Time wounds all heels

I come from a long line of bad feet.

When other families get together, they talk about TV shows and current events; my kin talk about hammertoes and bunions. Suffice it to say that certain people in my bloodline consider “Let me show you my foot” a perfectly acceptable way to begin a conversation.

I was not one of them until recently, when karma reared up and viciously bit me in the left foot.

Admittedly, it was a long time coming.

I’ve been goading fate for years by occasionally giving a talk called “How to run pretty much forever without being injured.”

Might as well have opened a window and yelled “Bring your worst, plantar fasciitis,” because it did.

One summer day I was fine, the next I was limping. It’s been two months now. I’m not the nicest person to be around.

I’ve tried rest. I’ve tried ice. I’ve eaten Advil like candy. I’ve rolled my foot on a tennis ball, installed arch support and heel gel pads, and stretched until I looked like Gumby. The pain subsides, a little, for an hour or a day then slams back into me like one of those dogs on YouTube that hasn’t seen his serviceman owner for a couple of years. I’m now on prescription anti-inflammatories, which help nothing.

This means that the time I usually spend running I now spend looking at plantar fasciitis remedies on the internet.

On podiatrist websites, on Letsrun, on YouTube, there are good people and shysters promising that if I just try This One Thing, my heel will be fine within the week. I know so much about plantar fasciitis treatments I could open my own clinic, but for the fact that my success rate is currently zero.

A Spartan Beast world champion I interviewed last week said he had plantar fasciitis for a year, and rest didn’t heal it, so he resumed running and eventually it went away. I was encouraged until I thought about what these Spartan racers go through. How bad can heel pain be for someone who crawls under barbed wire in mud – for fun? Easy for him to run through it.

Not that I don’t have hope. There is, after all, the Charleston man who, a few years ago, decided he was tired of being in pain all the time and had his foot amputated so he could run again without pain. I’ve never understood this until now. Now it seems a perfectly reasonable thing to do, if the Republican health plan, if ever it comes, covers elective amputations.

Meanwhile I write this on the offhand chance that one of you is sticking voodoo pins in my foot for fun. If so, I beg you.  Have mercy.  Also, I’m entertaining all treatment options that don’t involve the words “I think you really need to consider not running anymore.” If you have an idea, please share.

Meanwhile, let me show you my foot. I have plantar fasciitis and a heel spur. But after two months of rest, my bunions are much better. Thank you for asking. heelspur

 

 

13 comments

  1. I had plantar fasciitis. As an ER nurse who also runs, it was excruciating. I would lie in bed 5 minutes deciding if I could just crawl to all my rooms rather than put any weight on my left foot. I finally saw a podiatrist. He suggested the shot. I had 5 million questions which he answered (bless his sweet heart and not in the mean Southern way). The “gotcha” was when he said that I would notice a difference by the time I got to the parking garage. He was right-sweet relief…..immediately. That was over 5 years ago and I haven’t needed another shot since. I wear good shoes and take care of my feet. Sometimes I need an anti-inflammatory after a longer run but I’m back on good feet the next day. Hang in there!

      1. Cortisone shot? Basically it’s just magic. I’m not sure how it makes the pain go away quickly but I know that the main thing it is supposed to do is calm down everything in there and take the inflammation away so it can heal.

      2. Cortisone shot? Basically it’s just magic! I am not sure how it makes the pain go away so quickly (I’ve had some that do and some that don’t) but the real work of the shot is that it calms everything down and helps get rid of the inflammation so it can heal.

  2. I ended up having surgery to have my plantar fascia ligament released. It worked! I still needed another cortisone shot a few months later but after that it was good!

  3. I had Plantar Fasciitis and nothing really woks with any consistency. Ice, tennis ball, stretching – those things help but no cure. I would say mine is in remission so to speak. I started wearing the best shoes I could get and lacing them as tight as I could stand it. After a while, it just sort of went away. I run – average about 8 to 10 miles a week and no pain for me for quite a while. Every now and then i’ll have some tenderness but I can usually get rid of it with some light stretching. I also NEVER go without shoes – even around the house. Hope you find some relief

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this. Your last suggestion is exactly what my doctor told me — no bare feet because I have high arches. But a friend told me that hers didn’t diminish UNTIL she started going barefoot and running in barefoot shoes. This could be why so many people fail to improve — maybe they’re following advice not suited to their feet. At any rate, I will definitely tighten my laces. Thank you!

  4. It seems a lot of the medical advice, plus the commentary from sufferers, points to inflammation as the culprit.
    I have had a series of “adventures in inflammation,” none of which were related to exercise (!), and I would vote for the cortisone shots. Their “magic” is that they deliver the anti-inflammatory meds to the specific site where they’re needed. Anti-inflammatory prescription pills obviously get in your system, but without being targeted to a specific locale. And, they can make you mean as a snake. (Additional anecdotal evidence on that point available on request. 😱)

  5. Have you gone to see a massage therapist? PF hit me towards the middle of 2015 and it took almost a year to get rid of it. But one of the things that most people miss is that many times the source of the problem is in your calf muscles, not your foot. Tightness in your calves pull on the muscles/fascia in your heel and arch. So along with rolling your feet, get some good massage and foam roller work on those calf muscles.

    1. This makes sense, and I do have excessively tight calves. But this makes me wonder, why would PF strike in one foot instead of both if this is the cause? You rarely hear people say they have it in both feet.

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