Dealing with foot pain

I mentioned in my last post that, at the very beginning of last week, I started experiencing some pain in the arch of my right foot. Of course the paranoid, injury-averse, runner in me immediately freaked out and had the words PLANTAR FASCIITIS running through my brain non-stop. To be really honest, I still don’t know if my foot in and of itself was/still is what the cause of the aching is. Like I said yesterday, my other aches in my right leg are clouding the waters at this point so I am trying to treat EVERYTHING and see what, if anything, persists.

But last week when my foot was the only thing distressing me I did what any obsessive runner would do – emphatically searched Google for information about Plantar Fasciitis. My search proved to be really helpful so I wanted to compile some of that here so that I might light the path for some other worrisome Google searcher.

Some of the most helpful articles I found were from Runner’s World and Active.com.

Most of them said a likely cause is overtraining (including increased mileage and excessive hill or speedwork). That didn’t seem to fit because my foot started to hurt last Monday and the entire week prior was a step-back week for me. My longest run was 6 miles, my total mileage was significantly less than every week before it, and there was no hill or speedwork.

Another cause mentioned was inadequate shoes. Well, that caused a momentary panic because I just bought my Nikes and it is past the 30 day return period. Not another shoe nightmare!? But that didn’t seem to fit either because I had been wearing the shoes for weeks, and even done a long run of 14 miles in them several weeks ago with no problems at all. Finally it struck me that inadequate shoes didn’t have to mean running shoes. And then I had a flash back to the Saturday immediately before the pain commenced when I ignorantly wore my Target sandals that are about as supportive as walking on 2×4’s while walking around the marble-floored mall with Jeremy for five (yes, I said five) hours. Ladies and gentleman, we might have a winner… not to mention proof that real life CAN be worse for your body than running life.

I immediately started doing some of the suggested treatments and they have made a huge difference. I have been:

STRETCHING! Both of these are better described in the Runner’s World article linked above.

  • Dorsiflexing my feet (stretching it to point my toe up toward my knee). I do it while just sitting at my desk as well as sometimes propping my foot up on my knee and pulling my toes back further with my hand.
  • Stretching my calves. The best stretch has been to stand arms length away from a wall with my hands on it, positioning one foot behind the other with toes facing toward the wall, and bending the front knee to push on the wall while keeping the back leg straight and getting a stretch through the back calf. It feels glorious.

(Source)(Source)

ICING! Last week I was mostly just icing the underside of my foot to get my arch and heel but this week I have been icing my Achilles and calf as well.

MASSAGING!

  • Foam rolling all the muscles in my legs every chance I get hoping to release any tension running to my foot.
  • Massaging the muscles in my feet as well. The articles suggest using a golf ball but there isn’t a golf ball to be found in my apartment so I have been using a lacrosse ball. I just put some weight on it and roll it all over my arch and heel. It feels almost as glorious as the calf stretch.

Have you ever dealt with Plantar Fasciitis or any kind of foot pain. What are the best remedies you would recommend?

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5 thoughts on “Dealing with foot pain

  1. Your dad says that you obviously have inflammation which requires a little warming of the muscles prior to stretching. Then cold after activity. Warming is important too! And never dismiss the benefits of good ole Advil (short term use–2 four times a day for 5 days will not hurt you). Basically your everyday shoes need some arch support which you already figured out. Go get some inserts if you need them!

  2. I’ve had PF for years. The hallmark sign is that the pain is felt deep in your heel–where the arch attaches to your heel. The pain is worse when you get right out of bed in the morning, as the fascia tightens as you sleep. Your advice is all great and stuff I do regularly! I might add that I roll my foot on a frozen water bottle and really push hard (you know, push it real good! :-)), and it helps. Also, if you have it, never walk barefoot! Always wear at least sandals with some support. That and custom orthotics have kept me running!

    • Thanks so much! I had read about the water bottle thing as well but hadn’t tried it yet. Sounds pretty painful as I am pretty sensitive to cold but I still may give it a try!

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