I found a cure for plantar fasciitis by being active. I’m a runner. I’m not fast, but man, I love it! Part of being a runner is hanging out with other runners.
Last year, the barefoot running craze had just started to reach critical mass when I heard about it and decided to try it out for myself on a track. I was running 6-8 miles in a jaunt, so I figured I was in pretty good shape and could jump right into it. I was wrong.
I started waking up with this severe pain in my foot. I wasn’t about to let up on my running. (How else would I burn off my Chinese food buffets?) So I decided that my foot was just going to have to heal itself. Plus I was training for a half marathon, so I couldn’t spare any time off.
Almost a year went by with no improvement. Constant pain and pressure were present when walking and shooting pain whenever I touched my heel. It was starting to take a toll on me. I was desperate to find a cure for plantar fasciitis.
I began trying every cure for plantar fasciitis that I could find. I tried slowing my runs down. I tried foot stretches, massages, exercises, running barefoot, and even stopped exercising for a month. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the pain to decrease.
Finally, I had had enough. It was time to give my foot a rest from running. I heard great things about a special sock that keeps your foot stretched out overnight so the plantar fascia doesn’t ever have time to constrict, so I bought one of those and have worn it nightly.
Because I need to keep my exercise routine going (lest I plump up like a balloon), I got a membership to my local recreation center and started swimming. I figured that swimming was so low impact that it should give my foot time to heal. Once I was comfortable swimming, I started taking a spinning class to shake things up a bit.
After two months of this activity level, I was at a conference for work when I suddenly realized that I hadn’t felt pain in my foot for at least a week. I was on the right track! Continued swimming and cycling were doing the trick. I decided to try running a bit after not feeling pain for a week -– bad idea. I felt tightness and pain again that evening. I gave it more time because this is an easier treatment than cortisone shots and surgery.
When I did finally get back into running, I took it slowly in Altra zero drop running shoes and eased into it. Now I’m in full swing training for a triathlon and feeling great.
Note: The term zero drop shoes is used to describe footwear in which the heel is at the same height as the ball of the foot. This allows the foot to move naturally as if you were barefoot and standing on a level surface. The concept is similar to minimal shoes or barefoot running shoes except the latter tend to have a very thin sole, i.e. more barefoot.
I don’t know whether or not to attribute the full success of my cure for plantar fasciitis to a single stimulus or to a combination of everything I’ve been doing, so I figured the best thing to do is to lay out exactly what I’ve been doing as a recipe so fellow sufferers can learn from my experience:
About the Author:
A.J. Wilcox is the marketing manager for Big Fish Automation, a Utah-based home technology company. He’s an avid runner, and until recently suffered painful plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Upon trying so many things to cure it, he felt the need to share his recipe with others who could benefit from it.
Learn more about: How to Recover from Plantar Fasciitis
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