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Fun with Injuries: Plantar Fasciitis.

Image from NIH.And I was doing so well ... or at least for me.

When I started running back at the beginning of the fall, a half mile was an accomplishment.  I wrote about this before, and I also hit on this topic over at Animas, but I've always considered myself to be too awkward to do anything athletic that required any stamina.  I could go for long walks or hikes, but challenging myself to actually run, and to keep running, was something I always shied away from.  Lots of reasons, but the main one was a lack of confidence in my ability to not tip over and/or fall into a ditch.

However, I've made good strides (terrible pun) in the last few months, and up until last week, I could churn out 3 - 6 miles at a good clip, without feeling like I was slogging through a pool filled with Nutella.  (Oh man, that sounds delicious.  So long as no one pees in the pool.)  For the last three months, I've been running almost every day, and feeling stronger and more capable (and less awkward) with each step forward.  My blood sugars weren't perfect, but they were tolerant of this new exercise regimen, and I was proud that I didn't want to skip a workout; I actually looked forward to them.

But I do realize I've been overdoing it a bit.  I feel goofy even saying that, since so many of my friends with diabetes are running half-marathons, marathons, Ironmans (Ironmen?), triathalons, Ragnars, etc, but for me, several miles a day might have been a touch too much.  And this was proven to me two mornings ago, when I woke up and my foot was in a ton of touchy, achy pain that made it nearly impossible to walk without lumbering like Bob Malooga looga looga looga looga

"I feel stupid even asking this, because I've never had any kind of sports injury in my life, but is there an injury you can get that makes this part of your heel really hurt?"  I asked Chris, pointing to the pad of my heel.

"It could be plantar faciitis," he said.  "A lot of runners get that." 

After Googling the hell out of this new phrase, and then consulting with the physical therapy office that handled my De Quervain's, I decided to treat this injury at home for the time being.  Which means stretches for my foot, a foot brace while I sleep, icing the area when I can, and taking a week off from the gym. Which also means this sense of having lost momentum.  Which I found frustrating.  

Because when did this happen?  When did I become someone who wanted to work out, someone who wanted to go for that run?  When did I become someone who called Chris, excited because I'd done five miles at a faster pace than the week before?  When did I start not caring what I looked like but instead became someone who just wanted to try?  

I'm hopeful that a week off will help heal what ails me.  And that a careful return to running will put me back on the path to that feeling of "doing so well."  Because running is the first thing I've done in a long time that's made me feel like I'm not the one being chased, not by medical worries or by stress or by obligations or by emotional upheaval. 

It makes me feel like I am the one who chases.

(Sorry.  The opportunity to end with a play off a Breaking Bad moment?  Couldn't resist.  Also, this rules.  And now I'm done.)


I've had Plantar Fasciitis for over a year. Nothing work in re-leaving the pain. I would limp along all morning 'til mid afternoon. I did all the exercises suggested but the pain did not go away. I did in January tried a tens machine for the foot. After using it for about a month I'm about 80% back to normal.

I was diagnosed with this some years ago. One suggestion I was given that worked was to put a tennis ball under my foot (without shoes on) and just press while rolling it. Generally it's not too much of a pain these days, but I keep a tennis ball in my office just in case.

This became part of my world about three or four years ago... and I'm not a runner. Just one day I stood up from bed and couldn't put pressure on my feet. Was told to wear my makeshift cushion/brace all the time under my socks, and to stay off as much as possible. It took a good few weeks of little action to get back in a "decent" state to be able to walk normally, and then I started physical therapy for a couple months. I think a lot of my issue was I prolonged doing anything, and just kept walking on it...

That's the worst! I actually just stressed fractured my foot 2 weeks ago, from overdoing it with running on the treadmill. I've been in a post-op shoe which has been quite annoying with the winter weather. It's been so hard to cut back on my workouts when exercising has been such a big part of my life, but I know it's necessary. I hope your foot heals quickly!

