So am I.
While I can't offer an "easy button" for PF, or guarantee that what worked for me will cure yours. But, I can share my experience with it, and hopefully something might help another runner now, or in the future.
As I have mentioned in an earlier post, my injury presented itself at my heel and mostly on the outside edge of my (high-arched) foot. PF typically is in the heel and inside arch of lower arched runners. Most of these suggestions should work for typical PF, but a physical therapist or podiatrist will give you personalized treatments.
There are LOADS of PF treatments out there, and some novelty items to buy (none of which I tested, though considered buying all of them!). This post only highlights those things which helped me the most.
Necessary evil: Reduced load/Time off
Once diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis, you must have the self-discipline to ease your running load so that it does not get worse.
-For me that meant complete rest from running, and very limited walking and standing for awhile.
-It meant icing after walking, even just a 5-10 minute walk.
-It meant admitting that trying to run 3 miles every other day actually made the PF flare up again, making it worse. (In the past, this was a conservative return to running which worked well for me).
-And, it meant waiting things out until I realized the PF wasn't getting worse or better. It was just "there" and might need some treatment in order for it to go completely away.
Treatment 1: Standing calf stretch and Achilles stretch (stretching)
-Each morning, right out of bed, I did 1 min of standing calf stretch and one minute of Achilles tendon stretch, per foot/leg BEFORE walking away from my bed.
-I repeated it at least 2 more times a day, usually while making lunch or dinner, and before bed.
Treatment 3: Eccentric Achilles Loading (strengthening)
-I did these exercises before I started getting better from PF, but it really started to improve when I got consistent with them. 3 sets of 10 each day, both legs.
Sorry to disappoint you if you were hoping to see a video of my calves. :)
Video link shared via Gold Coast Physio Clinic
Treatment 4: Strengthening
Towel scrunches. Place a towel on a slick floor and sit in a chair. Use your feet to grip the towel on and off for 30 times. Repeat.
Treatment 5: Massage
I scheduled a trigger point massage when healing seemed to have hit a plateau. The swelling was gone and my foot mostly just felt "tight", and mildly sore with serious pressure applied. I had a feeling that there was still something in my calf that seemed to be "pulling" my foot, so I booked a massage for trigger point therapy.
I also started running again the day before.
The massage therapist found a series of small knots where the calf and soleus wrap around to meet the front shin bone. She aggressively worked them, and also worked all over my calves, soleus, and the heel where the plantar fascia attaches. Getting off the table it felt as if there had never been PF. It got sore again later in the day, but since then I have noticed that getting out of bed and walking is no longer a problem. Whatever she did loosened, or readjusted, the muscles and/or plantar fascia immediately.
In hindsight, I wish I had booked this WAY back in October.... I am scheduling regular appointments for calf/foot/lower leg massage now. This has become as important to me and my running as my shoes.
After 4 layoffs, it was clear to me that I needed to be much more conservative in how I made my return to running. After some research I landed on a rebuilding plan which has been working pretty well.
My first run back was only 10 minutes long, barefoot, and on the football field grass. Ten minutes doesn't sound like much of a run, but when you haven't ran in weeks, it tastes pretty much like chocolate covered strawberries.
I only wore a regular watch (No GPS or HRM= no pressure or temptation), so that I could be sure to cut myself off and not go over that 10 minute window. It was designed to be a test to see if my foot could withstand the rigors. I iced, massaged, did all my PT exercises that night and the next day.
Since then I have been running a little longer and a little longer (for time) every other day. Last week I started mixing in some gravel road running with trail shoes and one pavement run, to where I am up to 4 miles. The PF is still improving (faintly noticeable in the morning) and almost gone. Praise GOD! Every run I thank Him for allowing me to do this passion of mine.
Have you had PF?
If you are dealing with Plantar Fasciitis, or have had it and beaten it, I would love to hear your experiences below in the comments section!More reading on PF ► HERE
There are some benefits to only being able to run short runs and slowly.
For the first time, I took my oldest son, 8, on a run with me.
We went to a nearby gravel trail and set out at a nice leisurely trot- about 2 minutes/mile slower than what I have seen him run a leisurely mile in.
My hope was just to take it easy and run for 30 minutes straight. I didn't tell him this. Or maybe I did... but he didn't bat an eyelash! We discussed ahead of time that we would go slow, so we could make it the whole time. And, that if N got too tired he could walk and I would keep running a little, then double back to check on him.
About 400 meters into the run the road went uphill.
He started to mention that he was feeling tired, so he walked...and noticed he could walk as fast as I was running :).
As we got near the top of the hill, he picked his pace up again, like a wind-up toy let go! Meanwhile, I tried to maintain steady-as-she-goes.
He slowed down again to match me, and I tried to distract him with chatter about trees and asking him to keep a look-out for wildlife.
We kept together for awhile when he mentioned that he "needed an extra tank"... So we slowed it down a bit. And I shared with him that he could grow and "extra tank" by practicing running.
The see-saw running ahead and walking reminded me a bit of my first half marathon where I ran an even pace for nearly 2 hours, while two other ladies zipped ahead and then I caught them doing their "Gallowalk" method.
This point, I think, is when N started doing his ninja moves on stray weeds overhanging the road- while jogging. Or, it might have been when he started doing the "running funky chicken". I can't remember...But it must have been exhausting, because he had to walk again.
As we got about 500 yards from the car, someone shouted "First one to the key is a rotten egg!" (He likes to be the rotten egg), and the race was on!
We got to about 100 yards away and he was winded, so we walked a little way. Then I started to run, a little quickly, and N shot right past me with all sorts of reserved energy.
He might have beat me to the key.
There was a peach waiting in the car for him, which refueled N enough to restore his chatter box for the ride home.
I told N that he did GREAT!!!! asked if he thought maybe he would like to run a 5k, since we ran "almost" three miles. He said, "If I can run and walk in it."
Any answer would have been OK, but that made me smile. He makes a pretty good training partner.