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No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Posted by Joe on 2/21/02 at 08:35 (074497)

After 8 months without PF I'm posting this again for the possible benifit of readers and PF sufferers. I know this is contrary to many present beliefs but it has worked very well for me and several others that have adopted this method including one doctor. As for today, my feet have never felt better. I am presently getting my legs back in shape by running. Something I have not been able to do in the last 2.5 years.

Here is what I posted here about 6 months ago.

I have suffered with Plantar Fashion It Us for over a year and a half. Morning pain, soreness all day, painful burning of the arch and just worn out feeling feet. It started in the left foot and after self treatment with no success, saw a doc who gave me anti-inflamatories and shoe inserts with a large arch support. They hurt big time but he assured me that was normal and it would probably get better. After several weeks it started in the right foot and it was then I quit wearing the inserts and just wore running shoes with a somewhat high arch and this full wrap around foot support shaped like the bottom of a foot, typical of the new style of shoes. Months later while still suffering with PF in both feet, I was on a flight with nothing to do and though about the way a foot is designed. The heel is hard, the pad behind the toes a hard pad too. The arch is a soft and shaped like an arch so would not normally bear any weight walking on a hard flat surface. So why in the world would you wear a shoe that put pressure on the soft tissue in the arch? I felt stupid for not thinking of this until now. The next day I went barefoot as much a possible, cut a little heel in some old running shoes, took out the insert and cut and sanded it so it was much like walking with no shoes at all. The results were impressive. I also started again with Ibuprofen, which did very little in the past. In about 3 to 5 weeks the soreness was almost gone but the occasional burning in the left foot persisted for several months. (This very painful burning had been present for almost a year and only a stretch would relieve it.) The burning has gone away and my feet feel great. I currently wear running shoes with sole and insert modifications to keep the pressure off of the arch as much as possible. Also some Tandy moccasins are good for just running around the house. I also wear Sperry Topsiders but these still need some more modification as they are still a bit 'shaped' in the arch and put a bit too much pressure in the wrong spot. I am now wondering if all this PF is caused from these new style of shoes with these fancy molded rubber and foam inserts made to conform to the bottom of an average foot. Remember Keds? The sole and insert was cut from sheet foam and rubber. No arch support, it was just like walking on flat ground. I was younger then but I never remember my feet hurting. Looking back, I think Birks caused my PF to start. I'll never wear another arch support shoe. Give me flat ground any day. It does take a while to build back you heel toughness but that is the way a foot is designed to work. My feet don't feel 'worn out' any more. I can go all day walking and standing now, something I couldn't do before. NO morning pain at all! I encourage all who suffer with PF to try this carefully and see what happens. I certainly was easy and cheap, once I understood the problem. Give it a try! Also, e-mail me if this works for you.

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

Carole C in NOLA on 2/21/02 at 11:14 (074510)

For many years I always avoided arch supports in shoes, for much the same reasons! An arch support in a shoe felt like walking on marbles. For over half a century I would never even try on a shoe with arch support of any kind.

But now, with PF, if I don't have an arch support I just feel my arch tissues tearing and sinking even if I am only standing. I don't think that your idea would be good for me to try right now, and I think that I will have to have firm arch supports from now on. However, I'm so happy for you that your feet are feeling better!

Thank you for a post that (to me) encourages us to think and experiment and cautiously try what seems best for our own individual feet.

Carole C

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

adam p on 2/21/02 at 11:42 (074514)

Thanks for the post. Please elaborate on what you're doing
when you get a chance. Likewise, please post the model of
shoe you're running in.

AP

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

adam p on 2/21/02 at 11:57 (074521)

I seem to need just a little 'arch-fill/arch support'. Popular
flat-soled/flat-bottomed Reebok models which felt bad in the 1980s now feel better

AP

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

Joe on 2/21/02 at 12:06 (074524)

How do your feet feel when walking barefoot? I live in Slidell.

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Joe on 2/21/02 at 12:15 (074528)

I am just not wearing shoes that make my arch take much load. I can't imagine Native Americans walking around with PF because they didn't wear arch support. True, they were walking around sometimes on soft ground, but there is also hard packed trails and rock. My shoes right now are some old New Ballance that I sanded the insert down a bit by the arch. I also shaved down the bottom of the sole a bit under my arch so it would not act like an arch support.

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

Carole C in NOLA on 2/21/02 at 12:16 (074529)

Hi, neighbor! I'm in River Ridge, out near Metairie.

My feet give me a lot of pain if I walk barefoot, drat! I used to love walking barefoot (grew up in Hawaii). Right now, it takes about 9 days for my feet to recover from walking just across the room barefoot on wall to wall carpet.

Carole C

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

Joe on 2/21/02 at 12:59 (074537)

Wow, sorry to hear that. There might be different versions of PF for different people. Also, it wasn't like I just went flat and my feet stopped hurting. It took a while and it went very slow. Lots of Ibuprofen helped out. About 1200 mg per day for a month. Kind of like once my feet got molded, (addicted) to an arch support, they didn't want to give it up without a fight. Also, heavily padded carpet can squish up into your arch and simulate some degree of arch support. If whatever you are doing isn't working, try something else. Joe

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

adam p on 2/21/02 at 13:13 (074540)

Also . . . those Keds may have provided just the right amount
of slowing of the sudden whip-cracking tensioning of the pf.

