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resuming running

Posted by BryanS on 9/18/02 at 14:33 (095629)

Hi all,

Background: I came down with a minor version PF in my left foot probably about 3 months ago after returning to running because I am overweight. I also was running in cross trainers, which I knew was a no no and also had tight calves. I started noticing some pain in my heel after working my way up to about 1 1/2 miles. Only twice have I been in agony, both after running 2 miles. I backed off, got bettter and started up again with some discomfort, but nothing too bad. I am a fast healer, so I experienced some frustration about this not going away. About a month ago, I was diagnosed by my regular doctor on an unrelated visit. He recommended some weight bearing stretches (now I know better), rest, anti-inflamatories, and over the counter inserts. The problems got better but did not go away. I really had no trouble walking, but experienced discomfort on a regular basis. I also suffer form ankylosing spondilitis, a form of arthritis, so I am used to pain. A few weeks ago, I found this site and made a few more changes, like wearing shoes all the time and taping. Now I am feeling practically pain free, and am wondering when I can start running again.

Question: When, if ever, did you start running again, and what precautions did you take. I now have NB running shoes, have a heel insert and will use tape. If I experience minor discomfort should I stop, or is it just part of getting better?

Thanks

Re: resuming running

Julie on 9/18/02 at 15:03 (095631)

Hello Bryan

I am glad this site has been a help to you.

You'll get several responses, I'm sure, and they may say different things. Here are my thoughts.

If you were to begin running again, and felt pain, it would mean that your fascia was being re-injured. It would be best to forego running until you really are in the clear, and then to re-introduce it gradually, backing off whenever it hurts.

With PF, pain means re-injury. Don't run through it, however well your experience with ankylosing spondilitis has enabled you to tolerate it.

You say your doctor diagnosed you, but you don't say whether you've seen a podiatrist and been evaluated for possible biomechanical faults. You should. If they are the cause of your PF, running has surely been exacerbating them, and if you return to running without addressing them, PF may and almost certainly will return.

Identifying the cause of PF is the pre-requisite to treating it. You need to do this with the help of a skilled podiatrist so, that it can be dealt with.

All good wishes for your healing.

Re: I'm not a runner, but.......

Carole C in NOLA on 9/18/02 at 16:08 (095633)

Bryan, I'm not a runner, but I have two thoughts on this.

1. It takes a long time for feet to firmly heal from PF.

2. I've done pretty well in the healing process by trying to do less than I think I can do, rather than doing what I think I can do.

For example, in your case I'd wait until I was pain free and really felt strong enough to run. Then I'd wait a few more weeks, just because it doesn't do any harm to wait a little longer and it can help prevent a relapse. I noticed that if I tried things as soon as I felt sure that I was ready to try them, I'd re-injure my feet and this set me back and delayed the progress of my healing. Waiting helped me to heal faster. Patience is hard but so necessary with PF.

Like Julie, I have suffered from PF and in my case I have recovered virtually completely (whereas she has recovered completely). I hope this helps!

Carole C

Re: resuming running

Leon S. on 9/18/02 at 18:19 (095645)

Hi Bryan,
You seem to mirror my timetable and situation. I have been a runner for many years and also noticed the heel pain develop within the last 3 months. I don't have the other medical problems that you described but can relate to your questions and frustrations. When I first realized what the problem was I came onto this web site and was told in no uncertain terms to stay off my feet as much as possible because, although I had to curtail my running, I continued my 2 1/2 mile walk to and from work everyday inspite of the pain, because I hated to give up the exercise. I was correctly told, that if it hurts, thats a NO NO! What I've done, to make up for the lack of running, is get an exercise bike which gives me the workout that I want. Go through the different messages and see what works for you. I was told many times by many people, don't rush yourself back.

Re: resuming running

Ellen J. on 9/18/02 at 18:23 (095646)

Everyone has really great advice on this subject and from what I've discovered, they are totally correct. I was running when I got P.F. and made the mistake of trying to run each time I began to feel better. That's what got me into a real mess because even though you are pain-free, your feet still have some healing to do before they are strong enough to withstand the pounding of running. What you can do once you are pain-free is to begin walking short distances and see how your feet react after a short walk. ( I would avoid hills for now). Then you can lengthen the walks and see how your feet react to longer and longer walks. Then maybe increase the speed of your walking and check the reaction of your feet after that. At some point maybe you can resume running if your feet allow it. Not everyone can, but I know some people that returned to running.
Keep in mind that your feet may get sore one, two or three days after you've engaged in the activity, so you will want to take that into account.
I hope you keep us posted, as we will be interested to hear your progress.
Ellen J.

