No, I cannot go for a walk, not even if there happens to be an ice cream store that stocks peppermint stick ice cream at the road. No, I cannot do 5 minutes of a slow jog on the treadmill before pilates class. Nope, no tennis. Or dancing class. Not even yoga right now (no standing on bare feet). But what I can do is spell plantar fasciitis without looking it up or spell check, which I am just a little too proud of. Spelling plantar fasciitis now comes as naturally to me as spelling my name, but having plantar fasciitis is a drag. It’s not cancer, of course, but still. Nowadays it seems that every middle aged woman I run into has had a bout (or will have a bout– so don’t stop reading, oh smug one.) It is a BA50 phenomenon.
I had just turned 51 about 7 years ago when I was running around New York City in tears, because my right heel hurt so badly. After shots in the heel (didn’t help), physical therapy (didn’t help), hours of stretching (didn’t help), and rolling on frozen water bottles (felt nice in that pleasure pain kind of way, didn’t help), I finally switched to a podiatrist who really knew his stuff. I was fitted with custom orthotics, given a boot and instructions for life. After a few weeks, my plantar fasciitis got better. I didn’t think about it. For 7 lovely years.
But now…plantar fasciitis has returned. Just. Like. That. Out of nowhere. I didn’t exercise more. I didn’t walk more. Didn’t change my diet. My friend has a theory that our brains can only handle one major physical ailment at a time, so perhaps the plantar fasciitis was waiting until my hair grew back after cancer treatments. If that is in fact true, I want to say thank you for waiting, PF.
But I have no time to contemplate the whys and wherefores of this, and no time for heal pain right now, not that anyone ever does. But I beat it before, and dammit, I’ll beat it again, and I am well on my way. Here’s my advice for 10 steps to cure your plantar fasciitis…and it really does work (mine is already feeling better) If you commit to the plan.
Step 1: Admit you have a problem. Maybe you aren’t an alcoholic or a drug addict, but if you get up to pee in the middle of the night and your heel hurts as you walk from bed to toilet, you DO have a problem that needs to be addressed. Ignoring the problem does not help. It will get worse. Been there, done that.
Step 2: Make an appointment with a good podiatrist, preferably one that has cured your friend’s plantar fasciitis.
Step 3: While you are waiting for the appointment (and you will have to wait), stay off your feet as much as possible. I know, I know, that sounds ridiculous and you’re not going to do this, but I am just saying what works, so do your best. Sit on your ass and catch up on old TV series you missed. Do not go for a three mile walk with your friend- meet her for coffee (or ice cream).
Step 4: While you are waiting for the appointment, steer clear of shoes with no support. No flip flops. No boat shoes. No cute little ballet flats. Do not, under any circumstances, go barefoot. High heels look perfectly sexy with your cotton PJs, so go for it (you just may get lucky, which will make you forget about your heel for at least 10 minutes.)
Step 5: While you are waiting for the appointment, get a pedicure. You will be spending a lot of time looking at your feet so they might as well be pretty. This step is optional obviously, but really, why would you want to skip it?
Step 6: While you are waiting for your appointment, complain as much as possible. Milk it. Now that we know that plantar fasciitis is a BA50 “thing”, you can get lots of sympathy. Again, this step is also optional, again, why would you want to skip it?
Step 7: Actually show up at the appointment with your podiatrist. Do not walk out (ha, play on words intended) when he is 30 minutes late. Do not cancel because your bestie wants to have lunch. Insist on a foot x-ray to rule out bad stuff. Then insist that he/she fit you for very expensive bespoke (love that word!) orthotics (they can last 20 or so years, so splurge!). Before you leave, insist that he give you the “boot.” Walk out with the boot–in your arms. This boot is not made for walking.
Step 8: While waiting for your bespoke orthotics, repeat Steps 3, 4, and 5, but add in 3 hours a day of sitting on your ass with your non-bespoke boot on. There’s a new season of Ray Donovan and Game of Thrones and House of Cards…so put your feet up and get started! Since this boot is not made for walking, do not walk in the boot (duh), even if you have to go to the bathroom 10 minutes after you finally got snapped in! The boot will definitely break if you walk on it (or even if you lean on it…and perhaps even if you look at it sideways), and it is really expensive for a crappy piece of plastic covered with foam.
Step 9: Once your orthotics are ready, you are in for a treat. Wear your sneakers with your new orthotics all your waking hours (except when your foot is in the boot for three hours each day.) As my favorite recent President used to say, Yes, you can! Repeat for about two weeks or for as long as it takes for the pain to go away (and then add on a bit more time.) Don’t bother with those stupid stretches everyone says you should do. You’re not going to do them after the third day anyway, so why pretend? Besides, according to my doctor, the boot gives you the proper stretch that you need- no need for further stretching (unless you want to…it can’t hurt.)
Step 10: If you are really in a hurry, during that two weeks of wearing your orthotics and the boot, lift some heavy boxes and throw your back out. You’ll forget all about your foot.
When the plantar fasciitis is over, it is probably a good idea to NEVER go back to old habits like flats and flip flops, boat shoes and no shoes. There are lots of options that cute and supportive. Here’s a few that we really like at BA50…so be sure to check them out:
- Bzees (Ronna Fav–“this is a sporty women’s footwear line featuring design innovations to provide a pain-free promise in a range of stylish slip-ons, sandals, sneakers and even water shoes”– great for the boat, and really cute)
- Vionics (“Style doesn’t have to hurt”) and
- Oofos (Felice Fav–“every pair of OOFOS is engineered to help your feet recover in ways that typical footwear can’t”)