Sunday, August 2, 2009

What Plantar Fasciitis Has Taught Me

First of all, I would not wish plantar fasciitis on my worst enemy. It is the pits. My foot has been hurting off and on going on 3 months now. The pain comes and goes, and I think it is getting better. (at least I like to think so) I am running through the pain, and got in 12 miles this weekend, and my foot did okay through about 75% of the mileage.

I do think injuries can teach us things. Here are a few things I've learned from having plantars fasciitis:
1. Stretching is ultra important. Yes, I knew this before, but didn't really take the time to do it, at least do it very well. I stretch throughout the day now and spend at least 10-15 minutes before and after each run stretching. My primary focus is on my lower legs, calves and feet, but I try to stretch all over. I know some runners stretch 30-40 minutes at a time, and maybe I need to work up to that much time, but I'm just too impatient.

2. Listening to your body is crucial. Again, something I already knew, but I am still learning to listen to my body. Sometimes I don't hear what it is trying to tell me. Sometimes I do. But, the little tweaks and pains and aches are your body's way of telling you something. Make sure you are listening. Even during a training run. If you feel pain, listen. Walk a bit, or slow down, or take time to stretch. It will be okay.

3. Strategize your runs. Don't just go out and try to run farther and faster all the time. Be intentional and strategic about your running. And, make sure your strategy is in tune with what your body is telling you. Don't over do it. Get in long runs AND recovery runs. Take it slow, and don't rush progress. Let it happen naturally. Having plantars has caused me to really slow down with my runs and think more about each run that I take. I

Here is what I've been doing lately to treat my foot: I have started rolling my foot over a tennis ball about five times a day. There is a place where my plantar tendon meets the ball of my foot (where the pain is) that I focus on when rolling the ball. There is a crunching or clicking noise in my foot that for awhile I was very tentative about, and didn't want to roll the ball over, but now I have changed my focus and roll the ball back and forth very slowly across those crunches and clicks, like I'm trying to work out the knots in my heel. I keep balls throughout the house and at work, to roll my foot when I have any free time.

I also have done some icing, though I probably need to do more. Rather than using an ice bucket, I have a frozen bottle of water that I roll my foot over. I really need to do some ice buckets, as I am not sure the frozen bottle is doing the trick.

Stretching religiously pre and post run, and sometimes during run. Also stretching throughout the day. Pulling the toes back towards myself in bed before I put my foot on the floot first thing in the morning has helped too. Still debating getting a foot boot to wear at night.

A couple giveaways: I Have Run and Learn, Run, Eat, Repeat are both giving away some stuff. Check them out.

9 comments:

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Injuries do teach us something. Usually things we already "knew" but didn't pay attention to until the injury happened...

Julie said...

They also teach us not to do stupid things again. Like today I was doing a 5 miler and I ran the first mile in 12 min the second in 14! And starts to shake in my calves. I walked the rest of it. Not my shinning moment, but past injuries have taught me to listen and obey the signs and recovery just isn't as much fun and is much more spirit crushing than one bad race day.

Shannon said...

Some great advice. I learned this as well in 08', the IT band problems always flare up when I don't stretch.

Aka Alice said...

Oh Man...I feel like I could write a book on PF after the last 9 months...you're right...wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy!

One of the lessons I've learned has been to add strength training to my running...something I previously ignored. My PT tells me that PF is caused by weak calf muscles and (in my case) also weak hip flexors, hammies, and glutes (who knew?)...so I'm working on strengthening those areas as well so that I never get PF again!

BTW...PT recommends the frozen water bottle, so that's a good thing!

Good luck with the BF...it is a buggar!

Aka Alice said...

I meant PF... :-)

Jess said...

You're right, injury does teach us a lot. And those are good things to keep in mind!

aron said...

those are definitely all good lessons. sometimes we just forget them and a stupid injury has to remind us. hope you are healing up quickly!

TNTcoach Ken said...

You are so right. I have to constantly remind myself of so many of those same things.

lindsay said...

sounds like you are taking all the right steps to help your foot feel and get better. those are great lessons that we already 'know' but tend to slack on often. i know i do anyway... sigh. hope your foot continues to feel better!