Re: resuming running.. Thanks

BryanS on 9/19/02 at 08:48 (095704)

I tried running about a 1/2 mile last night, then walked about 1 1/2 miles. With taped foot, running felt fine. It did not seem sore this morning. My normal routine is to run M-W-F and rest on weekends. I'll probably skip tomorrow to get a good idea how it feels. Monday I will resume walking about 2miles and keep that up for about a week, then re-evaluate.

Re: resuming running

Carrie on 9/19/02 at 09:31 (095713)

Bryan

I was pain free for 5 months and decided that I could run again, and maybe even wear those cool wooden platform shoes that are in style now. Well I ended up with a worse case of PF than I ever had to begin with. My suggestion is to use caution. I can totally relate to your need to work out, I am the same way. Have you thought about taking up biking instead? It is allot easier on your total body than running. For me at least running has never worked out, if it was not my feet it was something else. As much as I loved it I have vowed never ever to run again, that is if I am ever well enough to, unless being chased, ha ha. Seriously though if it hurts don't do it. Remember to stretch too, it helps.

take care and good luck
Carrie

Re: resuming running

R C on 9/19/02 at 12:32 (095725)

Bryan,

I used to be a runner until I got PF. I started running cross country in high school, and continued running for exercise almost daily until my late 30s. After a 2 year struggle with PF, I have decided that it is simply not worth risking re-injury by trying to return to my running program. Instead, I have been swimming 4 or 5 days a week. I was a really lousy swimmer, but I have worked on my technique and conditioning; now I actually rather enjoy it. Another related benefit is that I've lost all of the weight I put on while I was injured (ack! 18 pounds!). On days that the pool is closed or I am pressed for time, I use a recumbent bike, which is much easier on the foot than running or even walking.

This is just my personal experience, and as others have noted, every individual will have to find the approach that works for him/her.

I hope this gives you a feel for your options.

R C

Re: Re:Same thing happened to me as to Carrie

Ellen J. on 9/19/02 at 19:15 (095771)

Hi Bryan and others,
The same thing happened to me as happened to Carrie. I was pain-fee and figured I could begin walking on a treadmill as a bridge to someday begin running again. My foot was a little sore afterward, but I walked on the treadmill again the next day. Within a few days I could hardly walk and my foot was far worse than when I first got P.F. 2 years ago. I was so depressed! It was especially difficult because I had been so careful all winter and had gotten to the point of being pain free while walking around. My troubles came from using new running shoes combined with not being careful enough while testing out the new treadmill/walking idea. I should have stopped when my feet got sore after the first walk.
Finally I'm pain-free again (6 months after that) but I'm much more conservative about my recovery plan now. You might be able to recover much more quickly than I am (and I hope so) but I thought I would write this with hopes of saving others from the physical and emotional pain of having such a recurrence.
Again, let us know your progress and I hope it goes smoothly!
Ellen J.

Re: resuming running

Julie on 9/18/02 at 15:03 (095631)

Hello Bryan

I am glad this site has been a help to you.

You'll get several responses, I'm sure, and they may say different things. Here are my thoughts.

If you were to begin running again, and felt pain, it would mean that your fascia was being re-injured. It would be best to forego running until you really are in the clear, and then to re-introduce it gradually, backing off whenever it hurts.

With PF, pain means re-injury. Don't run through it, however well your experience with ankylosing spondilitis has enabled you to tolerate it.

You say your doctor diagnosed you, but you don't say whether you've seen a podiatrist and been evaluated for possible biomechanical faults. You should. If they are the cause of your PF, running has surely been exacerbating them, and if you return to running without addressing them, PF may and almost certainly will return.

Identifying the cause of PF is the pre-requisite to treating it. You need to do this with the help of a skilled podiatrist so, that it can be dealt with.

All good wishes for your healing.

Re: I'm not a runner, but.......

Carole C in NOLA on 9/18/02 at 16:08 (095633)

Bryan, I'm not a runner, but I have two thoughts on this.

1. It takes a long time for feet to firmly heal from PF.

2. I've done pretty well in the healing process by trying to do less than I think I can do, rather than doing what I think I can do.

For example, in your case I'd wait until I was pain free and really felt strong enough to run. Then I'd wait a few more weeks, just because it doesn't do any harm to wait a little longer and it can help prevent a relapse. I noticed that if I tried things as soon as I felt sure that I was ready to try them, I'd re-injure my feet and this set me back and delayed the progress of my healing. Waiting helped me to heal faster. Patience is hard but so necessary with PF.