AP

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

Carole C in NOLA on 2/21/02 at 13:15 (074541)

Joe, thanks for the advice and ideas. I think that you are right about there being different versions of PF. For one thing, some of us get PF as a sports injury, light or mild, and some of us get PF from walking too much or daily activities, and some get it from walking on concrete a lot. It only makes sense that different types of injuries, caused by different things in different feet would respond differently.

Maybe in time I will be not need so much arch support, and I do hope that eventually I'll be able to walk barefoot at least sometimes. Right now my PF need to heal much much more firmly, first. They have gotten SO much better already, with pain only about a 1 or 2 instead of an 8 or 9 (like they were in November) on a scale of 1-10. I am about where I was in January, but I think what I am doing is probably working. I re-injured my PF a little in January by overdoing it on concrete so it took me a little while to get back to where I am now. Hopefully I will continue to improve. I might always need some arch support, but maybe only an average amount instead of the high arch support that I need now. I guess I'll see, in time.

My carpet is about medium (average apartment carpet).

Looks like a gorgeous day outside.

Carole C

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

john h on 2/21/02 at 14:18 (074545)

I do not pretend to know whether arch support is good or bad but without question our arches become weaker as we age which is one of the reason you need larger shoes as you age. As the arch weakens it only makes sense there is more tension on the fascia. I do not know the average age of the person who develops from PF but I do know the mean age of the people who were in the Ossatron and Dornier studies was around 47 which would indicate that there are more people near 50 who develop this than near 30. People who have no arch (flat feet) cannot get into the military because they cannot march very far so it would seem that flat feet-bad feet with arches- good. I to notice that orthotics that have to much of a buildup in the arch area cause pain in that area. Since the arch area is where the sore spot is it only makes sense that if somethin is pressing on it there will be pain.I have had them readjusted a couple of times. I have tried several times going with just the support that came in my New Balance 853's. For me the jury is still out but it sure makes sense that without good arches or at least arch support you are going to put more tension on the fascia. Many or most NBA and NFL players wear orthotics. I have talked to a couple of the NBA guys and I read about the NFL guys. I sure am not ready to risk hitting the road barefooted or in my old deck shoes which are perfectly flat inside. The problem with constructing orthotics is you cannot make a mould when the foot is functioning in a dynamic state. We make the mould in various ways but nothing can reproduce the foot in motion with the various weights and distributions it encounters. A bad orthotic may be worse than no orthotic but I think many people (from all I have read) have generally had success with orthotics. Remember we on this board are the chosen few!!! We are hard core chronic cases.

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

Carole C in NOLA on 2/21/02 at 14:53 (074547)

John, I agree whole-heartedly with your comments about age. It has seemed to me for some time that many of us on this board are over 50, and I had meant to comment on that. My thoughts were that the PF become less elastic with age, just as facial skin and many other tissues do.

I always thought my feet were flat, but foot professionals now tell me that I have high arches that flatten when I stand. Whatever they are, they always used to be comfortable for me and any arch support at all (even the itsy bitsy ones in some regular shoes) really hurt during my first half century on earth. I was a regular Princess And The Pea.

Right now, I have not yet felt the arch support that is too high for me; only ones that are placed too far forward are uncomfortable. When my pedorthist was making my orthotics for me, I told her that I'd be thrilled if she'd just strap my feet to tennis balls, and that was only partially a joke. My feet crave a great deal of support in the rear arch. Maybe this is because this sort of 'folds' the foot, so that the PF don't have to stretch as far from the heel to the toe. But, I do not know.

I have had success with my orthotics, even though they do not have as much arch support in the mid-arch area as I *think* I want. Instead, what I feel from them is very firm support in a small part of the medial rear arch at the heel, which I think may be the insertional area. This seems to work wonders for me but just plain arch support further forward does not work as well.

I hope that I am not a hard core PF case, though you may be right. I do know that initially I expected the pain to just go away by itself, but (obviously) it didn't. I do seem to be doing pretty well by heelspurs.com standards, but then I guess that would mean I've got a soft hard core case of PF! LOL Sounds pretty nasty, doesn't it. (grin)

Carole C

Re: Is it Shoes, or is it Diet ??

BrianG on 2/21/02 at 17:33 (074574)

Hi Joe,

I can remember when you posted about 6 months ago. It seemed like a fairly simple cure at the time, although I did not try it. I'm wondering, did anyone out there in PF land try Joe's method? Joe, did anyone get back to you that had success?

I'm quite sure I got my PF from walking on too much concrete. Yet, concrete and steel factories have been around for many generations. Our generation seems to have been hit the worst. This would lead me to believe much of the PF could be from the new type of athletic shoes OR could it be diatary (which has also changed alot in the last 20 years)? I'm thinking food processing, adding god knows what; like hormones, perservatives, etc.

I wish I knew, I wish we all knew. We need research to end this mess !!

BrianG

Re: Feet are individuals! :) Arch supports vs. orthotics

Ed Davis, DPM on 2/21/02 at 18:32 (074585)

'Arch supports' generally refers to an elevation under the medial longitudinal arch of the foot. The elevation can place too much pressure on an already sore plantar fascia--more so for people with flat feet or if the plantar fascia is swollen.

Many patients are surprised, when I dispense custom orthotics to them, that they do not feel much pressure in the arch---they expect to feel it.
An 'arch support' can be a component of an orthotic but much of the action of an orthotic may come from other areas such as the posts (wedges) at the heel and forefoot and the manner in which the orthotic repositions the foot. When the plantar fascia is sore and swollen we often have the lab cut a groove in the orthotic in order to remove direct pressure from the fascia.
Ed

Re: Feet are individuals! :) Arch supports vs. orthotics

John h on 2/21/02 at 18:41 (074591)

Very good information Dr. Davis. All of my many orthotics have a very definite and visable arch support that I feel. For what ever reason I do not feel it very much in the birk sandals. Perhaps because the foot is free to move around a bit in the sandals.

