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PF from marathon training - and I can't seem to shake it

Posted by Mark S on 1/19/04 at 09:28 (142362)

I got mine last October. The onset was fairly sudden (started getting pain but ran another 14 miles).

I didn't have morning pain so I first thought ot was a bone bruise or something. Tried running a few times after but had residual pain after. A month and a half later I did a 4 mile race and practially limped home.

Finally broke down and saw an MD who perscribed Naproxin pills and said I can try running again in 2 weeks. Took the pills, waited 4 weeks, and tried short distances but still sense tightness and some residual pain.

What I have is pretty mild compared to some of the stuff I've read on this board but now it's been over 3 months and I'm dying to get out there again.

I'm 40 and know that doesn't help. Is it normal for mild cases to last this long? I can continue to pop Alleves - but I'm not crazy about that either. Maybe a new doc?

Re: PF from marathon training - and I can't seem to shake it

BrianJ on 1/19/04 at 10:00 (142365)

Hi Mark --

Best advice would be to go to a good podiatrist and see if a biomechanical issue is causing/contributing to your PF. If so, orthotics may help. In the meantime, I suggest avoiding running, hard as that may be. Consider cycling, swimming, or other activities that don't make your feet hurt. 'Running through the pain' may cause your PF to become chronic. Read the Heel Pain Book for more detailed information.

Re: PF from marathon training - and I can't seem to shake it

Pauline on 1/19/04 at 17:08 (142388)

Bian gave you great advice. Your looking for that magic bullet to make your pain go away FAST, and if you have Plantar Fasciitis we will all tell you there isn't one.

This is one condition that makes people very frustrated because it doesn't show any outward signs on the foot, yet it tends to hang on for long periods of time bring many active lives to a complete halt.

As an athlete you might have a better chance to get rid of it faster than most, but right now your best bet is to read Scott's book, put your running on hold and begin and stick with Julie's exercises.

Through patience, time, and sticking to those exercises along with other conservative suggestions from Scott's book will eventually see light at the end of the tunnel.

Healing time varies for each individual. Remember ESWT is now also available to try and you could have better results since you have only a light case of P.F. Usually the waiting period to have this treatment is 6 months of conservative treatment. I don't know if that magic number can be adjusted by doctors or not. That's between your doctor and you.

Re: PF from marathon training - and I can't seem to shake it

Julie on 1/20/04 at 02:59 (142421)

Mark, Brian and Pauline are right. You need to be patient, and you need to inform yourself about this unco-operative ailment. PF, even mild PF, doesn't just 'get better'. It's an injury, a repetitive motion injury. The plantar fascia is the main supporting structure of the foot, and plantar fasciitis is an inflammation resulting from microtears of the fascia at the point where it inserts with the calcaneus. It can and will heal with conservative treatments, about which you should educate yourself by reading the heel pain book (click on the blue link here) - and with rest.

As for marathon training - well, as you've said yourself, it's running that caused the injury, and more running now will cause further injury. So please don't be impatient. If you don't give yourself a chance to heal, PF may become chronic and plague you for the rest of your life.

You should see a podiatrist immediately. General medicine practitioners are trained to know a little bit about a lot of things, and you need someone who knows about feet. Search until you find a good foot doctor who will evaluate your biomechanics and identify the cause of your PF so that it can be addressed with a comprehensive programme of treatment. For instance, you may be an over-pronator, in which case custom orthotics may be prescribed, plus shoes that correct excessive pronation.

Whatever you may get told about stretching for PF, the truth, for most sufferers, is that weight-bearing exercise is contra-indicated. The classic runner's stretch, the one done against a wall, is a perfectly good exercise for healthy tissues, but it can further damage injured tissues. I mention this because most practitioners, yes, even podiatrists, still recommend it. Pauline mentioned Julie's exercises. You'll find them by clicking on the word yoga here. They're simple yoga foot exercises and have helped a number of people here. I teach yoga, and found them very helpful myself when I had PF, as did several of my PF-suffering students.

Like you, I had a relatively mild case, which with the help of a good podiatrist and this website I got over within six months. I was helped by rest (I gave up all recreational walking, including hill-walking in Crete, which for me was as important as running is for you), by custom orthotics, and by taping - which you can research in the heel pain book. I've been over PF for the past three years and have been able to do all I want to do - I hope that will be your story too. Good luck.

Re: PF from marathon training - and I can't seem to shake it

Mark S on 1/21/04 at 21:57 (142601)

Thanks Julie and everyone else. A coworker who shares my problem also says thanks.

I'm starting to think that I got better advice for free and from the comfort of my own chair than I got making an appt. with a guy who went to med school.

Ok, this will be tough (not running for the duration) but the prospect of a chronic, for-life-problem is something I'll file under 'completely and utterly sucks'.

The good news is that the twinges I felt after my last run subsided faster than the last few times. I can still feel something when I do the finger-press so I know it's not over yet. But maybe there's progress.

Best regards.

Re: PF from marathon training - and I can't seem to shake it

Julie on 1/22/04 at 02:36 (142608)

Mark, it's nice that you appreciated our posts, and I'm very glad you've bitten the bullet and will stop training. But you should NOT rely entirely on advice you get on on an internet forum. You should find a good podiatrist who can do a hands-on examination, evaluate your biomechanics, and arrive at an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your PF so that it can be addressed.

I don't think that any of the basic information you were given, by me or Brian or Pauline, was wrong, but I would be very unhappy if on the basis of what was said you decided that was all you needed to know. Please search for a foot doctor and work with him/her until you have healed.

Re: PF from marathon training - and I can't seem to shake it

john h on 1/22/04 at 08:48 (142620)

Mark take it from a guy who has walked in your running shoes. I had been a runner for 30 years. I ran around 30 miles a week on and off road. One summer my foot began to burn on the bottom. It would quit after my run. It slowly got worse and I continued to run.After 3 months I could no longer run and walking began to hurt and I finally went to a foot spoecialist. . I followed her advice for a month and got a little better and started up my activiities again. A month later I was back in pain and now I am 9 years into bi-laterial PF having tried nearly every available approach. Treat it early and by all mean do not go back to running until you have had ever how many months it takes to 'totally' cure your PF. This problem does not go away in a hurry..

Re: PF from marathon training - and I can't seem to shake it

Mark S on 1/22/04 at 13:29 (142644)

Not to worry. Remember, you *recommended* finding a foot doc. I'll be following that recommendation. So don't sell yourself short. ;)

The main thing I've come away from what everyone's said with is having the bejeezis scared out of me. Getting better is VERY important to me. I plan to do it the right way. Starting now.

Now I need to find a good MD in the NYC area. If anyone knows one, I invite recommendations - here or via email. My email address is 'broclobster 'at' yahoo.com'. (just insert the '@' - I write it this way on BBS's to foil spammers).