I had the same thing happen to me and my aunt. You can freeze a water bottle and roll that under your foot, but also try taking a large dose of vitamin D. My doctor cant even tell me why but for both my aunt and I as soon we took vitamin D the PF went away. If i forget to take it for a week it comes back.

I remember when I had Plantar Fasciitis. My podiatrist taped my heal pretty tight. I did that twice for two weeks each time. Afterwards I did the stretches. My husband, quite often, would find me in the garage standing on the ball of the feet on the threshold to the side door. It is the tallest one we have in the house, and that stretch helped me the most.

I hope you heel quickly! (sorry..bad pun)

I have had PF off and on for over 8 years now. Now is an "on" time, and it's very painful. It's not something that goes away in a week, or a month (even with good physical therapy, exercises, orthotics, rolling ice bottles, NSAIDs, etc)- it seems to get inflamed and stay inflamed because, well, we can't NOT walk on our feet, can we? And I feel like being diabetic, I heal slower, and circulation is poorer down to my feet, so it just isn't given as good of an opportunity to heal as those who don't have the punchline of diabetes to deal with. Take care of it as best you can, and I will hope your visit with the PF monster is a short one!!

I was diagnosed in 2001 and have struggled with it on and off ever since. Got bad enough that I started using generic orthotics and had to do regular stretches about 4 or 5 years ago. My podiatrist says it's common in PWD for some reason. We all know I don't do anything athletic. Haha. Anyway, it got worse again last fall and I have custom orthotics now. My podiatrist says not to wear anything but sneakers or high heels - that any shoe your plantar fasciia has to grab onto (mules, flipflops, slippers) to keep on causes further irritation. I could go on and on, but basically, it sucks. We had a hashtag on Twitter - I think we called it "feetbetes" or something. LOL

Oh man, sorry that you're dealing with this! Don't feel foolish for saying you're overdoing it-- regardless of mileage, anyone can risk developing an injury when they ramp it up, especially if they do so too quickly or haphazardly.

I've never had plantar fasciitis myself, so I'll defer to everyone else on treatment suggestions. But, here are my two tips as a marathoner. One, see a podiatrist if it doesn't get better...lots of injuries are exacerbated by incomplete or incorrect home treatment (plus, you know, having to walk every day). Two, do strength training in your time off! You'll probably need more than a week away from running anyways. Strength training will help get your workouts in, maintain your running mojo, AND protect against injuries in the future. (If you keep doing it, anyways....unlike me...) Make sure to focus on hips, core and calves for PF.

Also, how long have you had those shoes? Your increasing mileage means that they're wearing out faster....maybe a different pair will help.

Good luck, and heal quick!

Wow, lots of bad PF stories here. Listen... What you're going through is completely normal for someone just getting used to running hard and upping the distance.

I think you're doing exactly the right thing to take a week off and work on healing. When you pick up again next week, I'm guessing you'll feel even better. Good luck.

I haven't had PF, but I have had Metatarsalgia & had great results with acupuncture - It was the only thing that helped with the pain and inflammation &
it didn't hurt at all.
It was actually really relaxing and I walked out of the office free of pain for the first time in months.
I've been told by friends who have experienced PF that acupuncture worked for them and I remember SELF Mag mentioning it as good treatment for PF a few years back.
Also, my friends suggest wearing the foot stretch sock and lots of rolling and stretching exercises.
Feel better soon!

Meliissa is right, this condition is common for PWD's.
I developed this years back and IT HURTS !
My experience is, ANYtime, running, walking or sleeping, (?) you should wear shoes for comfort and support .
I am not a runner, but I worked many years as a server in restaurants (if that's not running, I don't know what is!)
It is tempting to wear the "fashionable and cute" shoe styles, but, in the long run, (pun =)), it is safer to go with a high quality shoe that will not cause flare ups of P.F., be it a running shoe or any everyday=er.
For my everyday shoe,I find that S.A.S. brand have caused the least problems for my delicate feetsies.
Good luck !