Re: Or is it Age??

Carole C in NOLA on 2/21/02 at 20:57 (074607)

Or is it due to getting older? Most of the people that I know now are twenty years older than the people that I knew twenty years ago.

Carole C

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Mike D on 2/21/02 at 21:30 (074618)

I am one of those who found Joes' message last October and acted upon it with quite a lot of success. I came down with PF in July 2001, a 58 year old athletic male who is not overweight. I jog and play tennis--I have been jogging for almost 40 years. A new pair of New Balance shoes brought the problem on. What really shook my confidence in the conservative treatment was when PF went from the left foot to both feet. I was ready to find a critical thinker who could provide some new ideas.

I believe there are two stages to this disease, and during the acute phase, I think the arch supports (orthotics and Birks) help relieve the pain. But in the long run, the arch supports are a crutch that leads to continued weakness and further episodes of PF.

About three months ago, I first went barefoot in the house, and I started wearing Taos mocassins in my shop--this was a bit rocky in the beginning but it has worked for me--I am now more comfortable in my bare feet than in shoes. I am back to jogging and playing tennis about 5 days a week, but I am not completely pain free. I jog in an old pair of Merrill kayaking sandals that have zero arch support but a small amount of padding along the flat bottom. As long as I land on the ball of my foot rather than the heel, I can jog 3-4 miles every day and feel good at the end of it. However, I do heavy stretching on the edge of stairs after my running and many times every day. This takes the pain away. Sandals are more comfortable that my expensive New Balance 991s even when I take the arch supports out of the shoes (note: there is still a high heel in these shoes).

Now here is something important that I do not see mentioned as a treatment--I go to the health club and soak my feet in the hottest hot tub for 10-15 minutes and I stretch by standing on the ledge which is under water. Conservative treatment says only ice, but I find that heat really helps (ice does take the short term fire away, however). I always use heat after playing 2-3 hours of tennis and the next morning the fire in my heels is at a low but not zero ebb. As you can see, I push the envelope with this disease.

When I overdue it, I go back to the Birks for a day, do extra soaking in the hot tub and stretch, stretch, stretch. I am much better, thanks to Joe. I think he is on to something when he suggests that the elevated, padded heels and the arch supports in our tennis shoes are contributing to weakness in the plantar fascia for those of us that are prone to this disease. I think I need to do more aggessive stretching to build up the strength in my feet (by this I mean stetching on one foot at a time with the heel hanging over the stair step).

Re: Or is it Age??

adam p on 2/21/02 at 23:49 (074633)

My vote goes for asphalt, concrete, worthless shoe fashions
and designs, and the fitness craze.

On the other hand, I can remember adults speaking frequently of
'fallen arches' when I was a kid.

AP

Re: Isn't it lots of things

Julie on 2/22/02 at 03:13 (074641)

1 ...Ageing

2 ...The fitness craze
(impact sports, running on hard surfaces with poor shoes, etc)

3 ...Hard floor surfaces

4 ...Flat feet (can increase with age)

5 ...Bad shoes (high heels and pointy toes for women, any kind for either gender, worn out shoes)

6 ...Shoes the wrong sizes (see 1: feet spread as they - we - age, yet people cling to the size they were at 20 ('I've always worn size 5, don't tell me I'm a 6 1/2...')

7 ...Excessive pronation
(exacerbated by (1,2 3, 4, 5 and 6)

7...you name it.

Re: Feet are individuals! :)/Neighbors?

rich on 2/22/02 at 08:04 (074663)

Hi Joe, just wanted to say we're neighbors too! I was surprised to find Carole down the road on the net. I'm to the west in Cajun Country! Yum!! It's Crawfish season for those that don't know.

I've had relief with inserts bought at Just For Feet...Sof-Sole Motion Control...in New Balance athletics. Arch is not too elevated and feels much better than the original arch in the shoe itself.

Thanks for your post...would love to walk barefoot again (besides the shower).

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

CarlW on 2/22/02 at 08:16 (074668)

Joe,

Congratulations on your success and thanks for sharing your method. I also remember reading your original post with curiosity. I wonder if it works beacause the underlying problem in your case was foot muscle weakness and that by going barefoot your feet were forced to stregthen them selves to the point where they could function without an orthotic. I agree that it appears that PF treatment should focus on strength after the initial acute phase. Did you ever try for a sustained period of time doing strengthing exercises?

CarlW

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Joe on 2/22/02 at 08:34 (074673)

I don't think my feet were weak and that that is what caused my PF. I distinctly remember it starting with a pair of Birks. Having always worked on my feet a lot on concrete with no PF and it suddenly starting when I started wearing arch support-ish shoes, I really think that was the cause. I can now get out of bed and not feel any pain at all. NONE! For the past 4 months, I can do calf raises with lots of weight. I'm doing this to get my calfs back in shape after 2 years of little exercise. I am 43, 165 pounds and 5' 7'. My feet are not flat and not high arched, just average.

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Joe on 2/22/02 at 08:48 (074677)

Hi, I'm really glad this has worked out well for you. A friend who suffered with PF now only wears Topsiders with no socks. He figured this out before talking to me and thinks all of the arch support and form fitted shoes are the cause of most PF. He is in disagreement with the current method of cure by prescribing inserts. He is also a doctor, although not a DPM. During my switch to flat-ish shoes, I found that switching between arches and no arches hurt. I had to go flat gradually. That seemed to be the best. The hot water sounds good. I did stretch a lot during my recovery and conversion back to flat-ish shoes. I now don't do as much stretching but everything is doing just fine. Thanks for letting me know.

