Plantar Fasciitis: How The Hell Do I Get Rid of This?

plantar fasciitis“My left foot is killing me! — Can you diagnose  me? – Can you cure me? Can you heal my aching heel?”

I have tried acupuncture,  over the counter orthotics to support my arch, and heel wedges from CVS to create lift in my sneaker.  I have tried to increase blood flow to my heel to ease the constant ache — massaging my foot shamelessly on airplanes and in restaurants. I carry a golf ball in my purse which I place under my foot under the dinner table and at the movies. I roll the ball under the arch and press onto the heel just like I was told to do by every single friend who has suffered from this relentless foot pain. I even sleep in special knee socks with velcro straps that look medieval. Nothing is working. I have been told to be patient — I’m trying.

At the end of March (almost eight weeks ago) I even stopped my ritualistic running.  I’d been running 25-30 miles per week for years — not any more. Pounding down the West Side Highway back in March on cold concrete finished off my foot and as I crossed the finish line at the NY Half Marathon I knew something had to change. So, I rested my foot–but, come on — it’s… been… eight… weeks–ENUF!

Turns out I have the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis and I’m not alone.  Turns out the numbers who suffer from this misery are not insignificant:

plantar fasciitis

2,000,000 Americans are affected by plantar fasciitis each year.

85% of the cases of plantar fasciitis cases have unknown causes.

40-60 year olds are most affected. 

If you can relate to the following scenario and no longer suffer from the pain – I want to know how you fixed your problem.  Here’s my daily drill: I start my morning wincing and muttering, “OUCH.”  As I drop my feet to the floor and start to stand, it feels like my heel is crushing shards of glass. The arch of my foot tightens and I limp to the bathroom praying the pain will subside. It does. The pain lessens as I start to walk around a bit.  Within 30 minutes or so after taking my first step of the day—my pain eases but is by no means gone.

It’s become virtually impossible to ignore the screaming that is going on in my left foot. It’s Groundhog Day every morning as my heel fires when it hits the floor and the “shards of glass” underfoot make me buckle and fall back to the bed.

healing plantar fasciitisI finally gave in to trying to fix this problem on my own and went to a Podiatrist. I know, I know–don’t lecture me–but at least I went.  He fixed me up with a temporary orthotic and told me that nothing would improve until I stopped walking on it. Really? He urged me to do my best.  This seemed impossible. What was not impossible was his suggestion to wear heels. Wow, now this sounded like fun! At almost 5 foot 8, I rarely wear heels. Shoe shopping was to be my prescription drug. I was down with that. I am now embracing my 5 fo0t 10.

Just the other day, I was walking in my neighborhood in my orthotic supported running shoes (a short dog walk with friends) and I ran into another “PF” sufferer.  She told me I would never get better unless I bought 5-fingered Vibram shoes –  totally flat with no arch support. She suffered for over a year and had only cured herself when she went the “unsupported” route.

I want to believe that science has come far enough to have a remedy for my pain–but alas–it’s trial and error. And as I seek out the best therapy for my foot–I’m sticking with the golf balls, heels and modified walks…and even my kinky knee socks at night–unless you’ve got a better idea. I urge you to  please post your winning therapy and remedy below — there are about two million of us who could use a communal cure.

 

 

 

felice

Felice Shapiro

Felice Shapiro loves figuring out what's next. As a serial entrepreneur in the publishing space, she launched BA50 to meet the needs of women entering their next phase. So -- What’s Next after empty nesting? Inspired and armed with her love of publishing, start-ups and women’s issues, Shapiro set out to establish an online magazine for 50-something women to share personal stories, successes and relevant issues. In November 2011, Shapiro launched Betterafter50.com (BA50). Shapiro has published work from hundreds of writers, more than 2500 articles, on topics of health, sex, start-ups, dating, adult children aging parents, finance and more. This online platform has an exploding readership doubling on itself almost every month. As a woman who practices what she teaches, Felice is thrilled to have created the ultimate go-to site for mid-life women. Felice Blog appears every week on betterafter50.com 

  38 comments for “Plantar Fasciitis: How The Hell Do I Get Rid of This?

  1. Lynn
    May 21, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Going thru the same experience now. I find icing the heel as often as possible helpful. Freeze a water bottle roll under foot and heel.

