This is my PF success story. I will try to keep it short. First, a little about myself. I am a 56 year old male, height 6' 1', and currently weigh 190. I am a very active person and have been a moderate runner for 25 years. I also bike, kayak, hike, and go to a gym for strength work 2 days per week. I am a computer person, so my job is mostly sitting. My feet are mostly flat. I have/had PF in the left heel.
In April 1998, an F5 sme4 went thru the outskirts of Birmingham where I live. Just afterward I took my chain saw and spent 2 days doing cleanup. On Saturday, I jumped off of a downed tree with the saw in my hand. I had on a pair of cheap boots with no arch support in them at all. I landed flatfooted and compressed all the way down with a forward lean. I felt a sharp but mild pain in my left heel. It was not bad and I continued working the rest of the day and all day Sunday. At the time, it seemed like no big deal. On Monday, I tried to go on my normal 5 mile run. I had no problem until mile 4 when it felt like a had stepped on a knife in my left heel. I had to walk the rest of the way back. At this point, I still thought no big deal. I skipped running the rest of the week. The next weekend, I did another day of chain saw work. The following Monday, I tried my normal 5 miles once more. This time I only made it 3 miles when the pain struck. This time it was much worse than before. It was all I could do to walk back to the office. For the next 3 months, I continued trying to run. After all, when you had run as long as I had, you were accustomed to running thru pains of one type or another. Dumb, dumb, dumb! These repeated attempts to run thru this pain probably turned this problem from a 2-3 month event into a 15 month event. During this time, my heel got where it hurt all of the time. It was especially bad those first steps out of the bed in the morning or after sitting down and the getting back up. I tried Advil and Aleve. Both helped while taking but the problem just kept getting worse.
Around August, I finally went to a POD and heard the PF word for the first time. He did the normal 3 shots in the heel and after some pushing, prescribed a custom orthotic. About the same time, I found this web site and started reading and doing everything that I could to rid myself of this affliction. Since then, I have done the following:
Custom Orthotic - Helped a good bit
Drug store Orthotics - Helped a lot too ( At times more than custom orthotics)
Glucosine Sulfate - No help
Advil, Aleve - Good temporary relief. Used only when pain was severe.
Vitamine C - No help that I could tell
3 Cortizone shots - The normal short term help(#1 - A week. #2 - 4 days. #3 - 3 days)
Hiking boots - Helped a good bit.
Massage - Went to a Chiropractor. Got massage and ultrasound. Massage helped a lot. I learned how massage my own. That was very effective.
Strasburg Sock - Helped a good bit. Learned to sleep in it. It eliminated the morning pain.
Ice - Very little help.
Heat - Very little help.
Time - Great help.
Strengthening - Helped a lot. Toe raises seemed best.
Fortunately, I was able to keep up a fairly good exercise routine. I found that I could do almost anything except run. I walked, hiked, biked, and kayaked. I kept on going to the gym. At the gym, I did weight lifting, stairmaster, and an eliptical trainer. During this time, I gained about 5 pounds. It could have been a lot worse.
There is one thing I learned in all of this about shoes. For me, I will never buy another shoe without bending it in my hands to see how flexible it is. I have discovered that I need a shoe that bends at the ball of my foot (just behind the toes), not in the middle. No more overly flexible shoes. I ran for years in Nike shoes. No more noodle shoes for me. I am now running in a New Balance 877. They are much stiffer in the rear half of the shoe. My work shoes are Rockport Pro Walkers with a drug store orthotic. My hiking shoes are Merrills. They are very stiff and are the shoes that showed me just how much a stiff shoe helped. In August, 1998, during the worst of my pain, I did the unthinkable. I went on a 16 mile hike. My shoes were the Merrills with a Dr. Schol's insert. I expected to be crippled from the hike. Instead, the pain went away for a week! During this ordeal, that was the best lesson for me on what works for me.
Around April of this year, I thought I had gotten the pain down enough to try running again. I started out very slow. Within 2 weeks the pain began to come back and I hadn't even gotten up to ½ mile. Discouraged, I quit again. Around this time I had read several messages about PF sufferers having good luck with chiropractors. I found out that my insurance would pay for a chiropractor so I went to one. She did massage on the foot for 6 weeks. That worked great. Since then I have begun to run again. I am up to 3 miles with no problems. It still scares me that I will overdo it. I constantly look for signs of any problems. I am prepared to back off any time that I think I need to.
Wish me luck. I sure do wish all of you still fighting the PF beast the best of luck in finding what works of you. I hope this story will be a help to someone out there.