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Running with PF

Posted by Sue S on 8/13/03 at 00:39 (126816)

I have had PF for about 2.5 months now and have rested, iced, stretched, etc. without total relief. I got a cotisone shot today and the doctor said that getting back to my running routine would not make it any worse. Does this make sense to anyone? Common sense tells me this can't be true. I am a runner, usually 25 miles or so per week, haven't run since mid June and I am getting anxious to get back to my routine. Due to health insurance constraints I am trying to get this taken care of through an HMO and not feeling very satisified with advice I've gotten. Any runners out there that could give me advice on when to start back and how?

Re: Running with PF

Steve G on 8/13/03 at 09:21 (126826)

Don't do it. I am shocked that your doc would say this - is he a podiatrist? You need to be completely healed before you consider running again. Read the heel pain book on this site to ensure you are taking advantage of all the treatment options. You will have to consider biking or swimming until you get better.

Re: Running with PF

R C on 8/13/03 at 09:44 (126827)

Ditto the last post. Please resist the urge to run again, until (1) you've healed completely, and (2) you've adequately addressed the underlying cause of the PF. By item (2) I mean something like orthotics or possibly better running shoes. Otherwise, the PF will simply come back and get worse. You do not want this to become chronic and debilitating.

Re: Running with PF

lee on 8/13/03 at 10:58 (126833)

Hi Sue, I was also given this advice and received cortizone shots and continued to run for two years. This lead to a nasty rupture and what looks like chronic pain and foot problems that may never be completely resolved. I've since learned that you should resolve the underlying issues that caused the PF in the first place and be completely healed and painfree for at least six weeks before returning to running. I wish I'd done that...

Re: Running with PF

Molly H on 8/13/03 at 11:07 (126837)

I am a runner and I to was running 25 miles a week until November when I got bi-lateral PF! My first POD told me it was ok to run. So, I ran barely 10 minutes here and there. I was not happy with him, so I switched to a new pod in March because I heard he had ESWT and I was no better. He too told me I could run. Well, I continued and ended up with a tear in my left PF. He finally said don't run. I had shockwave on May 14. I am 13 weeks post. My right is better but my left still has insertional heel pain. I still have not run because I want to be cured and NEVER have to deal with this again.
Hope this helps~


Re: Running with PF

john h on 8/13/03 at 13:49 (126846)

Continuing to run after I developed PF in both feet led me to 8 years of chronic PF. You should find different Docs if they tell you to continue to run with PF. Rest those feet until you get PF under control or switch to swimming or perhaps a stationary bike. Lots of other stories to read on this board and lots of advice but I do not think running is going to be a recommeded activity for PF.

Re: Running with PF

Dr. Z on 8/13/03 at 19:25 (126878)

Stop running is common sense. Cross training with bike, swimming, elipical bike is ok. Running with pf is like using your arm that is broken. You must stop.

Re: Running with PF

Dermot on 8/13/03 at 20:23 (126887)

I was recently stricken with PF.
On the first visit to the Pod I asked if it was OK to run and was supprised when he also said yes - but to limit it to 20 mins initially and then add 5 min each time. Also take one day of rest in between.

I have nursed the injury for the last two weeks until there was almost no pain when I press on it and I went for my first run on Sunday. Slightly painful for the first few steps and then pretty good.

I was more surprised Wednesday when there was even less pain!

If the docters tell you it is OK to run then I assume they are correct - after all they are the experts.

The key to limited recovery for me has been ice and Birkenstocks in the house. I get the orthotics tomorrow.

I am only a recreational runner but I couldn't stand not running any longer.

Just take the proper precautions and make sure that you don't mask any pain with Advil.

I would give it a shot even thought there are contrary opinions here. Strength is possibly a key to recovery. Being sedate is a downward spiral.


Re: Running with PF

Sue S on 8/13/03 at 22:10 (126908)

Thanks for the advice, I am going nuts not being able to run. I have been swimming and using the exercise bike but it is BORING to me and I really miss running. (It's been 2.5 months. My foot is still really tender from the injection - just took my dog for a walk and am now icing my foot. So frustrating! Did you get custom orthotics and how much did that cost? The Pod I talked to yesterday said around $250.00 He said I have a skinny foot and a high arch and would have trouble finding a good running shoe that works for me...

Re: Running with PF

R C on 8/13/03 at 22:40 (126911)

Sue, Ifeel your pain. I was a runner, too. I struggled mightily with PF for about two years. There were times when I thought I would never be able to walk normally again. When my wife gave birth to our son, I was on crutches so I was unable to hold the baby in my arms and walk him around. I had already given up on being able to run again -- I just wanted some semblance of a normal life back. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a combination of treatments that worked for me, and now I appear to be 100% cured. Except-- I do not dare return to my running habit, for fear of having to relive two years or more of abject frustration. I now swim for exercise.

I believe you are facing a similar choice now. If you give in to the urge to run before your foot is ready, you may end up with PF for life. I urge you to make complete recovery your utmost priority, and to keep up the swimming (it probably helps in some way).

Swimming can be made interesting. Why not look into U.S. Masters Swimming, as they almost certainly have a chapter near you (www.usms.org)? I joined , made tons of great friends. A lot of them are also former runners who were wiped out by chronic injuries. That says a lot right there.