    • felice
      felice
      May 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      OK DOING THAT NOW _ THANK YOU

    • Julie bogdanowicz
      May 21, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      Well, I had that plantar thing in my feet and I tried everything, then I thought of all those Japanese Princess’ that would wrap their feet to keep them small…and so I tried to wrap my feet in ace bandage every night and guess what ..it worked ….no more suffering.
      The moral of the story Be a Princess and you will not have that Plantar thing in your feet.

    • May 25, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      Alignment of the feet all the time–sitting, walking, standing: 5 corners; feet parallel; hip width apart. Practice lifting & spreading your toes; keeping cotton, pedicure thingies between your toes; using alternate icing & hot water with massage; barefoot if possible using toes in ‘fanning’ motions; isometrically feel the diagonals of the feet on your sole–big toe to outer heel and little toe to inner heel–5th pt is the middle of your heel…Drink more water…Bend your knees and lift and spread your toes–isometrically push the sides of your calves into your hands and your hands into the sides of your calves. You can do this sitting or standing…Warrior 1 facing the wall-fingertips on the wall with back foot on all 5 corners–stretching gastronemius and soleus muscles in precise alignment.
      Do you pronate, supinate too much? High arches or none at all? 3 arches in your foot! What about your sub talar joint, peroneals, post/ant tibialis?
      Many more questions for you!

  2. May 21, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Felice,
    I too suffered from the dreaded PF. The folks at Marathon Physical Therapy in Newton Ma fixed me right up with something called “needling” They insert long thin needles similar to those used in acupuncture but longer, into the trigger points of the calf muscle. Worked like a charm. Then of course I had to do a bit of PT that continues to this day. I no longer run, changed it up to spin and have not had any problems since. Knock on wood. Oh and I also quit wearing those cute litte ballet flats. Killer for PF.
    Good luck to you. Let me know if you want a name over there. They are awesome people.
    Cathy

    • felice
      felice
      May 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      Yes yes – love that idea– love to hear more about Needling

  3. May 21, 2013 at 7:35 am

    During the crisis, never get out of bed barefoot. Always have a small heel shoe at your bedside. After two or three painful episodes of PF, I ordered orthotics. In the house, I wear the five toe Vibram shoes and PF has not returned!

  4. Betsy
    May 21, 2013 at 7:58 am

    I had plantar fasciitis for a few years and got rid of it! I lost 50lbs!! I know loosing weight is not the answer for all, but if you are overweight and are suffering with it, try losing a few lbs, it really helps. I saw a podiatrist, wore a boot, slept with the braces, did the “tennis ball” exercises and even paid an exorbitant amount for those custom made shoe inserts that I used ONCE! I shed the weight and not only is the plantar fasciitis gone, but my knees no longer ache!

    • felice
      felice
      May 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      That is genius – love this natural remedy – weight loss -
      That actually isn’t the issue for me (this week ha ha)- but i love love love what you did

  5. Patricia
    May 21, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Felice-
    I suffered from the pain for over a year– i did PT w ice, stim, stretches, golf ball, rolling on iced water bottle. I got expensive custom made orthotics and slept for a year every night in a brace. I got painful injections into my heel. What finally worked was intense laser treatments done by podiatrist. Good luck– it took me about 18 months to fully resolve. Make sure to stretch your calfs frequently even after it starts to feel better.

  6. May 21, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Plantar Fasciitis IS a very difficult condition to rid oneself of but there are more advanced methods of approaching it. Dr. Geldwert and the doctors at The Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC and White Plains (www.healingfeet.com) have been very successful in ridding this “ouch” for many of our patients. Some of those treatments are custom made orthotics, additions to your current orthotics, EPAT (Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Treatment) and MLS Laser treatments. Cortisone injections, PRP (Protein Rich Plasma) injections and the minimally invasive surgeries such as The Fast Technique and Topaz procedure are all innovative methods to be tried before a the traditional surgery (fasciectomy). Please feel free to call our office at 212-996-1900 to discuss your options.

    • felice
      felice
      May 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      If my insurance were good in NY — I would totally go to Dr. Geldwert– He has a reputation as being the best for the feet. – He takes care of most of my friends in NY and he even made my father-in-laws size 13 feet feel better.

