Curing Plantar Fasciitis


Has anyone cured Plantar Fasciitis? Please share your story. For me I’ve been dealing with it for 5 months and counting.

It started just after my first ever duathlon last fall. About a month after the race I was still training and training harder than before the race. I was training 6 or 7 mornings a week. I introduced a lot more speed work to my runs such as intervals and hills.

I started to notice a bit of tenderness under my left foot near my arches. It was only a mild discomfort and I thought it might have been how I was resting my feet at work. I thought I was pushing in to the arches and that was causing them to be sore. I decided to wait it out and give it a couple of days to see if it went away. In the mean time I would be conscious of how my feet were at work.

I did a pretty intense hill repeat workout and that’s when the pain really started to happen. I did 30 mins of just hill repeats on a nearby hill that’s about 800m and at a 40 degree grade. During the workout I didn’t experience any discomfort but afterwards

there was a lot.

The majority of the pain started a couple of days later in the mornings. When I would wake up and put my feet on the ground my feet between my heel and toes would be so tight and sore that it really hurt to walk. As the day went on, they started to loosen up and my feet would feel a bit better but not 100%. Every morning was the same routine. Tightness, pain, subside.

I decided to go to a physiotherapist that started to treat me. She started off with acupuncture and massage of the tendon. She recommended that I stretch the tendon by facing a wall, putting my injured foot just far enough away from the wall so that when I bent my knee and moved the knee forward that the heel would almost come off the ground but not lift off. Also massage by rolling a golf ball throughout the day under my foot was recommended. The key was frequency rather than rolling the ball with a lot of pressure. I was also told to ice it several times per day. I would always ice at night and could usually get in one or two icings during the day because I kept an ice pack in the freezer at work (I have a desk job so I’m not on my feet all day long). The ice pack at work didn’t help my image at all but it seemed to ease the pain in my foot.

The acupuncture was interesting because I didn’t know if it would help and I’m still not convinced that it did much however the stim part had definite results. Stim meaning stimulate was done by putting in metal acupuncture needles and then hooking them up to electrodes. They would cause the muscles to contract and relax, similar to a Dr Ho’s. I could feel the lactic acid build up so I knew something was happening. The whole concept of stim acupuncture was fascinating but also really weird.

I’m not a big fan of needles. I used to get light headed whenever getting one but since I know that it’s 100% psychological I’ve been working on it. I wasn’t totally comfortable with needles but I decided to give it a shot. I didn’t really feel most of the needles going in and it also helped that I wasn’t looking directly at the needles. Others were pretty uncomfortable going in but didn’t really notice them once they were inserted.

Another treatment that was tried was shock wave therapy. It’s actually a hand held device with a blunt end that pulsates like a mini jack hammer. It’s used to massage the tendon and I was told that most people find it uncomfortable however I didn’t seem to notice it much. The effects of that were pretty much the same as rolling a golf ball under my foot. I was told that it’s a fairly aggressive form of treatment.

The PT also taped my foot which gave the tendon a rest and seemed to really help with the swelling. It lasted for a week and I only had it taped once. I think there was a lot of progress made during this time that the foot was wrapped. There really was no pressure on the foot and I think it got a lot of healing done.

During this time I was still doing long rides and intervals on the bike. The intervals would give me mild discomfort afterwards however it was really quite mild. I also got in lots of swimming because I couldn’t run. That was probably the greatest benefit about the whole plantar fasciitis was that I used it to work on my swimming so much. Adding in the swims when I would usually run helped me keep my 5am schedule too.

I stopped going to the PT after 2.5 months as I felt that stretching, massage, icing, rolling and gentle use were heading my recovery in the right direction. I found that putting in days where I didn’t stretch or roll the foot really benefited. I would alternate days of work and rest. That is still my trick. Do a run or bike day 1 and roll the tendon with the golf ball and stretch throughout the day. Next day: nothing; no stretching, no rolling, no use. Perhaps only icing or a topical anti-inflammatory.

After 3 months of not running I tried running again as I talked about in Facing East Again. It went pretty well. No pain while running and felt good throughout that day. Two days later I was sore but was able to continue small runs. I’ve been starting to run a little more recently with a 45 min walk/run on the weekends and a short 25 min run before my swim that includes knee highs, heel kicks, foot placement to work on being more of a mid-foot striker and some lateral shuttle runs to do some cross training and general strength training. I also do single leg jumps, standing long jumps and lounges on those runs to help with my power.

My foot still gets sore and I have to treat it. My regimen includes:
-Stretch the tendon as described above.
-Roll with a golf ball.
-Stretch and massage the calf a lot.
-Give a rest day with no treatment at all with the exception of icing if needed.
-Use a topical anti-inflammatory as required although using it sparingly.

While I haven’t cured plantar fasciitis I feel that it’s definitely on the way to being a thing of the past. My olympic distance triathlon in June is seeming more and more likely to be a competitive in all three events. Please share your story.

Happy Training.


7 thoughts on “Curing Plantar Fasciitis

  1. Pingback: Running With Gravity |

    • I fixed it enough that I only do preventative measures now. I can run without pain and I wake up without the over tight foot. Currently for prevention I stretch out my lower back regularly a couple times per day and I wear some Dr Scholes shoe inserts that only have padding around the heel. They’re meant for foot pain they say. What they really do is stretch out the fascia all day. I also started wearing slippers around the house as we have hard wood. This makes it a little easier on my foot.

      Getting to this point though took a while. What I ended up doing was wearing inserts in every shoe I had, took 6 weeks off, meaning no running, biking or leg oriented exercises, and I wore the Strassburg sock at night. The Strassburg sock gave me immediate relief and i didnt wake up with any pain. If I feel tightness in my foot I’ll occassionally wear it but don’t on any regular basis.

      It was a long road to recovery (2years) however the only thing that worked for me was time off, Strassburg, inserts and slippers and stretching. I’ll try and do a full article on tbe different stretching exercises. I hope this helps.

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