Re: Is it Shoes, or is it Diet ??

john h on 2/22/02 at 11:50 (074683)

It could be that people just did not call it PF and just accepted bad feet more readily. Many diseases like cancer were not talked about much. People often were said to have died from old age, consumption, or other non descript terms. Certainly the new life style lends itself to more PF. Women are in the work force and are athletes and the facts are there are many more women with PF than men. As a nation we have put on more weight. I would suspect the average weight of an American must be up 20 lbs or more from 50 years ago.

Re: Or is it Age??

john h on 2/22/02 at 11:53 (074684)

Carole: I hope the people you knew 20 years ago are now 20 years older if not then tell me how they stop the process (yes I am being a smart a--)

Re: Or is it Age??

Carole C in NOLA on 2/22/02 at 12:51 (074697)

Yes, John, you are being a smart a-- ! :) but we all like you that way so don't change a bit! :)

Carole C

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Sandy H. on 2/23/02 at 09:15 (074799)

Can you tell me how you got back into running and whether you genuinely think that helps? My plantar fasciitis really took hold after I was given orthotics for a case of shin splits and I genuinely believe that the pressure on the PF as I was running was part of the cause. Now I just wear shoes with dual density soles that stop the heel collapsing inwards on the strike (I'm with you on cushioning being part of the problem if it causes your feet to wobble around like some of these nike air shoes do). I also wear sandals with cushioning but no arch support. I'm feeling a bit better but no way near ready to run again. How did you know when to do that?

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Mike D on 2/23/02 at 15:20 (074849)

Dear Sandy H., I am an experimenter, and you need to do the same. There is something very odd about the treatment of PF since so many of us cannot seem to get rid of it, and yet it does not kill us or result in a catastrophic breaking of our feet--those structures appear to have their full strength.

Initially, I gave up tennis and jogging, but I missed my running and tennis playing; so after a month or so after the diagnosis, I tried short runs (say 1/4 mile) using my New Balance jogging shoes, but the PF would get very painful and I had to quite. One problem with PF is that there is a delayed reaction--something can feel OK immediately but be painful several hours later. Joes' thinking in October 2001 struck a note with me, but to test it out, I needed jogging shoes that were flat (no raised heel or arch support) but still had a small amount of cushioning. My old industrial grade Merrill sandals fit the bill and I tried them out by running and walking (half and half) 1/2 a mile. I land on the ball of the foot but the heel gets a light load after the initial impact. Lo and behold, no more than the usual pain and often a lessening of the pain (it varies from day to day). Make no mistake, I still have PF but running actually appears to help reduce the pain. I have worked myself up to running 3-4 miles at a time, about 3-5 times a week. I am careful to run on grass or crushed rock or gravel--I try to minimize the run time on paved surfaces, but of course you cannot get away from it. I walk several miles every day in those same sandals, as well. You need to start slow and see what happens--be an experimenter on yourself. I am still not able to run comfortably in my expensive New Balance shoes (model 991) even after replacing the arched insert with a flat, DR Scholls odor eater. I think the narrowness of the heel and the heel elevation are the problems in my running shoes. I own Birks but I do not think they would work as well for jogging because of that raised area under the toes which might lead to blisters, but I could be wrong. I have looked into this; only Teva makes a running sandal but it has a huge amount of arch support which makes it problematic for our problem. I have found no new replacement brand for my old sandals--I hope you can find a pair that will work for you. I wear two pairs of socks, and I aggressively stretch after I get back from running using stairs and letting the heel hang over. As I mentioned earlier, soaking in the hot tub with stretching really helps kill the fire when you over do it. Be brave. If it works, please share your experience. Chronic suffers need some need ideas on treatment.

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Joe on 2/23/02 at 19:37 (074871)

I'm just getting where I can run 1/4 mile at a time. That is all I can run not because of my feet but my legs. Shins and knees hurt. Just about everything from my knees to my ankles hurt and I must stop without even breaking a sweat or out of breath. This is probably from PF keeping my activity low. Any info on how to work out this issue would be appreciated. Today I hiked for an hour on hilly terrain without any foot pain at all wearing Doc Martens. In Louisiana you can find small hills at Tunica Hills north of Baton Rouge. Keep in mind everybody that even flat shoes with a lot of cushion and a wedge sole can squish up into the arch and put pressure on it. I bought a 100.00 pair of SAS shoes, modified the insert to reduce the arch but the wedge sole let it still put pressure on my arch and they hurt. Topsiders are harder and have a heel. Doc Martens too but not their sandal. This puts less pressure on my arch and I can wear them for long periods on concrete very good results. I am really glad to see some of you that have tried my method haveing good results. Please keep righting about this method and your results in this forum. I was hurting so bad last year that I would have given anything to solve this problem. And the way I healed myself was so simple and cheap.

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Aimee T. on 3/22/02 at 16:12 (077241)

Hello Joe-
Thanks for posting this message again. I have been dealing with PF for 20 months now. I can understand what you are saying about the 'no shoes' idea. I have a difficult time wearing any shoes. I've tried many types, many orthotics, and I still don't know what I should be wearing. I also do better when barefoot but not for long periods of time. My present doctor says some people just can't tolerate orthotics. All other professionals I have seen try to get me into them.