      He’s awesome!

      • May 21, 2013 at 2:13 pm

        Thank you for your vote of confidence Felice. I am reading that a lot of your readers have plantar fasciitis and have been frustrated by their medical care. You need to do your research, get referrals and see the correct doctor. There is an answer for you. You do not need to suffer from this condition.
        Call THE CENTER FOR PODIATRIC CARE & SPORTS MEDICINE @ 212-996-1900 or go to the website @ WW.HEALINGFEET.COM, hit the Current Research tab and go to both Plantar Fasciitis and Foot Pain for Dr. Geldwert’s writings (Blogs) on the latest treatments for PF.

  7. Donna
    May 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Get the book “The 5-Minute Plantar Fasciitis Solution” by Jim Johnson, PT. Do the stretching BEFORE you get out of bed in the morning. Worked for me. I think you made a big mistake continuing to run after you first started having problems. Hopefully that didn’t make the problem worse.

    • felice
      felice
      May 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      I know that – but i can’t look back — only forward
      one step at a time – ha ha
      will check out that book – thanks

  8. May 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    My bosses invented an inexpensive gadget for plantar fasciitis relief that helps you stretch your foot properly, limiting recurrence. Check it out: jwedge.com

  9. Susan K.
    May 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Go see Dr. Sara Morrisey, Khalsa Chiropractic Care in Boston, She is amazing and helped me tremendously with a hamstring injury that was not getting better through PT. I highly recommend her. She uses a technique called Graston that may work for PF. She is very honest and will tell you right off if she can help you.
    Her contact information is
    376 Boylston Street
    Suite 301 Boston, MA
    (857) 250-2939

  10. anne gruppo
    May 21, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    How timely this is for me! I stretch well before I get out of bed. Icing at the end of the day also helps. A small heel and arch support is critical. The podiatrist also prescribed anti-inflammatiories. I have been told to say good bye to all flat shoes for the time being so I don’t understand how those vibram toes shoes could be helpful. Gel heel cups are good too. You can buy them on footsmart.com. The jury is out as to whether the custom orthotics are necessary. The orthopedist told me that the store bought ones usually are as effective. Try “power step” orthoptics (the blue ones)–about $40 which you can buy at a running store.

  11. May 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I have felt your pain and it hurts! Fresh shoes every 6-8 months, quit the jogging, the golf ball rolling, the gripping toes in a box of sand or kitty litter while keeping the cat out or box with a lid and then there is a cortisone shot. The shot may help. Take 2 Advil before shot and 2 after and 2 more later that day and stay off the foot, really off, after the shot for best results.
    It sucks.

  12. May 21, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    A year ago I found relief with Orthaheel slippers in the house and their innersoles for my walking and casual shoes, Superfeet berry for my hiking shoes/boots and a variety of Spenco slim innersoles for other shoes. I also swear by Orthaheel flip flops. And yes I’m fine when I wear heels for work. Wearing the orthotic (over the counter) innersoles and slippers made all the difference in short order. Good luck.

  13. Michelle Daum
    May 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Felice. Sorry about your Plantar Fasciitis. I had it for about a year and finally recovered. Saw a foot/ankle orthopedist. I took Mobic – an anti-inflammatory for about 3 months. Work Tuli’s Heel cups (both feet) and now avoid flat shoes. I wore boots with medium heel all winter while I was recovering and I now try to wear summer shoes with some kind of heel. The key for me was the Mobic. Took it along with Previcid – to avoid any GI effects. Specific heel exercises are also recommended. Not sure, but I think the birkenstocks, which I love, may have contributed to the problem. I was living in them when this all started. Good luck. michelle

  14. Lisa Bailey
    May 21, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    We need to mention tincture of time (something that is hard for most of us). Mine got bad about a year ago and is still irritated but much better. I did/do most of what is mentioned here, except avoided cortisone shots. When it started, I read most PF gets better in about a year and sure enough! I run three times a week for three-four miles each time. I ran a 10k recently and could still walk that day and next–triumph. I wear short heels for work and ASIC gels and thick/heavy thorlos when not at work. I also swear by my compression socks (not really a sock because of open toe). You will get better. In the interim, you are an injured runner and that may be harder to deal with than the actual PF.

