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Looking for Advice

Posted by SteveSz on 10/15/02 at 09:50 (097528)

Hi. Late last August, I got PF. I didn't realize what was wrong until I looked up the symptoms on the web. Unfortunately, I was within a few weeks of running my first 1/2 marathon, so I continued running longer distances. Eventually, my achilles tendon also began to get sore, yet I continued training and then successfully finished the marathon on October 6th. I haven't run since, trying to give my PF a break. Its been 9 days now and the achilles pain is gone, and the normal heel pain is better but not gone. It still hurts for the first 5-6 steps in the morning, but seems to be improving every day. My questions are as follows:

1. When can I start running again? Do I have to be completely pain free first?

2. 2 days before my first symptoms arrived in late August, I spent an aggressive 60 minutes on an elliptical trainer for the first time. I noticed that the foot plates do not pivot on these trainers. I assume that my lack of flexibility, combined with the inflexibility of the machine (my heel does not lift), caused my PF. Could this be true?

3. Assuming the elliptical trainer may have caused my PF, can I assume that my PF is a temporary injury rather than a chronic condition?

4. There is only some tenderness left in the front area of my inside heal, where it used to be VERY sore. Am I healed when all soreness is gone? Is it OK to massage this area? It seems that when I massage it, the pain immediately recedes temporarily.

Thanks in advance, Steve

Re: Looking for Advice

Nancy N on 10/15/02 at 16:17 (097557)

Steve--

Welcome to the board! The first thing I'd suggest is that you see a doctor yet for a full diagnosis, if you haven't yet (I'm not sure after reading your post). The second thing I'd suggest is that you read the heel pain book (just click the blue link), which has lots of excellent information about PF which will come in handy to you as you're dealing with the PF beast.

As for your questions (and I am not a doctor, so this is just from my own experience and what others on the board have experienced):

1. You only have to be completely pain-free before running again if you don't want the PF to come back :) Runners always hate to hear that, but PF is a repetitive stress injury, and it can't heal if you continue to aggravate it. Best to stop running completely until you're completely pain-free and then return to it gradually so you can be sure you're not hurting yourself again.

2. 60 minutes sounds like a lot to me for the first time at anything. It's entirely possible that the elliptical trainer either caused the injury or exacerbated it (it may have started while you were running, but not been bad enough for you to notice it until you tried the elliptical).

3. For most people, PF is a very temporary condition. People who heal in a few weeks (which would be most people) are not the people you'll find on this board--rather, we're the exceptions to the rule who take a longer time to heal. In my case, it took about two years, and trying every treatment in the book, before I finally started to heal. But the duration of the problem is in part dependent on whether or not you ignore the symptoms when you first have them. Running a marathon with PF is not something I would recommend, so you may have taken the problem and made it worse, and it may take longer to heal. If I were you, I would be very very careful about what I do now, in order to keep from making things worse and to help encourage the healing process.

4. Massaging the PF area can be very good for it--it should encourage blood flow to the damaged tissue. Obviously, you can overdo it, but you seem to be doing well with it so far, so I wouldn't worry about it unless it starts to feel worse after massage. You might also want to try stretching and taping, which are described in the heel pain book.

I hope that helps--I'm sure others will have ideas for you, too. Keep us posted on your progress!

Nancy

Re: Looking for Advice

Steve P on 10/16/02 at 18:55 (097670)

Steve...

I agree with Nancy's comments above. Please give PF the utmost respect and, if anything, err on the side of caution.

You will most likely get over this 100%, but you may not necessarily be able to run as much as you'd like in the future. Time will tell.

But please be VERY careful & go slowly.

I've been in pain every day for the past 2 1/2 years. Although I am still slowly improving, I know I'll never be able to run again. At this point, I just hope & pray for the day that I can once again walk pain-free.

So take it from another Steve: respect this.

Best......SteveP

Re: Looking for Advice

Nancy N on 10/15/02 at 16:17 (097557)

Steve--

Welcome to the board! The first thing I'd suggest is that you see a doctor yet for a full diagnosis, if you haven't yet (I'm not sure after reading your post). The second thing I'd suggest is that you read the heel pain book (just click the blue link), which has lots of excellent information about PF which will come in handy to you as you're dealing with the PF beast.

As for your questions (and I am not a doctor, so this is just from my own experience and what others on the board have experienced):

1. You only have to be completely pain-free before running again if you don't want the PF to come back :) Runners always hate to hear that, but PF is a repetitive stress injury, and it can't heal if you continue to aggravate it. Best to stop running completely until you're completely pain-free and then return to it gradually so you can be sure you're not hurting yourself again.

2. 60 minutes sounds like a lot to me for the first time at anything. It's entirely possible that the elliptical trainer either caused the injury or exacerbated it (it may have started while you were running, but not been bad enough for you to notice it until you tried the elliptical).

3. For most people, PF is a very temporary condition. People who heal in a few weeks (which would be most people) are not the people you'll find on this board--rather, we're the exceptions to the rule who take a longer time to heal. In my case, it took about two years, and trying every treatment in the book, before I finally started to heal. But the duration of the problem is in part dependent on whether or not you ignore the symptoms when you first have them. Running a marathon with PF is not something I would recommend, so you may have taken the problem and made it worse, and it may take longer to heal. If I were you, I would be very very careful about what I do now, in order to keep from making things worse and to help encourage the healing process.

4. Massaging the PF area can be very good for it--it should encourage blood flow to the damaged tissue. Obviously, you can overdo it, but you seem to be doing well with it so far, so I wouldn't worry about it unless it starts to feel worse after massage. You might also want to try stretching and taping, which are described in the heel pain book.

I hope that helps--I'm sure others will have ideas for you, too. Keep us posted on your progress!

Nancy

Re: Looking for Advice

Steve P on 10/16/02 at 18:55 (097670)

Steve...

I agree with Nancy's comments above. Please give PF the utmost respect and, if anything, err on the side of caution.

You will most likely get over this 100%, but you may not necessarily be able to run as much as you'd like in the future. Time will tell.

But please be VERY careful & go slowly.

I've been in pain every day for the past 2 1/2 years. Although I am still slowly improving, I know I'll never be able to run again. At this point, I just hope & pray for the day that I can once again walk pain-free.

So take it from another Steve: respect this.

Best......SteveP