Barefoot Runners

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Half Fanatic #846

    Went to an ortho specialist who works with a major college athletics department in June re:  plantar faciitis I've had since last summer. Reported back after 2 months, but range of motion had not improved and achilles was still "...just about the tightest one I've ever seen...".

     

    So I got an Rx (with "Aggressive stretches" written on it & underlined twice - ouch!!)  to try physical therapy 2-3x/week for a month.  Met the PT & I was almost afraid to mention doing a little barefoot running. Turns out she's a shod runner 5x/week - but approves of BF running, and suprisingly was familiar with some little known aspects of it. She disregarded the aggressive stretching note - just changed the way I had been doing it slightly (more with the knee bent rather than straight).  

     

    Long story short: after only 3 weeks, heel pain is going away, range of motion has improved to a little better than normal (she cautioned against having too much ROM).  I'm 62 and hardly very flexible, so I'm really happy!!  It's still early, but I'll probably end up with only 8 half-hour sessions total with the PT and then continue on my own with her stretching program.  The only thing I can't do that she did each session was 10 min. of ultrasound.  And I'll be doing more and more barefoot running of course!!

     

    Bill      

    "I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, it's usually my ankle" - unk.                          Run like the winded

     I ran half my last race on my left foot!                   "Frankly autocorrect, I'm getting a bit tired of your shirt"

      A good PT is worth their weight in gold.  Smile

      Roads were made for journeys...

        As someone who is also having problems with PF and a tight achilles (both of which combined just make my feet ache in the morning) would you mind sharing the stretching routine that the PT has you doing?
          As someone who is also having problems with PF and a tight achilles (both of which combined just make my feet ache in the morning) would you mind sharing the stretching routine that the PT has you doing?

           

           

          Yes! Pretty please

            I'm glad you are on the track to recovery.  Just keep this in mind if the stretching does not work: many people with PF symptoms actually have Tension Myositis Syndrome. While I am confident that barefoot running is wonderful for your feet and legs and is, in essence, the way we are meant to run, I also suspect that not all "injuries" will disappear when running shoes do.  Here are some links if you are interested...

             

            http://tmswiki.wetpaint.com/

            http://www.tms-mindbodymedicine.com/

            http://tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5612


            Half Fanatic #846

              As someone who is also having problems with PF and a tight achilles (both of which combined just make my feet ache in the morning) would you mind sharing the stretching routine that the PT has you doing?

               

              OK, but the PT has me doing more than just stretching so I'll share that also in case it's helpful to anyone.  I'm unable to offer medical advice of any kind - am only able to relate what my personal experience has been.  I'm not cured of my PF but have noted significant improvement in recent weeks. This is not a "quick cure" treatment, and it may not work or work well for others. YMMV and blah, blah, blah...

               

              Briefly, I developed PF last July, tried to reduce mileage and finally just had to give up running completely for a few months (went to cycling which did keep me in shape).  Didn't see a specialist till 3 months ago (no help), then a PT about a month ago, after which I started getting better.   Unfortunately, I have no idea what specifically led to this improvement or whether my PF will totally disappear.  Stretching regularly makes my foot feel pretty good.  My PT seems to think having a very tight achilles probably caused the PF; I think it was in combination with overtraining on hard surfaces. 

               

              The PT has me doing this to heal my plantar fasciitis:

              1.   Taking NSAIDs for inflammation.

              2.   Icing my foot every night for 15-20 minutes.

              3.   Wearing full length (preferably gel-cushioned) OTC inserts in my shoes.

              4.   continuing the Night Splinting (it took me 2 months to get used to it & for it to start working)

              5.   Stretching 4-6xDay (barefoot when possible), especially before & after running + one foot exercise 2xDay. 

              6.   She says no hills or inclines "for awhile".

              7.   Massaged my foot each session for 5-10 minutes (not deep-tissue!)

              8.   Used Ultrasound Therapy for 10 minutes each session.

              9.   Okayed barefoot running.

              10. Cautions against "overdoing it" - running too much yet.

              11. I've run almost exclusively on the TM the last 3 months - although she didn't say not to run on the road.

              12. Re tight achilles: injured foot ROM on 1st visit = 18 deg., (normal = 20?), last visit 3 weeks later= 22 deg.

               

              Exercise regimen:

              1.  Toe Curls or Towel Crunch, 2-3 reps 2xDay:   Sit in a chair barefooted on a hard surfaced smooth floor with a bath towel spread out vertically in front of you, with a shoe for weight placed on the far end of the towel. Use your toes to "crunch" the towel toward you, with feet resting on the floor or on the part of the towel you've "crunched" under. Spray a little water on the towel to make it damp if you need more toe traction.

               

              Stretches:  4 stretches 4-6xDay and hold 2-3 minutes each - barefooted when possible - feel it but don't hurt! Make sure to do a set before and after running - very important!. I count those as part of the 4-6xDay.

              1. Towel  Stretch:   Lie on your back on the floor, place a belt or towel around forefoot of injured foot & pull up & back toward you with knee bent slightly to moderately. Don't use a stretch band - you need something more rigid.

              2.  Step Stretch:   Place forefeet on edge of a step with a handhold, with heels hanging over. Lower injured heel as far as you can and hold. You can bend the other knee some to allow more lowering of the injured foot.

              3.  Plantar Fascia Stretch:   Place toes up on the wall while keeping the heel on the floor. Lean that leg toward wall till a stretch is felt and hold. Knee can be slightly bent or not. For some reason, I have to wear shoes for this.

              4.  Soleus Stretch:   Face the wall, place the injured foot behind the other (not too far back). Bend both knees and keep your heels on the floor until the stretch is felt in the achilles. Direct the stretching mostly to the involved foot.

               

              Use some of those same stretches and toe curls on the good foot from time to time (and maybe for only 30-60 seconds) to keep things equal...

               

              I've decided I'll increase my BF mileage over the next few months to half of my total weekly mileage or more, as I hope to get to 40mpw total very gradually.  Hope some of this will help anyone who is dealing with PF/achilles issues.  For those who haven't sought medical help, my suggestion is to get a referral to a PT and go to a couple of sessions, then take it from there.

               

              Bill

               

                           

               

               

               

              "I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, it's usually my ankle" - unk.                          Run like the winded

               I ran half my last race on my left foot!                   "Frankly autocorrect, I'm getting a bit tired of your shirt"

                Thank you.  I have been doing a few of those things but not all, so it will be nice to have some more items to add to my regimen.  I have cut back my running to a mile a day to keep my streak going and am going to keep it there for a week or two to see if that helps as well (though mentally it's killing me to have my mileage drop that much).  But I also figure I can use this as a way to get more into BF running.  I figure by the end of this week I want all my mile runs to be totally barefoot (started with .2 miles this morning).

                 

                Thanks again.

                 

                Jeff