  15. Marlene Clayton
    May 21, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Having had PF and helping many fellow gym enthusiasts I think only stretching will help. I will show Ronna how to stretch but in the mean time, you can stand on a step and press the infected heel down and hold for at least 18 seconds. It will kill after your off your feet either sitting or lprone. High heels do help but in order to run or exercise it can be wrapped properly so you don’t have pain for a short while until the wrapping gets too tight.. Will allow you to run for about 1/2 hour.

    • felice
      felice
      May 22, 2013 at 7:48 am

      thanks Marlene – so encouraging and I love the you can go running part

  16. Rhonda
    May 22, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Plantar fasciitis takes quite a while to “heal”. I found that a multi-faceted approach helps, and I this home therapy kit was the best solution for me: http://drfieldsheelpainrelief.com/

    At the very least, his blog is a great source of information.

    Good luck!

  17. May 25, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Oh how the internet works lol. I can’t even remember the original article I was reading and this past article of theirs caught my eye. Here is my take and an approach you won’t see prob anywhere.
    Out of the blue I get PF after a run ( I am an Ironman distance triathlete) For the first time I had 3 diff brands/pairs of shoes at someones suggestion to rotate shoes ( I usually am in shoes WAY past their supposed due date lol) . Bam get PF.
    Off and on for 2 years. Tried all remedies except orthotics ( had em as kid/ cortisone )
    Thought occurred to me after working with golfers ( personal trainer/massage therapist) and they get PF, and don’t run. We usually address calves and specifically Soleus tightness. I looked at posture and facial muscle links after seeing a post on Anatomy Trains by Tom Myers.
    K- gotta shorten this up. This is what I did and have not had probs since.
    1) Heel connected through “facial tissue” ALL the way up to the eyebrow.
    2) thus needed posture imbalances addressed due to years of cycling and laziness while sitting. Forward lean/tilted pelvis etc
    3) lay arched backwards on a exercise ball. we spend all day being pulled forward. Did everything to open body up the opposite way. Shoulders, head etc.
    4) worked on natural approach reduce inflammation from inside. Eliminate food sensitivities and upped quality fish oils ( krill) As long as their is inflammation, blood can’t flow to fix.
    5) some stretching and ball rolling ( smaller ball, tennis ball too big and giving)
    but not ALL the time- can keep it irritated
    6) massage work primarily on the soleus and not just directly on the heal area.
    Thaz about it. Have done ‘non conforming’ increases in running mileage without incidence.( usually common causes- to quick increase in speed, distance , or incline)
    Hope that helps someone :)

  18. Carlene
    May 27, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I sure hope it doesn’t interfere with your amazing tennis game – I am so looking forward to it!!! I got PT when I switched sneakers – I can only wear the Adidas Barricades or I get it. Heal soon gf.

  19. JAG
    June 3, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    The newest noninvasive treatment for chronic conditions like my Plantar Fasciitis did the trick. After a few MLS treatments my plantar fasciitis is just a memory. Research it and go for it!

  20. Matt
    August 18, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    How do you get rid of planter Faciitis ??

    • Candace
      September 11, 2013 at 9:04 am

      I suffered for a long time.. Since in live in NYC it’s a problem to not be able to walk. Went to a podiatrist and got one of those boot things. What a waste of money. Very reluctant to get the shots. I finally found a massage therapist, Body Mechanics NYC, right across from where I work that has been able to help. She said the problem isn’t just the foot, it’s all the muscles in your leg, and lower back. She uses massage, icing and stretching to increase the strength and break down the scar tissue. Also gave me stretching exercises that i have to do. It keeps everything working correctly. I’m a regular now, not just for the plantars fasciitis but because the rest of my body appreciates it too.

  21. Dena Sommers
    February 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I am looking into the FAST technique. A nurse friend of mine just had it done and heard rave reviews. My goal is to be able to get on the treadmill and wear high heels again! Tired of pain!

