Plantar Fasciitis: What I’ve Tried So Far

It turns out my foot hurting is probably plantar fasciitis, which is convenient/ironic because ‘how to avoid plantar fasciitis’ happens to be the story I’m working on for Competitor this week. (Fortunately, I didn’t get Achilles tendonitis last week working on that story.)

I’m not 100% sure plantar fasciitis is what it is. It didn’t have all the classic signs at first and the extreme pain came about from a cramp that I overstretched/over-rolled, which isn’t normal. But, whatever you call it, it appears that now the plantar fascia are definitely messed up. As I was doing research both for the story and for my own personal problems, it turns out everyone on the internet has their own solution. Some people were able to run through the pain when they got new shoes, others with taping their arch, others were fine after ART. I definitely am planning to run through the pain as long as I can manage the pain and if I can figure out what works for me, so I’m trying different things. Here’s what I’ve tried so far:

  • ART/chiro — which, combined with this electro-stim, totally made the pain disappear
  • electrostim machine
  • rolling and stretching the calf muscle
  • rolling and stretching the arch of the foot
  • KT tape on the arch of the foot
  • icing
  • rest
  • anti-inflammatory patches
  • arch support and orthodics in all my shoes

It sort of has helped. It sort of hasn’t. I ran today and it was fine, but sore. Now, it’s really painful. My plan moving forward is: more massage and ART/chiro, stretching and rolling everyday with Yoga routine, rolling out arch of foot, icing arch of foot, walking in only supported shoes, hardcore taping (instead of KT tape) for running and working out, pulling back on the running, and possibly trying other shoes.


29 thoughts on “Plantar Fasciitis: What I’ve Tried So Far

  1. Argh, what a bummer! Although I have no personal experience with PF, a friend got better when he slept with his foot in a brace, to prevent it from going in a stretched position while sleeping. The idea is that this gives more unstrained time for the tissue to heal. It might be worth a shot. In any case, I hope you get better soon!

  2. I’ve known a lot of runners that have had plantar fasciitis and I think you’ve tried some great stuff. KT tape works pretty good here and yoga is good. I hope you feel better very soon!!!

  3. Yeah, I’ve dealt with it on and off since I was 19. Never so bad where I had to take significant time off (although had a friend who was in a walking boot because of it, hers came on very suddenly). Stretching the calves, foam rolling, wearing good shoes all the time (absolutely no flip flops) usually helps me. I still get the occasional super painful cramp in my arch. I have heard people who have had it chronically have good luck with plasma replacement therapy. I know a guy who said he literally tried eveything and it was the only thing that worked for him.

  4. I was actually just chatting with the chiropractor who runs the clinic I work in and he has had some success with dry needling for PF. We were trying to figure out the mechanism that might be involved. The thing with PF is that heel pain could have multiple causes that all get lumped under the name plantar fasciitis, and sometimes the pain may have nothing to do with the plantar fascia, and may involve no inflammation, thus not really an -itis. This is probably why people have such different experiences with causes and resolutions for the problem.

    1. Yeah, it seems like lots of people call things plantar fasciitis that aren’t. Honestly, it didn’t seem anything like plantar at first, more like cramps in the arch of my foot. But, now it has all these classic signs, so I’m trying everything and nothing is super working yet.

      1. Do you have Birkenstocks? I’d be curious how your feet feel in them. Almost always made mine feel better when I had PF bad. Had a client this morning who said the same thing.

  5. Struggled with plantar faciitis for about 8 months up until December or so. Did all of the classic exercises online to no avail. Finally read up on some information regarding hip flexor tightness/weaknesses and plantar faciitis. Had my ART doc work on my gluteus medius, min, and TFL and was pretty close to 100% better after two sessions. If it doesn’t get better working on calves and feet I’d definitely suggest working on your hip flexors as well and see if it helps. No guarantees obviously but it truly was my problem for whatever reason. Best of luck.

  6. I’ve delt with PF on and off and wearing a $25 PF boot, from the local drug store or Target, while sleeping has always worked for me.

  7. I had a bout of PF last year and it was a rough (and a little scary). I did a few things that you also might want to try: rolling a golf ball under your foot, rolling a frozen bottle of water under your foot, replace your shoes (this was my turning point), and getting custom orthotics, and yoga. I recovered and came out of it a stronger runner. Good luck. PF sucks but it can be beat!

  8. What about the Strassburg Sock? Worked for me, although I had to keep doing everything else you’ve mentioned above.

  9. I’m a marathon runner and Physical Therapist. The BEST treatment in my opinion is Dry Needling. I am speaking from personal and professional experience. Trigger points that refer pain to the heel can be found in several different muscles in the calf, and Dry Needling is a quick and highly effective treatment to eliminate this. Dry needling can help eliminate the pain, and corrective exercises/ stretching/ proper shoe wear will help prevent future problems.

    1. I’ve also had a good initial experience with dry needling. The dry needling itself (as well as the 24 hours thereafter) was rather uncomfortable, but the results of the treatment were positive and made the discomfort well worth it.
      A significant part of my individual PF symptoms appear to be caused by calves that were REALLY tight and dysfunctional. I wasn’t really getting any good release from the various stretching, rolling, massage and other mobility work I was trying. A single dry needling session was a huge jump start to get me back running pain free again.

  10. My PF manifested itself almost 100% as heel pain, not arch pain or anything else. That said, what ultimately worked was a combo of a night splint (though the straps that closed it also effed with the nerves on the top of my foot and I think I’d try the sock-thing if this ever happened to me again), wrapping/taping it while running, and a verrrrrry slow return to running. But NOT running didn’t help at all — it only really got better once I started running little bits on it. (“Little bits” = I was only running 6 miles or less at the time I got injured, so I mean *really* little bits, but I’m sure that varies by person/experience/training volume)

  11. I had PF for around 9 months or so and tried a number of things. What ultimately worked for me was barefoot running. (Actually, running in FiveFingers.) It was almost miraculous how quickly and permanently the symptoms went away. I’ve read a handful of reports where people have had similar results.

  12. Had a bout with PF after switching to minimalist shoes. I know you probably don’t want to hear this but only time will heal PF. I tried stretches for the calf and Achilles’ tendon, slept in a brace, added heel inserts to my shoes, alternated heat and ice, wore Birkenstocks, took ibuprofen. Honestly, six months later, it just went away sort of gradually. I really believe it was just time that healed the PF. It totally sucks though. I still ran and worked out any way. Hope yours gets better soon!

  13. Hi. I’ve had PF for 3 years & tried all the recomended treatments. Was given a pair of Nike Free 5′s & can now run almost pain-free. I have NEVER liked Nike!!! This pair works for my PF but hurts my knees.

  14. Hi there! I’ve been reading about PF and yes you’re right people seem to have their own solution. Well I’ve come across an article about Plantar fasciitis and plantar fasciosis, you might want to check on that.

    1. Still have it but have learned how to keep the worst at bay. I now only wear neutral shoes for running. Still using my original Nike Free 5’s and have added two pairs of Newtons to my arsenal. Also use Asics Gel Lyte. I alternate my shoes every run (currently have 5 pairs). NEVER EVER stretch your calves – this works for me even though it goes against most advice. I may be imagining it and need to test this some more, but I think that thin socks are better for me than thick ones. I also go barefoot as much as possible – think that working the foot rather than supporting it seems to strengthen it.

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