I can sympathize with that pain. Over many years I've had it, sometimes lasting for long months at a time. Injections, orthotics, even acupuncture with electricity. In the end, I always go back to heel seats that I pick up at heel-that-pain.com . I don't know why they work except that the pressure comes off the back of the heel. Over the course of a week or so the pain finally goes away. I wear them all the time now in order to avoid a recurrence.

I started running last fall too, but I never really increased my mileage that much. 3-6 sounds like a ton! However, in December I decided to do the Runner's World Holiday Streak and run a mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Year's. After a week of that though, my shin splints kicked in and I took the rest of the month off. Now I'm running twice a week, and it's been pretty good. I don't run for long or very far, but I have been able to increase my speed. Hopefully once the weather is nice, I can run longer because I really hate using the treadmill!

Nooooooooooooooo (said in the Kevin Hart voice... wait... lemme find it... http://youtu.be/X9_0FMfaafs?t=1m5s)!

You're making SUCH good progress. Don't worry, a little set-back won't undo all of that work you've done over the past few months.

Remember Seb talking about having to go back and forth between base camps on Everest? This is just a little trip back to camp 2. :-)

Custom orthotics were the only thing that worked for me. If you don't see improvement with the DIY measures, then please consult a professional. You don't want to be setting. Yourself up for any chronic problems .

Oh, sorry - that is really frustrating! Running is quite hard on the body - it is very high impact. I've done step aerobics in my home for years. It's convenient, and a lot lower impact. Perhaps that will be another option.
A friend of mine had this. She finally found shoes that worked.

Been there. Done that. Physical therapy for about 5 years. And I wasn't running! Here's what helped me: Orthotics. Wear them always! (relieves the stretch on the muscle)and a stretch board http://www.performbetter.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product2_10151_10751_1004180_-1_1000280_1000201_1000201_ProductDisplayErrorView
My Chinese doctor recommended it. I would stand on it every night starting at 5 minutes and working up to 25 while I watched tv. Good luck!

My husband had Plantar Fasciitis...tried everything. Finally he did accupuncture and he has been pain free for over 2 years. Do you know of a good accupuncturist in your area?

I've been a runner for almost as long as I have had diabetes (running for 15 years, diabetes for 17) and I had a bought of plantar fasciitis that was so painful and would not go away. (It probably didn't help that I'm a teacher and always on my feet.) So I tried everything, the shoes, the orthotics, the stretches, the splint, and at the point I thought I would have to quit running, I read Born To Run. The author addresses the concept of barefoot running and after a lot of careful research, I figured I might as well give barefoot running a go. It has pretty much cured the PF.
I do don a pair of Vibram five fingers or Merrel minimal shoes when I run because I don't want these diabetes feet to be stepping in dog poop or running on glass, but other than those, it's freedom. I also try to limit my time on concrete. We have a park nearby and I do a lot of miles on the treadmill too. I know it sounds crazy, but running without support actually does cause your feet to strengthen. It took a lot of time and training to avoid a stress fracture.

I will tell you what helped me more than all of these PF treatments...Orthaheel flip flops. They have the orthotic arch built right into the sole, and the heel is cupped so your foot can't slide around. I got them from Footsmart catalog, but you can get them from the Orthaheel website. I wear them any time I would be barefoot in the house or anywhere else. I slide my feet into them getting out of bed in the morning so I don't have to walk carefully to the bathroom. They are the best thing. I got the plain ones, but they have lots of styles. Highly recommend.

Love this post! To help with my PF i went out and bought some shoes from http://www.orthaheelusa.com, and it totally helped! A good pair of shoes make all the difference!

I've had PF for 5 yrs, tried everything, heel cups, stiff shoes, night brace, strasburg sock, orthotics. Nothing worked, so I decided to go barefoot as much as possible, at work, I wear the minimus shoes. I only wear shoes if I have too and I can twist and bend them all the way. MY Pf is gone, God didn't design flawed feet, go barefoot!

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