Monday, March 12, 2007


I mean on my PF: plantar fasciatis. Here is a definition I can certainly relate to:

Plantar Fascitis
Literally speaking, this is an inflammation ("itis") of the plantar (bottom of the foot) fascia. The most common symptom is pain in the bottom of the heel when first arising in the morning or after being seated for a period of time. The pain usually dissipates fairly quickly after moving about, and in some cases may return later in the day after prolonged standing. Many people describe the first symptoms as feeling like a "stone bruise" on the bottom of the foot. Left untreated, these symptoms may accelerate to the point where acute pain is present with nearly all activity. The plantar fascia is a tough fascia, much like a ligament, that spans the arch of the foot attaching at one end to the heel bone and at the other end to the ball of the foot. When your foot contacts the ground, your arch is "unlocked" so that your foot can absorb shock and adapt to uneven terrain. As your arch drops, the plantar fascia is stretched. If your calf muscle is a little tight, it places additional stress on the plantar fascia as your heel comes up off the ground. Microtrauma occurs and this sets the stage for the inflammatory process to begin.
Probable causes:
tight calf muscles (other leg muscles may also be involved)
inadequate support from the running shoe
training errors (too many hills, too much speed too soon)
biomechanical (excessive or prolonged pronation) Treatment strategies:
stretch calf muscles (3-5 times per day is helpful)
examine shoes for wear & replace frequently
ice (10 minutes 2-3 times/day if possible)
adjust training schedule (decrease speedwork & hills)
see a biomechanical specialist for a full assessment, gait analysis and treatment.

As much as I have touted the value of the tennis ball, this time I can't seem to clear up the problem with my usual methods. Not that the usual methods don't work. Its just that I need to be more aggressive to get rid of this problem. As beautiful of weather as we had this weekend, I was sidelined after only 2 miles of running, which left me hobbling the rest of the day and Sunday. I am getting way behind on my mileage goals, but worse yet I feel like I can't even walk or stand around comfortably because of this problem.

I can blame the recent flareup to all the funeral home standing around, the horrible weather we had forcing me to wear a pair of boots I wouldn't have worn if not for the snow and needing to wear a dress to the church services. I changed out of those as soon as I could, but the damage had already set in.

I know my right calf gets tight--even from sitting. My left one was injured in the accident and yet there is no problem any more. I can't seem to figure this out for long. The description above is right on, and I have to say right now I am at the chronic pain level so that each step is more than just a pain.

So I intend to start being more vigilant with the foot massaging, calf stretching, and taking ibuprofen regularly over the next 5-7 days at least to get this cleared up for good. I also need to replace my shoes, most likely, and have my orthotics adjusted or replaced--again.

Just another day in the life of a triathlete and runner.


Fe-lady said...

I can show you how to tape it to relieve some of the pulling (when you get out here!) :-)

Flo said...

I've used tape too, it does help.
I'm beginning to wonder if you can get rid of PF. I developed it when I started running 12 years ago and it's never really gone away. It's gone into remission but it always seems to come back. Hmmm, makes you wonder.

bunnygirl said...

Give this a try. I've successfully used their ankle taping recommendations.

Ellie said...

That tape method works. I've done it.

Other tricks: Freeze water in a 20-oz soda bottle, then roll the foot back and forth over that.

Freeze water in a styrofoam cup, then peel away 1/2" or so from the rim, hold the rest of the cup and directly massage (moderate pressure) the spot that hurts, with the ice.

Stretch before you get out of bed in the morning. Lie on your stomach, flex your foot so that your toes lie flat on the bed, and press your heels toward the foot of the bed.

Something's gotta work!

Awwww..... my verification code is "Cudli" -- sounds cute and fluffy :-)