I just finished PT about 1 month ago. I've had one setback since and I am having difficulty getting rid of the inflammation. My days are very slow and I cannot to many things! I am so tired of pacing myself. This is very hard to do with 2 small children.

Anyways, I do feel better with no shoes but this is impossible to do all the time. I need some support to stablize my foot. Any suggestions on types of shoes to buy?

Thanks again for your info.,

Aimee T.

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Aimee-T on 4/08/02 at 07:16 (078796)

Thanks Joe for getting back to me - I am so glad you are doing well.
My feet seem to be back in place with the pf, but I cannot get my strength back in my feet and I keep having setbacks.

I may be out of work for awhile now to try to really take some time to heal. I am supposed to be starting 'prolotherapy' on Wednesday. My new sports doctor believes the ligaments are overstretched and cannot get back to normal. The prolotherapy is supposed to strenthen and promote healing in the ligaments and joints.

At this time no shoes or socks are comfortable for me. I can't do this for long because then my foot gets over stretched and I'm back to square one. I am presently using a very simple slip on shoe that has some cushion but really no arch support. I would like to try some new balance sneakers when I am able to get out again to go to a store.

Well, I could go on and on and on about my sad story. It must be nice to be able to do things again. How long did you suffer from pf before you found your solution?

Thanks again!

Aimee T.

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

Carole C in NOLA on 2/21/02 at 11:14 (074510)

For many years I always avoided arch supports in shoes, for much the same reasons! An arch support in a shoe felt like walking on marbles. For over half a century I would never even try on a shoe with arch support of any kind.

But now, with PF, if I don't have an arch support I just feel my arch tissues tearing and sinking even if I am only standing. I don't think that your idea would be good for me to try right now, and I think that I will have to have firm arch supports from now on. However, I'm so happy for you that your feet are feeling better!

Thank you for a post that (to me) encourages us to think and experiment and cautiously try what seems best for our own individual feet.

Carole C

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

adam p on 2/21/02 at 11:42 (074514)

Thanks for the post. Please elaborate on what you're doing
when you get a chance. Likewise, please post the model of
shoe you're running in.

AP

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

adam p on 2/21/02 at 11:57 (074521)

I seem to need just a little 'arch-fill/arch support'. Popular
flat-soled/flat-bottomed Reebok models which felt bad in the 1980s now feel better

AP

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

Joe on 2/21/02 at 12:06 (074524)

How do your feet feel when walking barefoot? I live in Slidell.

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Joe on 2/21/02 at 12:15 (074528)

I am just not wearing shoes that make my arch take much load. I can't imagine Native Americans walking around with PF because they didn't wear arch support. True, they were walking around sometimes on soft ground, but there is also hard packed trails and rock. My shoes right now are some old New Ballance that I sanded the insert down a bit by the arch. I also shaved down the bottom of the sole a bit under my arch so it would not act like an arch support.

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

Carole C in NOLA on 2/21/02 at 12:16 (074529)

Hi, neighbor! I'm in River Ridge, out near Metairie.

My feet give me a lot of pain if I walk barefoot, drat! I used to love walking barefoot (grew up in Hawaii). Right now, it takes about 9 days for my feet to recover from walking just across the room barefoot on wall to wall carpet.

Carole C

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

Joe on 2/21/02 at 12:59 (074537)

Wow, sorry to hear that. There might be different versions of PF for different people. Also, it wasn't like I just went flat and my feet stopped hurting. It took a while and it went very slow. Lots of Ibuprofen helped out. About 1200 mg per day for a month. Kind of like once my feet got molded, (addicted) to an arch support, they didn't want to give it up without a fight. Also, heavily padded carpet can squish up into your arch and simulate some degree of arch support. If whatever you are doing isn't working, try something else. Joe

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

adam p on 2/21/02 at 13:13 (074540)

Also . . . those Keds may have provided just the right amount
of slowing of the sudden whip-cracking tensioning of the pf.

AP

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

Carole C in NOLA on 2/21/02 at 13:15 (074541)

Joe, thanks for the advice and ideas. I think that you are right about there being different versions of PF. For one thing, some of us get PF as a sports injury, light or mild, and some of us get PF from walking too much or daily activities, and some get it from walking on concrete a lot. It only makes sense that different types of injuries, caused by different things in different feet would respond differently.

Maybe in time I will be not need so much arch support, and I do hope that eventually I'll be able to walk barefoot at least sometimes. Right now my PF need to heal much much more firmly, first. They have gotten SO much better already, with pain only about a 1 or 2 instead of an 8 or 9 (like they were in November) on a scale of 1-10. I am about where I was in January, but I think what I am doing is probably working. I re-injured my PF a little in January by overdoing it on concrete so it took me a little while to get back to where I am now. Hopefully I will continue to improve. I might always need some arch support, but maybe only an average amount instead of the high arch support that I need now. I guess I'll see, in time.

My carpet is about medium (average apartment carpet).

Looks like a gorgeous day outside.