  22. bryan
    February 4, 2014 at 12:29 am

    Hi Felice. Sorry about your Plantar Fasciitis. I had it for about a year and finally recovered. Saw a foot/ankle orthopedist. I took Mobic – an anti-inflammatory for about 3 months. Work Tuli’s Heel cups (both feet) and now avoid flat shoes. I wore boots with medium heel all winter while I was recovering and I now try to wear summer shoes with some kind of heel. The key for me was the Mobic. Took it along with Previcid – to avoid any GI effects. Specific heel exercises are also recommended. Not sure, but I think the birkenstocks, which I love, may have contributed to the problem. I was living in them when this all started. Good luck. Bryan
    http://healthtipsspace.blogspot.com/2014/01/how-to-get-rid-of-knee-pain-fast.html

  23. Annetta
    February 6, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Felice…this is one tricky condition. I got it a couple of years ago from wearing my heavy, no support Frye Harness boots all the time. It felt like it came on suddenly. I tried treating it myself for 6 months. Each time I thought I was “better” and would start power walking again…it came right back. So, I finally went to a podiatrist…purchased supportive shoes (dansko clogs, brooks running shoes)…followed doc’s advice…got custom inserts, and after two months or so there was no pain. I resumed my regular routine, but was very cautious about my feet. My feet have been pain free for the past year…until a couple of days ago. I got cocky and in a pinch borrowed my daughter’s flat, non-supportive boots. The next day I had pain. However, I went right to the doc. and already things are feeling better. That said, it’s going to be a three week recovery. I guess, it’s one of those things where I’ll always have to be careful about what I put on my feet. Lesson learned.

  24. Genny
    March 6, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Felice,
    I had two long painful episodes of PF. I did PT and ate NSAIDS to no avail. Icing 3 times a day helped. I stopped all running and only walked when necessary( despite active 2 y.o., she was wonderful!) finally I got the cortisone injections and they were helpful. No problems since. Now I run wearing Brooks Ghost shoes and use Jeff Galloway’s walk/run program. So far so good.

    Hope you find what you need.

  25. Corki
    April 30, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Nikken Magsteps took the pain from my feet in less than 48 hours after suffering for 3 years. I don’t understand how it works and was upset my husband spent the money on something that sounded far fetched, but I wore them and ate crow later. That was 20 years ago. I have had no issues again until lately. I just ordered more of the insoles and have my fingers crossed that they work again.

    • alba
      June 13, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      I have been suffering from both feet for almost a year. I have tried the steroid shot about 1 month ago no real help. My next step is MSL laser but a foot doctor told me the laser is temporary that I should just have PRP on both feet. Im just not sure what to do? the laser for both feet would end up costing around 1,000 here in Miami PRP per foot is 1,500. should I get both done at the same time for the PRP, doctor says yes. My boss got PRP for Achilles with same doctor and has been totally healed for 2 years. Please any advise so welcomed!

  26. Brian
    June 25, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Here is my story.
    During the work week I walk a LOT.
    I usually walk every day during my lunch.
    I’m not a runner but I do weight train three days a week.
    Then for some reason that has always baffled me my left foot would go berserk over the weekend.
    I’d walk to the grocery store which was only a ten minute walk and I’d be limping by the time I got back home.
    I’d then be in pain for at least two days after that.
    Just this last weekend I got hit with a huge flare up in my left heel…this time it didn’t go away.
    Four days of agony…
    So I started thinking…is it my sciatic nerve?
    Well, massaging that made my leg feel better but not my foot.
    I started rolling my foot, icing, Epsom salt soaks.
    Then it dawned on me (Cue the angels singing sounds)
    Over the weekend I wear regular white tube socks.
    During the workweek I wear tight dress socks that are more like compression socks.
    THAT is why my left foot goes out over the weekend….no support.
    These last few days I was deliberately wearing a loose sock on my left foot and as soon as I put on a tighter sock on my left foot, the pain is 90% gone after only a few hours
    So this is why my plantar flares up and why it goes away just as quickly…I simply must wear tighter socks and forgo the looser tube type socks.
    Everyone is different..give it a shot.
    You don’t want them so tight they cut off your circulation lol.
    You can try compression socks but they’re fairly spendy.
    My black dress socks were about 10.00 for three pairs.
    Just go down one size, give it a day or so and see if you notice any difference.

  27. Lulu
    August 16, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Try Adidas swim sandles. The little nubbies massage your feet while you walk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *