Zero pain now for 2 weeks (Knock on cork:)
Posted by Milo_V on 5/04/01 at 22:30
Hi all.

Thanks to the great advice, comments, and contributions on this site I've managed to get over this PF ailment, well zero pain for now. Now to give something back ...

I had pain in my 6 (front heel) and 8 (front inside heel) of my right foot for about 8 months. Last summer I started a heavy duty walking routine - 6 miles a day 5 days a week. By about August I started having that little early morning pain. Which I totally ignored. It went away after the first 10 minutes of walking, how bad could it be. About mid-September, kablooy, the pain became a 24 hour thing. I had to stop walking and worked on healing myself.

A good PT friend of ours treated many cases like this. She gave me the low down on the physics of this pain and she got me started on ice, stretching, aspirin, massage and things. The pain would get better if I could rest it. Still somewhat acute, but better. However, I would over do it one weekend and boink, back to square one. Then about November/December I found this site by accident (or was it fate). I'm a die hard do-it-yourselfer so I was seeking help over the internet. I found all kinds of information, however, this site and its community was totally fantastic for the likes of me. For example I had heard of taping, but I couldn't figure it out until I read Scott's PF Book and saw the video.

I saw an ortho, my brother-in-law. He's quite frank. He shoved his thumb up my number 6 and 8 areas, boy did I wince. He said yeah, you have PF, wear good supported shoes, stretch and rest. I said thanks. Even though he was quite terse, in hind sight his advice was sage. (There's more to it than that he has a great demeanor and he explained quite a few things. There isn't much to do with bad bones except mend and rest. I digress.) But, the big question is how to do this (support, stretch, and rest). This site was a big help.

The big thing is to figure out what helps and what doesn't. The what doesn'ts will set you back a few days. Here were some things that were negative to me
- Heel pads, for some reason this seemed to feel like it cut off circulation and excerbated the pain.
- Ankle and arch elastic bandages. Again, they were too tight. It took me a month or so to feel they weren't working. When I stopped things got better.
- Icing incorrectly. At first I just plopped my foot on an ice bag for 15 minutes. I damaged the skin, almost like frost bite.
- Going barefoot at home.

Things I think that helped:

- Taping. This really helped to rest the foot muscles. Note that I first tried the 2 tape method in Scott's book. This was OK, but after half a day it didn't seem to help me. I modified it to use 4 strips, basically a second overlap for each part of the cross. Then I added a fifth one at the ball of my foot as anchor. I needed the fifth one there because the tape would hurt that part of my foot after standing all day. I used Johnson&Johnson coach support tape from Walgreens. I did this everyday religously for the last 8 weeks before zero day.

- Icing, spot icing with a little bit of massage for 5 minutes once or twice a day. Or when it seemed to flair up.

- Stretching. All kinds of calf, ankle, and thigh stretching. I ended doing a bizarre scissor kind of stretch, that would stretch my calf and the thigh of the other leg. I wasn't very patient in doing each individual muscle groups. I'm a fast food kind of guy. My PF friend, was great in showing me all those muscles that needed to stretch. I then improvised to suit my schedule and personality.

- Wearing shoes all the time. Even at night for those nightly visits. About 2 weeks before zero pain day (4 weeks ago), my PF was almost negligible. Then during a nocturnal nature a call, I was standing on the tile and zing. I was back to a factor 10 pain - yikes.

- Birks. My right foot is flat and really overpronates. After that zing during my nature call, I said its time to get some support and wear shoes all the time. I searched this site and saw lots of good things about Birkenstock sandals. So I found a local birk store. The sales person also had suffered from PF so it was the best shoe fitting I ever had. She showed me a new padded version of the classic Arizona style since my foot was still tender. Its funny, I liked the plain cork sole a lot better. So I bought a pair of cork soles without pads. This was about 4 weeks ago.

- No Soda. I had read on this site (john_h i think) about the benefits of calcium. He mentioned how this could leach the calcium out of bone. I then cross referenced this with a nutrional healing book that I came across. For heel spurs, it had all kinds of eating/drinking dos and don'ts. I was downing 1 to 2 cans of diet soda a day. So I stopped cold turkey. This was about the same time I got my birks 4 weeks ago. By the way I didn't increase my calcium, I think I was getting enough from daily food intake and my one-a-day vitamin.

- MSM. I took these for about 4 weeks. Also did the cream with MSM and Glucosamine. I'm not sure what effect it had. But I did like to gently massage my heel with the cream.

- Thick inserts in my New Balance walking shoes. The day I had to quit walking I had just bought a pair of New Balance (754 I think). I then experimented with all kinds of inserts. This is where I learned that some combinations caused more harm then good. I got a thick sports insole from Sports Authority with good arch support. They are really comfortable now. New balance are good for stability. I'll need to get a new pair soon as they are getting thread bare :(

- Massaging. Before an icing I'd rub along the muscle deeply. Also rolled the golf ball around, kept it at my desk at work.

- Foot exercise. My PF friend subscribed all kind of exercises, marble picking up and towel grabbing. I came across a site (can't remember now where) that got into non-bearing excercises for the feet. Basically hang them over the edge of a seat and lift them up and down - toe up, toe down. 30 reps 3 sets. I started to add weight to them - those ankle weights. I do 3 sets now with zero, 1 pound and 2 pound weights. Then I rotate left and right 30 times with the 2 pounder. If your thinking about this start out slow no weights, if your like me you never used those muscles before.

- Birks. Birks are another form of exercise. The first few days I wore them my muscles in my foot and legs were sore. I was learning a new way to walk. The other thing is that I wear them all the time at home now. They are my nocturnal companions. Another neat thing is the high arch (which I've always hated in shoes) is a good thing. It forces me to notice my pronation and I can flex my feet to get them in the 'right' shape.

- Family. My family was quite understanding and just let me rest. They were quite alarmed at first that I needed to do this. I guess its part of getting old.

Well I didn't mean to bore you all with this tome. I have one more anecdote. The day I felt zero pain. Well it started the day before the zero day. I was down to about a 1 or 2 pain factor having finally recovered from my nocturnal visit. So I taped up my foot and went for a 10 minute walk with my wife. When I came home I felt a small flair up, about the size of a pea, in my number 8 area. Methodically, I did the 5 minute ice massage, took 3 ibuprofins, lightly stretched and went to bed. The next day it was gone. The PF that is. I stopped wearing tape, threw on my New Balances and went to work. I've been doing things in moderation, but I have survived a mall shopping trip for clothes with my teenage daughters. (Why does that take all day!). I had sore feet, but in a nice way. I guess some of those 'mall' muscles had atrophied.

I have a new respect for my feet and doing things in moderation. From now on at the first sign of pain. Rest, ice and aspirin. I don't ever want a chronic condition like this again.

That's it for now.

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