Carole C

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

john h on 2/21/02 at 14:18 (074545)

I do not pretend to know whether arch support is good or bad but without question our arches become weaker as we age which is one of the reason you need larger shoes as you age. As the arch weakens it only makes sense there is more tension on the fascia. I do not know the average age of the person who develops from PF but I do know the mean age of the people who were in the Ossatron and Dornier studies was around 47 which would indicate that there are more people near 50 who develop this than near 30. People who have no arch (flat feet) cannot get into the military because they cannot march very far so it would seem that flat feet-bad feet with arches- good. I to notice that orthotics that have to much of a buildup in the arch area cause pain in that area. Since the arch area is where the sore spot is it only makes sense that if somethin is pressing on it there will be pain.I have had them readjusted a couple of times. I have tried several times going with just the support that came in my New Balance 853's. For me the jury is still out but it sure makes sense that without good arches or at least arch support you are going to put more tension on the fascia. Many or most NBA and NFL players wear orthotics. I have talked to a couple of the NBA guys and I read about the NFL guys. I sure am not ready to risk hitting the road barefooted or in my old deck shoes which are perfectly flat inside. The problem with constructing orthotics is you cannot make a mould when the foot is functioning in a dynamic state. We make the mould in various ways but nothing can reproduce the foot in motion with the various weights and distributions it encounters. A bad orthotic may be worse than no orthotic but I think many people (from all I have read) have generally had success with orthotics. Remember we on this board are the chosen few!!! We are hard core chronic cases.

Re: Feet are individuals! :)

Carole C in NOLA on 2/21/02 at 14:53 (074547)

John, I agree whole-heartedly with your comments about age. It has seemed to me for some time that many of us on this board are over 50, and I had meant to comment on that. My thoughts were that the PF become less elastic with age, just as facial skin and many other tissues do.

I always thought my feet were flat, but foot professionals now tell me that I have high arches that flatten when I stand. Whatever they are, they always used to be comfortable for me and any arch support at all (even the itsy bitsy ones in some regular shoes) really hurt during my first half century on earth. I was a regular Princess And The Pea.

Right now, I have not yet felt the arch support that is too high for me; only ones that are placed too far forward are uncomfortable. When my pedorthist was making my orthotics for me, I told her that I'd be thrilled if she'd just strap my feet to tennis balls, and that was only partially a joke. My feet crave a great deal of support in the rear arch. Maybe this is because this sort of 'folds' the foot, so that the PF don't have to stretch as far from the heel to the toe. But, I do not know.

I have had success with my orthotics, even though they do not have as much arch support in the mid-arch area as I *think* I want. Instead, what I feel from them is very firm support in a small part of the medial rear arch at the heel, which I think may be the insertional area. This seems to work wonders for me but just plain arch support further forward does not work as well.

I hope that I am not a hard core PF case, though you may be right. I do know that initially I expected the pain to just go away by itself, but (obviously) it didn't. I do seem to be doing pretty well by heelspurs.com standards, but then I guess that would mean I've got a soft hard core case of PF! LOL Sounds pretty nasty, doesn't it. (grin)

Carole C

Re: Is it Shoes, or is it Diet ??

BrianG on 2/21/02 at 17:33 (074574)

Hi Joe,

I can remember when you posted about 6 months ago. It seemed like a fairly simple cure at the time, although I did not try it. I'm wondering, did anyone out there in PF land try Joe's method? Joe, did anyone get back to you that had success?

I'm quite sure I got my PF from walking on too much concrete. Yet, concrete and steel factories have been around for many generations. Our generation seems to have been hit the worst. This would lead me to believe much of the PF could be from the new type of athletic shoes OR could it be diatary (which has also changed alot in the last 20 years)? I'm thinking food processing, adding god knows what; like hormones, perservatives, etc.

I wish I knew, I wish we all knew. We need research to end this mess !!

BrianG

Re: Feet are individuals! :) Arch supports vs. orthotics

Ed Davis, DPM on 2/21/02 at 18:32 (074585)

'Arch supports' generally refers to an elevation under the medial longitudinal arch of the foot. The elevation can place too much pressure on an already sore plantar fascia--more so for people with flat feet or if the plantar fascia is swollen.

Many patients are surprised, when I dispense custom orthotics to them, that they do not feel much pressure in the arch---they expect to feel it.
An 'arch support' can be a component of an orthotic but much of the action of an orthotic may come from other areas such as the posts (wedges) at the heel and forefoot and the manner in which the orthotic repositions the foot. When the plantar fascia is sore and swollen we often have the lab cut a groove in the orthotic in order to remove direct pressure from the fascia.
Ed

Re: Feet are individuals! :) Arch supports vs. orthotics

John h on 2/21/02 at 18:41 (074591)

Very good information Dr. Davis. All of my many orthotics have a very definite and visable arch support that I feel. For what ever reason I do not feel it very much in the birk sandals. Perhaps because the foot is free to move around a bit in the sandals.

Re: Or is it Age??

Carole C in NOLA on 2/21/02 at 20:57 (074607)

Or is it due to getting older? Most of the people that I know now are twenty years older than the people that I knew twenty years ago.

Carole C

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Mike D on 2/21/02 at 21:30 (074618)

I am one of those who found Joes' message last October and acted upon it with quite a lot of success. I came down with PF in July 2001, a 58 year old athletic male who is not overweight. I jog and play tennis--I have been jogging for almost 40 years. A new pair of New Balance shoes brought the problem on. What really shook my confidence in the conservative treatment was when PF went from the left foot to both feet. I was ready to find a critical thinker who could provide some new ideas.

I believe there are two stages to this disease, and during the acute phase, I think the arch supports (orthotics and Birks) help relieve the pain. But in the long run, the arch supports are a crutch that leads to continued weakness and further episodes of PF.