Re: Running with PF

Dermot on 8/13/03 at 22:49 (126912)

I feel the same - that is why I am getting out there!
To compound the frustration it has been an absolutely beautiful summer and I have spent most of it excercising on the stationary bike at the Y at noon.

I am picking up the orthotics tomorrow so I will let you know how that works out. The cost was $400.00 Cdn and that included the casting and one pair of orthotics.

I have a skinny foot as well and found a neutral Nike to be the best fit so far but I am going to try New Balance next.

Go to a good running store - in Calgary the best is Gord's Running Room.
He will take the shoe back for exchange after trying it as long as you don't run on grass or mud. He advised me to try my orthotics in my old shoes so that too many variables are changed at one time (basically postponing a $200.00 sale).

It's funny that when you bring up the issue in conversation almost half the people have reached into their shoe and pulled out an orthotic so we are in fine company and not alone.

Did you get Birkenstocks? They have been the best remedy to date.

Re: Running with PF

francesc on 8/14/03 at 16:22 (126948)

Hi Sue,

I got PF about 8 months ago and when I went to my sports medicine doctor, he told me to stretch and ice but that I could continue to exercise as long as I was not crippled by it. Well, his definition of 'crippled' and mine are very different!

So a couple weeks ago, I finally went to a podiatrist who immediately gave me a corisone shot and said, 'No running! No impact activities for 1 week and then just cycle, swim, and elliptical trainer until you get the orthotics.'

I wish I had gone to him earlier. I am now pain-free in the mornings when I get out of bed. I am still doing low-impact activities but, it is better than having to live with that kind of pain forever. And, I will get my orthotics in 2-3 weeks!

So if I were you, I wouldn't run with it. I would wait until you are pain free. A little bit of prevention now could save you a lot of pain later. I know it is very hard to wait and not run. But, if you continue you are really doing worse for your feet. And you don't want it to turn chronic where every step you take is painful. That is no way to live!

Try to see this as a time for you to change up your workout routine. I have found that Spinning classes are really good for a cardio workout and have given my butt a nice little lift! :-) And the thing to remember is that you CAN and WILL return to your running after you have healed and addressed the problem (poor running shoes, orthotics, etc).

Hope this helps,

Re: Running with PF

Dermot on 8/15/03 at 08:51 (127018)

I picked up my orthotics yesterday and asked for more clarification on the running issue.
It apears there are two camps - the more controversial one being the 'movement helps recovery' camp.
The Pod's analogy was the recent ACL reconstruction therapy (severe knee injury - my wife had it) in which they try to get you moving as soon as possible rather than the old therapy which was a cast for 6 months to isolate movement and aid recovery.
With PF, they have noticed that cortizone shots followed by a cast for a few weeks helped initially and the patient felt good but was back in three weeks in pain again.
Apparently it isn't the presence or lack of pain during running that is the indication of whether you are over doing it - but rather how you feel the next day.
He advised me to weight the foot (bounce or weight/unweight) and effectively judge for yourself whether you are improving or worsening. Pressing the PF spot to judge the pain was not correct which is how I was judging it before the visit.
I am going to continue to increase my mileage and pop in my new set of orthotics.
Please keep us up to date on your decision and progress.
Good luck!

Re: Running with PF

Molly H on 8/15/03 at 10:19 (127024)

Thanks for posting about what your POD says in regards to running!
I posted earlier about my expirence with running and PF. What did your POD say about touching the PF spot? That is not an indicator? If you could elaborate further, I would appreciate it.


Re: Running with PF

Dermot on 8/15/03 at 10:41 (127026)

I would elaborate but he didn't other than to say the best gauge is to move the foot on the ground. He was sitting and just bouncing his knee slightly from side to side to demonstrate.
I do know that when I saw him initially the pain was at a peak and now I would be hard pressed (so to speak) to find it now by pressing. Pressing my just irritate the area -esp. if there is a spur.
I would appreciate a link to your experience. Could you post it?
If you have any other questions just let me know.

Re: Running with PF

Molly H on 8/15/03 at 18:02 (127067)

a link to my experience in regards to??? Let me know exactly what you want to know and I'll post it!!


Re: Running with PF

Carolyn L on 8/16/03 at 18:56 (127148)

I recently heard about shoes that help with PF. They are called Z-CoiL's you find out about them at www-zcoil.com. Hope this helps.

Re: Running with PF

Sue S on 8/20/03 at 00:48 (127368)

Well one week after my injection and I still haven't started running again. My foot has been more tender than ever! I now have what looks like a bruise or a burn spot on the bottom of my foot towards the heel. I am so discouraged! I will call the POD again and see if I need to get back in. He didn't tell me what to expect from the injection. Maybe I started back into my activities too soon. I have been swimming and going to the gym. I use the bike for cardio and do some weights. Swimming is good but a bit of a pain when you're used to being able to run out the door and get your exercise. I am fortunate that I live here in SF Bay area where we have good weather that I can swim outdoors for a while yet. Hopefully I will be on the mend soon.
Thanks for your encouragement. I am curious how your othrotics worked out and what type of running shoe you're wearing now. I currently wear Asics and have worn them for a while..