Like Julie, I have suffered from PF and in my case I have recovered virtually completely (whereas she has recovered completely). I hope this helps!

Carole C

Re: resuming running

Leon S. on 9/18/02 at 18:19 (095645)

Hi Bryan,
You seem to mirror my timetable and situation. I have been a runner for many years and also noticed the heel pain develop within the last 3 months. I don't have the other medical problems that you described but can relate to your questions and frustrations. When I first realized what the problem was I came onto this web site and was told in no uncertain terms to stay off my feet as much as possible because, although I had to curtail my running, I continued my 2 1/2 mile walk to and from work everyday inspite of the pain, because I hated to give up the exercise. I was correctly told, that if it hurts, thats a NO NO! What I've done, to make up for the lack of running, is get an exercise bike which gives me the workout that I want. Go through the different messages and see what works for you. I was told many times by many people, don't rush yourself back.

Re: resuming running

Ellen J. on 9/18/02 at 18:23 (095646)

Everyone has really great advice on this subject and from what I've discovered, they are totally correct. I was running when I got P.F. and made the mistake of trying to run each time I began to feel better. That's what got me into a real mess because even though you are pain-free, your feet still have some healing to do before they are strong enough to withstand the pounding of running. What you can do once you are pain-free is to begin walking short distances and see how your feet react after a short walk. ( I would avoid hills for now). Then you can lengthen the walks and see how your feet react to longer and longer walks. Then maybe increase the speed of your walking and check the reaction of your feet after that. At some point maybe you can resume running if your feet allow it. Not everyone can, but I know some people that returned to running.
Keep in mind that your feet may get sore one, two or three days after you've engaged in the activity, so you will want to take that into account.
I hope you keep us posted, as we will be interested to hear your progress.
Ellen J.

Re: resuming running.. Thanks

BryanS on 9/19/02 at 08:48 (095704)

I tried running about a 1/2 mile last night, then walked about 1 1/2 miles. With taped foot, running felt fine. It did not seem sore this morning. My normal routine is to run M-W-F and rest on weekends. I'll probably skip tomorrow to get a good idea how it feels. Monday I will resume walking about 2miles and keep that up for about a week, then re-evaluate.

Re: resuming running

Carrie on 9/19/02 at 09:31 (095713)

Bryan

I was pain free for 5 months and decided that I could run again, and maybe even wear those cool wooden platform shoes that are in style now. Well I ended up with a worse case of PF than I ever had to begin with. My suggestion is to use caution. I can totally relate to your need to work out, I am the same way. Have you thought about taking up biking instead? It is allot easier on your total body than running. For me at least running has never worked out, if it was not my feet it was something else. As much as I loved it I have vowed never ever to run again, that is if I am ever well enough to, unless being chased, ha ha. Seriously though if it hurts don't do it. Remember to stretch too, it helps.

take care and good luck
Carrie

Re: resuming running

R C on 9/19/02 at 12:32 (095725)

Bryan,

I used to be a runner until I got PF. I started running cross country in high school, and continued running for exercise almost daily until my late 30s. After a 2 year struggle with PF, I have decided that it is simply not worth risking re-injury by trying to return to my running program. Instead, I have been swimming 4 or 5 days a week. I was a really lousy swimmer, but I have worked on my technique and conditioning; now I actually rather enjoy it. Another related benefit is that I've lost all of the weight I put on while I was injured (ack! 18 pounds!). On days that the pool is closed or I am pressed for time, I use a recumbent bike, which is much easier on the foot than running or even walking.

This is just my personal experience, and as others have noted, every individual will have to find the approach that works for him/her.

I hope this gives you a feel for your options.

R C

Re: Re:Same thing happened to me as to Carrie

Ellen J. on 9/19/02 at 19:15 (095771)

Hi Bryan and others,
The same thing happened to me as happened to Carrie. I was pain-fee and figured I could begin walking on a treadmill as a bridge to someday begin running again. My foot was a little sore afterward, but I walked on the treadmill again the next day. Within a few days I could hardly walk and my foot was far worse than when I first got P.F. 2 years ago. I was so depressed! It was especially difficult because I had been so careful all winter and had gotten to the point of being pain free while walking around. My troubles came from using new running shoes combined with not being careful enough while testing out the new treadmill/walking idea. I should have stopped when my feet got sore after the first walk.
Finally I'm pain-free again (6 months after that) but I'm much more conservative about my recovery plan now. You might be able to recover much more quickly than I am (and I hope so) but I thought I would write this with hopes of saving others from the physical and emotional pain of having such a recurrence.
Again, let us know your progress and I hope it goes smoothly!
Ellen J.