Come Heel or Highwater–Plantar Fasciitis must go!

Plantar Fasciitis…

No, it has nothing to do with anything green in the earth that you must water now and again. Unfortunately, for those afflicted.

For those not familiar, this is a medical term for an inflammatory condition of the plantar fascia (thick connective tissue which supports the arch of the foot) often caused by excessive wear and/or lack of support. Still not familiar? Let me put it in layman’s terms: If it feels like you’ve jumped off a step barefoot and your heel landed on a small pebble, chances are, you have Plantar Fasciitis. This is what I first thought when I felt it. “Geez, I don’t remember stepping on a pebble when I was barefoot, nor do I see a bruise…but I must have stepped on something.” After three months or so of this “got tack hammered on the heel” feeling, I decided to consult an old friend that is now a podiatrist.

His first question: “Does it hurt most when you get out of bed in the morning?”
Answer: Yes.

“Does it also hurt after you’ve been sitting awhile and get up to walk, as well as later on after you’ve cooled down from exercise?
Answer: Yes.

“Does it burn when you urinate?”
Answer: What does that have to do with my heel?

“Just kidding”, he says. I guess when you’re getting free medical help, it’s hard to complain about the bad jokes.

“It sounds like you’re suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.”

He then proceeded to explain what it actually is and list things I can do to help heal it. Get it? Heal it? As in Heel it? That’s my best podiatry humor. I apologize.

So now that I knew what it was, I began to share what was bothering me with my sport-fanatic as well as non-sport-fanatic peers. I quickly realized that Plantar Fasciitis is not as rare as I thought. As a matter of fact, the more people I talked to about it, the more I learned that many of my friends and associates have dealt with it at some point, or at least have known someone that has. From my favorite world class athlete to a friend that just likes walking barefoot in the local Taco Bell, it can affect anyone.

After plenty of conversations and research, I learned that the best thing one can do is to rest it to let it heal. And the earlier it’s recognized and dealt with, the quicker the healing (usually). On the flip side, if it’s ignored or not dealt with, it is something that can become much more severe and linger on for months or even years.

If you’ve suffered from this dastardly affliction, please feel free to share your experiences and let us know what you’ve done to help remedy it!

Heel-ingly yours,

Spencer

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4 thoughts on “Come Heel or Highwater–Plantar Fasciitis must go!

  1. Ugh. If you check the boards, you will always see plenty of discussion about plantar fasciitis.

    I first got it during a doubles match during which I was wearing New Balance tennis shoes. I had never, ever felt anything like that before, and though ‘of course, it will go away on its own.’

    Only it never did, and got much worse.

    I changed shoes many times, and experimented with various insoles. The shoes that finally gave me the arch support that seemed to work the best were Adidas a3 prevails (you know…the ones that are now discontinued!). I have some stocked up, and I’m not sure what I’ll wear after that. For insoles, I just use Dr. Scholl’s ‘heel pain’ reliever inserts (or something like that). It is a beige, cushiony insert that is about 3/4 the size of the entire insole. I put it in over the insoles already in the shoes.

    I actually suffered with PF for about two years. I taped my arch on that foot, and that would get me through matches, but as you noted…the real pain comes later, and always in the morning.

    I tried the boot that you sleep in. Nope. Didn’t help me at all, plus I always ended up ripping it off in the middle of the night.

    I’m a teacher, and spend most of the day on my feet (which can also contribute to PF). I replaced ALL of my ‘teaching’ shoes, and put some gel inserts into the Keens that I wear every single day.

    I lost weight, but I don’t think that is an issue with you!

    The one thing that finally helped me turn the corner (IMO) was going to see a sports chiropractor who also specialized in soft tissue injuries. He himself is an athlete. He used Active Release Therapy (ART) to break up the scar tissue in my foot (which occurs from the continual tears and inflammation). These sessions were PAINFUL. I left in tears once. But, about two days after the most painful session…things turned the corner and got better and better.

    There is a lot of info on ART out there, and it can be used to treat many injuries. Another thing to remember is that what works for one person may not work for another. I never really took any time off in all of this. Probably not smart…but oh well!!!

  2. I was just diagnosed last week with PF. I’m hoping I caught it early. Had some heel/foot discomfort sporadically since Spring, but no acute pain and it was always temporary. Then after a very light hitting session I came home and every step was painful. The next day was only slightly better. And that’s when I scheduled the podiatrist appt.
    So far I’ve rested (no running), iced by rolling feet over a frozen water bottle, massaged by rolling feet over a tennis ball, bought insoles for all my shoes. PowerStep Pinnacles feel the best by far, but they have a very high arch; on shoes where that’s too much I’m using green SuperFeet (med arch) and a Spenco Walker/Runner (low arch). Also using a night splint in bed.
    The night splint certainly eliminates the tender first step in the morning. Massaging the foot briefly before getting out of bed does the same thing, but I’m told the gentle stretch provided by the splint has a long-term preventative effect as well. Icing quickly eases any discomfort. Since beginning treatment I’ve had episodes of light to moderate soreness as well as moments when everything feels back to normal. No acute pain though.
    In a week I’ll see my podiatrist and he’ll measure the inflammation to compare it to my first visit. I’ve tried to maintain fitness by hitting the gym for strength training and doing intervals on the bike and elliptical machines. Basically avoiding explosive weight-bearing workouts. I can go practice serves without issue, but that’s the only thing I’m doing on the tennis court. Hoping that after 2 full weeks of this rest and treatment I can go back to playing. I’ll start on Har-Tru before venturing back to concrete. And no playing twice a day for the rest of the season either.
    One bit of advice, if you have to play “one last match” before you start your rest and rehab, getting your foot taped works absolute wonders.

  3. I had a lingering case for about six months. For me, using Superfeet Green soles on top of drugstore gel insoles and Prince T10 shoes solved it completely.

  4. a really good pair of shoes.. like the old kswiss ultrascendors or Prince T20.. i also heard the Asics Resolutions were good.

    the Nike BFIIs were nice too but not enough forefoot cushioning for me…

    plus a good insole with thick heel protection is a must…(i have been using the one TW sells (polysorb?) and heel has been pain free since (now onto the other painful parts of my body)

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