About three months ago, I first went barefoot in the house, and I started wearing Taos mocassins in my shop--this was a bit rocky in the beginning but it has worked for me--I am now more comfortable in my bare feet than in shoes. I am back to jogging and playing tennis about 5 days a week, but I am not completely pain free. I jog in an old pair of Merrill kayaking sandals that have zero arch support but a small amount of padding along the flat bottom. As long as I land on the ball of my foot rather than the heel, I can jog 3-4 miles every day and feel good at the end of it. However, I do heavy stretching on the edge of stairs after my running and many times every day. This takes the pain away. Sandals are more comfortable that my expensive New Balance 991s even when I take the arch supports out of the shoes (note: there is still a high heel in these shoes).

Now here is something important that I do not see mentioned as a treatment--I go to the health club and soak my feet in the hottest hot tub for 10-15 minutes and I stretch by standing on the ledge which is under water. Conservative treatment says only ice, but I find that heat really helps (ice does take the short term fire away, however). I always use heat after playing 2-3 hours of tennis and the next morning the fire in my heels is at a low but not zero ebb. As you can see, I push the envelope with this disease.

When I overdue it, I go back to the Birks for a day, do extra soaking in the hot tub and stretch, stretch, stretch. I am much better, thanks to Joe. I think he is on to something when he suggests that the elevated, padded heels and the arch supports in our tennis shoes are contributing to weakness in the plantar fascia for those of us that are prone to this disease. I think I need to do more aggessive stretching to build up the strength in my feet (by this I mean stetching on one foot at a time with the heel hanging over the stair step).

Re: Or is it Age??

adam p on 2/21/02 at 23:49 (074633)

My vote goes for asphalt, concrete, worthless shoe fashions
and designs, and the fitness craze.

On the other hand, I can remember adults speaking frequently of
'fallen arches' when I was a kid.

AP

Re: Isn't it lots of things

Julie on 2/22/02 at 03:13 (074641)

1 ...Ageing

2 ...The fitness craze
(impact sports, running on hard surfaces with poor shoes, etc)

3 ...Hard floor surfaces

4 ...Flat feet (can increase with age)

5 ...Bad shoes (high heels and pointy toes for women, any kind for either gender, worn out shoes)

6 ...Shoes the wrong sizes (see 1: feet spread as they - we - age, yet people cling to the size they were at 20 ('I've always worn size 5, don't tell me I'm a 6 1/2...')

7 ...Excessive pronation
(exacerbated by (1,2 3, 4, 5 and 6)

7...you name it.

Re: Feet are individuals! :)/Neighbors?

rich on 2/22/02 at 08:04 (074663)

Hi Joe, just wanted to say we're neighbors too! I was surprised to find Carole down the road on the net. I'm to the west in Cajun Country! Yum!! It's Crawfish season for those that don't know.

I've had relief with inserts bought at Just For Feet...Sof-Sole Motion Control...in New Balance athletics. Arch is not too elevated and feels much better than the original arch in the shoe itself.

Thanks for your post...would love to walk barefoot again (besides the shower).

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

CarlW on 2/22/02 at 08:16 (074668)

Joe,

Congratulations on your success and thanks for sharing your method. I also remember reading your original post with curiosity. I wonder if it works beacause the underlying problem in your case was foot muscle weakness and that by going barefoot your feet were forced to stregthen them selves to the point where they could function without an orthotic. I agree that it appears that PF treatment should focus on strength after the initial acute phase. Did you ever try for a sustained period of time doing strengthing exercises?

CarlW

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Joe on 2/22/02 at 08:34 (074673)

I don't think my feet were weak and that that is what caused my PF. I distinctly remember it starting with a pair of Birks. Having always worked on my feet a lot on concrete with no PF and it suddenly starting when I started wearing arch support-ish shoes, I really think that was the cause. I can now get out of bed and not feel any pain at all. NONE! For the past 4 months, I can do calf raises with lots of weight. I'm doing this to get my calfs back in shape after 2 years of little exercise. I am 43, 165 pounds and 5' 7'. My feet are not flat and not high arched, just average.

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Joe on 2/22/02 at 08:48 (074677)

Hi, I'm really glad this has worked out well for you. A friend who suffered with PF now only wears Topsiders with no socks. He figured this out before talking to me and thinks all of the arch support and form fitted shoes are the cause of most PF. He is in disagreement with the current method of cure by prescribing inserts. He is also a doctor, although not a DPM. During my switch to flat-ish shoes, I found that switching between arches and no arches hurt. I had to go flat gradually. That seemed to be the best. The hot water sounds good. I did stretch a lot during my recovery and conversion back to flat-ish shoes. I now don't do as much stretching but everything is doing just fine. Thanks for letting me know.

Re: Is it Shoes, or is it Diet ??

john h on 2/22/02 at 11:50 (074683)

It could be that people just did not call it PF and just accepted bad feet more readily. Many diseases like cancer were not talked about much. People often were said to have died from old age, consumption, or other non descript terms. Certainly the new life style lends itself to more PF. Women are in the work force and are athletes and the facts are there are many more women with PF than men. As a nation we have put on more weight. I would suspect the average weight of an American must be up 20 lbs or more from 50 years ago.

Re: Or is it Age??

john h on 2/22/02 at 11:53 (074684)

Carole: I hope the people you knew 20 years ago are now 20 years older if not then tell me how they stop the process (yes I am being a smart a--)

Re: Or is it Age??

