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Running and PF

Posted by Bill L on 10/05/03 at 19:34 (132346)

I am a compulsive ultra-runner and have been dealing with PF for about 1 year. What really confounds me about PF is how it seems to come and go. For instance I have done very long mountain training runs (25-40 miles) and have been in pain from the get go and then run a 50 mile trail race with no pain whatsoever. Why does it hurt while training but not during the race? I have had this happen several times this past year.

My treatment strategy is a comnbination of stretching, massage and orthotics which togheter have allowed me continue to run. While I do feel it is getting better there are days when I want to throw in the towel.

Bill L

Re: Running and PF

Ed Davis, DPM on 10/05/03 at 19:50 (132348)

The symptoms of PF tend to be more notable the day after a particular activity. Other factors such as shoegear can be an issue. Very few if any of the trail running shoes are motion control shoes which is what many, but not all, PF sufferers benefit from. Also, many PF sufferers (again, not all) have tight heel cords so doing hills can really aggravate things for that group.

You may want to consider keeping a log of the shoes and activities you are engaging in with attention to how things feel the next day -- correlations may start to appear and things will seem less random, making more sense. A good podiatrist may also be able to assist with those correlations and come up with a treatment plan.

Re: Running and PF

Dorothy on 10/06/03 at 00:58 (132379)

It is a mystery and can be a frustrating aspect of it. For one thing, it leaves one feeling uncertain all the time because you never know...
Still, that 'come and go' may be part of a healing process that we can't otherwise discern. And, if nothing else, at least there are times when it 'goes' and leaves you feeling better than the other times. Good wishes for your continued improvement ~

Re: Running and PF

john h on 10/06/03 at 09:09 (132419)

After watching the post here for year after year it is evident that PF routinely comes and goes for most people. It may always be there but there is a definite patten of ups and downs and for many there is apparently no reason they can put their hands on for this pattern. Yes it is easy to know when you walk to much,run to much,on your feet to much but so many report they simple do not know why they are worse on a specific day..

Re: Running and PF

Bill L on 10/06/03 at 20:10 (132508)


Thanks for the advise. I will pay more attention to how it goes both during the run and the day after to develop a feel for what is going on. Thanks for your help.


Re: my guess about training vs racing and pain

Ellen J. on 10/09/03 at 16:49 (133205)

Hi Bill,
I'll take my guess as to why the feet don't hurt so much during a race (if that is the case). I'm wondering if the adrenaline rush during a race is preventing pain from occuring. If that is the case, then like the doctor said, you would probably have pain the day after the race instead of during the race. That's my guess for the day!
Ellen J.

Re: my guess about training vs racing and pain

Bill L on 10/09/03 at 18:27 (133272)

Hi Ellen,

That was my first thought, but in the case of ultras they last a very long time and I don't think that the adrenaline rush during a race would be a significant factor. For instance at the Bull Run Run 50 miler this spring I was on my feet for 10 hrs. 30 min and at Badwater this July a 135 miler in Death Valley on the roads I was on my feet for about 53 hrs. In both races I had no problems with my PF. The next day my feet were sore, but no more than expected and I could get around ok. Contrast that to 3 weeks ago on a 20 mile training run I was reduced to a painful shuffle after about 13 miles and it took most of the next day before I could walk with some degree of comfort. My question remains why can I run an event such as Badwater and still have major problems on a relatively short training run? PF is one perplexing malady.

Have a graet day.

Bill L

Re: my guess about training vs racing and pain

John H on 10/09/03 at 18:29 (133274)

Bill: I have found when I do something like hike up a mountain it may be several days before I feel the effect. If I go to the club and lift weights,bike, and walk my feet feel great walking out after the workout but perhaps a couple of days later it appears the effect will show up if it is going to.

Re: my guess about training vs racing and pain

Bill L on 10/09/03 at 18:51 (133287)


That didn't happen in either case. After Bull Run I continued to train for Badwater and after Badwater my wife and I spent the next week touring Californina and Las Vegas, which included lots of walking, and several hikes in the mountains. I knew my PF was there but it didn't signinfcantly restrict my activity.


Re: One more guess--just for kicks?

Ellen J. on 10/09/03 at 20:39 (133306)

Well, the only thing I can come up with at this point is that possibly your calf/achilles area might be tighter on some days than others, even if you stretch every day. The tightness may not be detectable by you, but just enough to cause a problem during a workout. On the tight days, maybe the fascia is more prone to reinjury? My biggest problem is that if I do anything that stretches the fascia more than usual I get pain from that. I find P.F. as mysterious and frustrating as you do and someone is going to make big bucks if they ever figure out a universal cure! I know I would pay just about anything so I could run again.
Ellen J.