How I treated my plantar fasciitis

In my last article, I mentioned that I had been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, and I was trying to avoid needing to have surgery on my foot. I tried many different approaches in an effort to heal myself. 

The first thing I had to do was stop running. I was so bummed out about this, because I really wanted to consider myself a runner. However, my health needed to be the top priority. This also meant that I had to find other ways to stay active! I switched to boxing-style workout classes to make sure I was still getting enough cardio in. I also took up yoga, because that helped me increase flexibility in my entire body – including my pesky foot, and the entire leg in question. Through yoga I learned just how connected everything is within the body. The foot was the area where I was having pain, but the problem may have originated in my hip or hamstring. 

I next went to see my chiropractor. He happens to make custom orthotics right in his office. He took a mold of my feet and created small shoe inserts for me, made out of hard plastic. He told me the hard plastic is necessary and much better than any “squishy” shoe inserts you can buy in the store, because the plastic does not lose its shape while you walk on it. It definitely took me a while to get used to wearing them in my shoes, but after my feet had adjusted to the intrusion, I actually found that the orthotics helped immensely. They’re slim enough that I can wear them inside dress shoes, running shoes, and even certain sandals! If you suffer from foot pain, this is a treatment that I’d highly recommend. 

Another strategy that helped me a lot, is that I bought some supportive compression socks and foot sleeves. I had to be careful though. Some products which are made specifically for plantar fasciitis tend to focus on the center of the foot. While it is very important to have proper arch support, I also needed something to support the heel, as this was where I was experiencing pain. I found some ankle-compression sleeves online that supported both my heel and my arch, and I wear those every day now. 

Massaging your feet feels great, whether it’s DIY or by a skilled professional!

Finally, I learned how to massage my foot. There are a lot of great techniques and tools you can use. It’s nice to get a foot massage as a special treat, but that quickly gets expensive, and there’s a lot you can do at home. I have a spiky ball that looks like a dog toy, and that feels great after I’ve rolled that under my foot a few times. Rolling the foot on a frozen water bottle can take the inflammation down and provide lots of relief. A regular old lacrosse ball is a great massage tool, too. Of course, you can use your hands, interlace your fingers of the opposite hand between the toes, and press your thumbs into the pressure points at the bottom of your foot. Be careful not to press so hard as to create a lot of pain in the area that is already painful, but don’t avoid those spots altogether. You’ll feel much better afterwards, I promise!

As of today, my plantar fasciitis has not completely gone away, but it’s feeling much better. I’m virtually pain-free because of all the wonderful tools at my disposal. I am relieved to have been able to treat the problem so effectively from the comfort of my own home, and if this is a condition you suffer from, I wish you the same success!

Plantar Fasciitis

For a minute there, I thought I was going to be a runner. Xavi and I were both super excited. We both went out and got fitted for good running shoes. We were super careful to start out running on grass instead of pavement (which means a 15 minute drive to our favorite local park). We were careful to stretch after our daily run. At first, my lungs protested after a few meters. But eventually I was able to work my way up to a mile at a time, and then two miles. I was thinking of gearing up to run a 5K, something I haven’t done since I was in my 20’s. I was starting to feel proud of myself, and really beginning to love my new routine. 

Then my heel started to hurt. It started out subtly, and it was no problem to push through at first. But then, the problem got worse. I tried to be more diligent about my stretching. But soon I had to cut back to running once every other day, and even then, the pain became so severe that it was hard to walk the day after even a light jog. I knew I had to do something. 

Eventually, I decided to go talk to my doctor. She told me that I have plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the connective tissue (called fascia) that lives at the bottom of the foot. In my case, it was causing a pulling sensation in my heel which had become very painful. I had a few options. I could try to treat the problem myself, as I had been doing. There were some more at-home remedies I could try. I could opt for a cortisone injection right in my foot, which might be a permanent solution, but if not, it could still alleviate the pain for up to 6 weeks. There was also a surgical option. This is apparently quite common, has minimal recovery time, and typically is a permanent fix for the issue. However I hate having surgery and I wanted to avoid this route if at all possible. 

I decided to try the injection. As promised, it made the pain go away completely. I was ecstatic – I must be cured, I believed! Unfortunately, that proved not to be the case. After about 5 weeks, the pain started to return. At first it was subtle, like it had been in the beginning. However, around the 7 week mark, I could no longer run at all.

I felt so defeated. Still determined not to go the surgical route except as an absolute last resort, I started to do my own research, and began experimenting with various options for how to treat my plantar fasciitis on my own. 

In my next article I will share openly about my trial and error process, what has worked, what hasn’t, and the result of all my research and diligent attention to my aching foot. This is a very common problem for many people, and I hope that something I share will help someone else to find some measure of relief.