>Health and Nutrition>Plantar Fasciitis?
My wife has been running for a little over a year now and has been struggling the past month with pain in her right heel (and some pain just above the inner heel). I've dealt with PF and the pain is usually in my arch and heel. Is it possible to get PF pain just in the heel of the foot? She has stopped running for a week now and there's been minimal relief, though she says that some days are better than others (some days there's very little pain). She's been icing the heel, stretching, strengthening her arch, etc. Is it possible to rehab this injury at home or should she seek professional help? I did express to her that she should seek the input from a doctor if things don't dramatically improve by the end of this week.
PF is a funky injury. What works for some, doesn't for others. One thing for sure is that the body knows how to heal it by itself. When I had it, stretching didn't work, it made it worse. Stretching an injury might not be wise in some cases. I tried that sock, and it just got worse. Finally, after months, I left the injury alone and the let the body heal it, while doing slow, mild strengthening of the feet. I figured I had developed a strength imbalance somewhere. I knew my calves were strong, so I worked on the feet. Again, no stretching. Went more minimalist, lighter, and flatter in shoes with Nike Frees 5.0-7.0, which also helped strengthen the feet. My house at the time was carpeted, so I went barefoot around the house. Went away rather quickly after leaving it alone and strengthening. I never stopped running, as it always felt better when I ran. When I moved to a place with hardwood floors, I got PF in another foot. As soon as I started wearing Crocs around the house, it disappeared in a few weeks.
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I just overcame a few weeks of PF about 2 months ago when increasing my mileage. It takes a while to heal because that area doesn't have a lot of blood flow. I started doing strength exercises for the foot(toe curls, accordions, and toe raises) 3x a day, trigger point rolling the arch, and also stretching the calves. Did that for a week or 2 before trying to run long again and now no PF. Everyone is different though
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Thanks for the response guys. Yeah, I'm finding out that we all heal differently. With my PF, I had to see a podiatrist who recommended PT. I have her doing a lot of the same exercises, but she doesn't seem to be getting the same relief. It just seems strange that she has it in the heel area only. Will have her stretch her calves a little more and maybe try a little massage.
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I'm in the middle of having PF now, so I feel your pain (or, i guess it's my own pain, but in the same place). Confusing info on the interwebs. Standard advice is rest, ice, stretch, and orthotics, but lots of people think that doesn't help. Didn't seem to help me, either. in fact, wearing shoes with arch support seemed to make the pain worse. This web page presents an alternative, avoiding support in the middle of the arch, and talking about strengthening the arch muscles. Over the last few days, I've been trying to exercise the arch muscles, and also I switched from stability shoes to low heel-toe drop or even flat running shoes (Altrazerodrop Instinct 1.5 and Brooks Pureflow), and also I started running 10 minutes or so a day barefoot in sand (advice from someone here - sorry forgot who?) Don't live near a beach, so I've had to run tiny circles around the volleyball court at the gym, but it's actually fun. Today, pain in the PF seems much less (although my calves hurt quite a bit from the low shoe/sand running). Good luck to your wife!
Also look into plantar fasciosis. I think it's a more accurate description of what's going on. I did not run for over 7 months due to heel pain - and yes, it can be just in your heel (I've had the other kind too where the meeting of the heel and arch hurts). PT sucked - kept trying to treat inflammation. There wasn't any. 6 months of inflammation? Didn't make sense to me. So the PT didn't help that much. It improved over time but 3-4 weeks of active release technique (ART) and intense graston got me back on the road within the last few days. Still sore and taking it slow but the ART and graston combo really helped. I had just about given up.
Is it possible to rehab this injury at home or should she seek professional help? I did express to her that she should seek the input from a doctor if things don't dramatically improve by the end of this week.
There are a few more injuries that feel like heel pain. This one can also be a stress fracture in the heel bone (calcaneus). A doc can do an x-ray an look for a fracture (though not all stress fractures are found in x-ray). If it is a problem for you to visit a podiatrist or a sports doc than you can look at the plantar fasciitis most common symptoms and decide if that is the problem.
I had pain on the outside of the bottom of my foot right in front of my heel when I put any weight on my heel (it was excruciating when I put any pressure on it but felt no pain when my weight wasn't on it) and went to the doc and he is pretty sure it is a stress fracture of the cuboid bone (bone right in front of the heel) but said it could be a lower peroneal tendon sprain, or even a heel spur. Put me in a soft cast and ordered me not to weight bear on it for 3 days and then walk only in a boot after until more tests can be done. I'd suggest seeing a doctor. If it is a stress fracture OR a sprain OR a heel spur OR PF she may be doing more damage by trying to "fix" herself. She may need time of total rest or a boot to let whatever it is start to heal. The reason he felt confident prescribing total rest followed by a boot is because no matter which injury I have, that is the best initial treatment.
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Here is my guess.
Once PF becomes painful and a problem, the only thing that will fix it is rest.
Then the question is how to start excercising again, without it becoming a problem. This is where I think stretching and strengthing are important. Consciously stretching all the time, keeping up with it, might keep PF from coming back as a problem.
My fingers are crossed for this approach