducing the pain and get back in track. I have never had an issue in that area, so I don’t have any good tips for you. Good luck, and I hope you feel better soon!!

  4. John

    Ouch. I have had plantar issues once before, which I diagnosed to worn out racing flats. Not nice. I sure the ice cream treatment will be very enjoyable tho….

    1. Holly KN Post author

      I think it was the most effective of all methods attempted. I may have to integrate it into my regular training routine… Oh, wait… 🙂

  5. Cait the Arty Runnerchick

    no joke i’m rolling my plantar when i started reading this!!! ugh, the bummer with plantar is it can creep back up out of nowhere…the good news is it’s kinda mysterious and can then go away quite suddenly too. but it can drag on…it’s so freaking finicky!! i roll actually on an old Tylenol container, or a fatter drinking glass, i’ve used old glass beer bottles and they work well. then icing; try stretching ur calf muscles too, i’ve sometimes thought being tight there can have a trickle down effect. i hope u’re feeling better soon!

    1. Holly KN Post author

      Reading this is like music to my eyes (?). I’ve only owned it for a few days now, but this is the weirdest “injury” I’ve ever had. It hurts. It doesn’t. More. Less. These shoes felt good yesterday. They hurt today. That step felt good. This one hurt! What’s different? Argghhh….

      Somehow, I feel this is a lesson in patience. And yes, spending plenty of time on the calves.

      Question, though – I know I’m supposed to be icing (inflammation, etc.) – but after I’m done, my first few steps hurt quite a lot more (tightness?). Any experience/thoughts?

  6. Lisa @ Jogging on Coffee

    I have PF right now too 🙁 It’s super frustrating cause I have a half marathon next month so it’s not the best time to cut back on running. I’ve been doing the water bottle/pop can thing and it has helped quite a bit so hopefully that combined with stretching will get rid of it. Good luck!

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  9. gracechua (@gracechua)

    Re PF: Are you wearing flipflops or shoes that are causing you to walk/ grip differently? Walking around too long in flipflops or shoes that don’t stay on (I’m looking at you, slingbacks) always annoys my feet in different, unpleasant ways.

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