Carole C in NOLA on 2/22/02 at 12:51 (074697)

Yes, John, you are being a smart a-- ! :) but we all like you that way so don't change a bit! :)

Carole C

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Sandy H. on 2/23/02 at 09:15 (074799)

Can you tell me how you got back into running and whether you genuinely think that helps? My plantar fasciitis really took hold after I was given orthotics for a case of shin splits and I genuinely believe that the pressure on the PF as I was running was part of the cause. Now I just wear shoes with dual density soles that stop the heel collapsing inwards on the strike (I'm with you on cushioning being part of the problem if it causes your feet to wobble around like some of these nike air shoes do). I also wear sandals with cushioning but no arch support. I'm feeling a bit better but no way near ready to run again. How did you know when to do that?

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Mike D on 2/23/02 at 15:20 (074849)

Dear Sandy H., I am an experimenter, and you need to do the same. There is something very odd about the treatment of PF since so many of us cannot seem to get rid of it, and yet it does not kill us or result in a catastrophic breaking of our feet--those structures appear to have their full strength.

Initially, I gave up tennis and jogging, but I missed my running and tennis playing; so after a month or so after the diagnosis, I tried short runs (say 1/4 mile) using my New Balance jogging shoes, but the PF would get very painful and I had to quite. One problem with PF is that there is a delayed reaction--something can feel OK immediately but be painful several hours later. Joes' thinking in October 2001 struck a note with me, but to test it out, I needed jogging shoes that were flat (no raised heel or arch support) but still had a small amount of cushioning. My old industrial grade Merrill sandals fit the bill and I tried them out by running and walking (half and half) 1/2 a mile. I land on the ball of the foot but the heel gets a light load after the initial impact. Lo and behold, no more than the usual pain and often a lessening of the pain (it varies from day to day). Make no mistake, I still have PF but running actually appears to help reduce the pain. I have worked myself up to running 3-4 miles at a time, about 3-5 times a week. I am careful to run on grass or crushed rock or gravel--I try to minimize the run time on paved surfaces, but of course you cannot get away from it. I walk several miles every day in those same sandals, as well. You need to start slow and see what happens--be an experimenter on yourself. I am still not able to run comfortably in my expensive New Balance shoes (model 991) even after replacing the arched insert with a flat, DR Scholls odor eater. I think the narrowness of the heel and the heel elevation are the problems in my running shoes. I own Birks but I do not think they would work as well for jogging because of that raised area under the toes which might lead to blisters, but I could be wrong. I have looked into this; only Teva makes a running sandal but it has a huge amount of arch support which makes it problematic for our problem. I have found no new replacement brand for my old sandals--I hope you can find a pair that will work for you. I wear two pairs of socks, and I aggressively stretch after I get back from running using stairs and letting the heel hang over. As I mentioned earlier, soaking in the hot tub with stretching really helps kill the fire when you over do it. Be brave. If it works, please share your experience. Chronic suffers need some need ideas on treatment.

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Joe on 2/23/02 at 19:37 (074871)

I'm just getting where I can run 1/4 mile at a time. That is all I can run not because of my feet but my legs. Shins and knees hurt. Just about everything from my knees to my ankles hurt and I must stop without even breaking a sweat or out of breath. This is probably from PF keeping my activity low. Any info on how to work out this issue would be appreciated. Today I hiked for an hour on hilly terrain without any foot pain at all wearing Doc Martens. In Louisiana you can find small hills at Tunica Hills north of Baton Rouge. Keep in mind everybody that even flat shoes with a lot of cushion and a wedge sole can squish up into the arch and put pressure on it. I bought a 100.00 pair of SAS shoes, modified the insert to reduce the arch but the wedge sole let it still put pressure on my arch and they hurt. Topsiders are harder and have a heel. Doc Martens too but not their sandal. This puts less pressure on my arch and I can wear them for long periods on concrete very good results. I am really glad to see some of you that have tried my method haveing good results. Please keep righting about this method and your results in this forum. I was hurting so bad last year that I would have given anything to solve this problem. And the way I healed myself was so simple and cheap.

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Aimee T. on 3/22/02 at 16:12 (077241)

Hello Joe-
Thanks for posting this message again. I have been dealing with PF for 20 months now. I can understand what you are saying about the 'no shoes' idea. I have a difficult time wearing any shoes. I've tried many types, many orthotics, and I still don't know what I should be wearing. I also do better when barefoot but not for long periods of time. My present doctor says some people just can't tolerate orthotics. All other professionals I have seen try to get me into them.

I just finished PT about 1 month ago. I've had one setback since and I am having difficulty getting rid of the inflammation. My days are very slow and I cannot to many things! I am so tired of pacing myself. This is very hard to do with 2 small children.

Anyways, I do feel better with no shoes but this is impossible to do all the time. I need some support to stablize my foot. Any suggestions on types of shoes to buy?

Thanks again for your info.,

Aimee T.

Re: No PF for 8 months!! Feet feel great

Aimee-T on 4/08/02 at 07:16 (078796)

Thanks Joe for getting back to me - I am so glad you are doing well.
My feet seem to be back in place with the pf, but I cannot get my strength back in my feet and I keep having setbacks.

I may be out of work for awhile now to try to really take some time to heal. I am supposed to be starting 'prolotherapy' on Wednesday. My new sports doctor believes the ligaments are overstretched and cannot get back to normal. The prolotherapy is supposed to strenthen and promote healing in the ligaments and joints.

At this time no shoes or socks are comfortable for me. I can't do this for long because then my foot gets over stretched and I'm back to square one. I am presently using a very simple slip on shoe that has some cushion but really no arch support. I would like to try some new balance sneakers when I am able to get out again to go to a store.

Well, I could go on and on and on about my sad story. It must be nice to be able to do things again. How long did you suffer from pf before you found your solution?

Thanks again!

Aimee T.