Plantar Fasciitis- healing the heel

Note: this is not a scientific blog and it’s mainly about the progress of my PF but also the mental effects of rest.

As I write I’m tentatively upbeat about my heel pain that I’ve self diagnosed as Plantar Fasciitis (PF). It’s been 8 weeks since the onset. From the hobbling about pain in the first week, I was consistently around the 5/10 mark for ages. I had stopped running, I was walking around the house with soft shoes on, I stretched 3 times per day and rolled my foot the same. The pain would briefly disappear but emerge at random times. The litmus test became the first step after sleeping. Walking to make a coffee, barefoot, hardwood floors Id measure the pain. I walk on my tip toes most of the time, so putting the heel down is odd. The pain would be 2-3/10 and generally be ok.

Standing waiting for the kettle to boil, I’d do some light calf stretches, before getting back into bed and contemplating my recovery. It was on my mind a lot for the first month. Until, one day, the pain had seemed to go. I googled “getting back to running” and the wealth of information online would be too great to work out if I should run. And I realise the irony that this blog is just adding to the searches for PF!

Each morning would be the same, should I run. Contemplating for a week or so, weighing heavy. Thankfully lockdown meant little need to walk. My office was next door to my bedroom. My commute reduced to a few steps. This meant I could rest and I had the tools with me to help me heel.

I took the plunge one day to run. I strapped on my comfiest trainers. And headed out the door. Firstly on a very flat run (almost impossible when running from my door) but relatively flat. I could feel the twinge, a tightness, dull ache, but no sharp pain as I landed my foot. This dissipated after a while, presumably through warming up the fascia. 5km done. Stretch. And a small bit of prodding. I felt, OK. But the real test would be the next morning and how those first steps would feel. Best case, no pain, ok case, same as yesterday. Worst case, worse pain.

I needed to run. As many runners feel, we have an addiction of sorts and if we don’t feed it, our mood is affected. Add that to lockdown and the general shit going on in the real world it was grim. I decided to close the doors to the world, not listen to the news and hibernate in the house. After that first run I had that warm buzz and a mood lifted. I’d been walking and cycling but the buzz just wasn’t the same after those. Sure they helped but running is what I desired above all else.

Fast forward 4 weeks and I’m running 3 times a week. Short 5-10kms max and on trail. I’ve got insoles and socks specific to PF. I don’t know if they’re working but I’m trying anything. The pain is getting better, and I always seem to feel better after calf raises and dips where I lift hold for 3s and then lower below the step and hold for 3s until fatigue, 3 times. I do that every other day. Anything, so that I can be ready for the longer trails and warmer runs of April and May!

Are you suffering from PF? I’d recommend a physio. I should probably see one but, you know. Stuff !

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