For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Friday, 1 August 2008

Plantar Fasciitis

I've mentioned a couple of times (here and here) some pain I've been experiencing in the right foot. Actually it's plantar fasciitis, and I developed this condition after my long, 1000 mile Camino walk late last year. It's particularly bad on getting out of bed first thing in the morning - then it usually calms down, with just odd twinges of discomfort. Hard-core walking does tend to bring it on more severely, but the next day it usually settles down once again.

To be more exact, it's due to inflammation caused by excessive wear to the foot's plantar fascia - in my case manifesting itself as intermittent pain on the underside of the right heel. Having had this for more than 7 months now (it can take up to 18 months to cure) I've belatedly started taking care of myself a bit more: hot, soaking baths followed by ice packs; stretching exercises; resting the foot; and the avoidance, as far as possible, of walking in flat shoes, flat sandals or bare feet.

In extreme cases you can have cortisone injections and surgery - but I really want to avoid this as it can be risky to inject things into or operate on the foot - and, anyway, I'm sure my own condition is relatively minor, and will heal itself before too long. It can be caused by sudden weight gain - though on my Camino pilgrimage I did in fact lose weight. However, I was carrying a much heavier backpack than usual, and my feet did take quite a pounding, especially on the unforgiving senda of the Spanish meseta...

9 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

I too suffer from plantar fasciitis from time to time. Have had hydrocortisone inbjections (horrible) and they didn't make much difference (had to have two). I found insoles helped, as did very thick cushiony heels on my walking shoes. Mine has almost gone away - just a twinge sometimes, so don't despair - you probably haven't got it forever.
Thanks for the comment on my gardening poem!

Alan Sloman said...

Ooooh..

That sounds pretty nasty. Have you tried 'customfit superfeet'? I have very narrow 'girly' heels and the customfit cups the heel in the fitted heel shape, so that your own heel pad doesn't 'flatten' when your heel hits the floor as it is contained laterally by the insole. It makes a huge difference to walking on hard surfaces.

Ignore stuff like sorbothane as all that does is give bouce artificially and adds to the heat under your foot.

Good luck with it.

The Solitary Walker said...

'Girly heels', Alan! Now are you sure you don't keep stashed away a few pairs of Manolo Blahniks under all that macho walking gear?

Seriously, though, thanks to one and all for your comments and ideas. I will definitely try insoles/superfeet.

Dominic Rivron said...

These things don't usually last forever. I had terrible problems running with "shin-splints" (pains in your shins). It led to lots of physio, podiatry (shaped insoles), etc and dogged me for a few years. I thought it never go away but, touch wood, it has. I'm telling you all this because I know how bloody depressing these things can get: they feel like they'll never go away.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, some aches and pains seem to take forever to sort themselves out.

I once had a Repetitive Strain Injury in my right arm from driving (used to do 30,000 - 40,000miles a year) which took ages and ages to get better - but get better it did and it's never recurred.

Anonymous said...

I had a nasty bout of PF several years ago and tried all of the standard remedies: countless stretching variations, heat followed by ice, cushioned insoles, even massaging my soles by rolling them over frozen golf balls! In the end, simply walking around in a new pair of Birkenstock sandals solved the problem within two weeks.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks anon for taking the trouble to help with some advice. I'll investigate thoses sandals.

beth said...

May I humbly suggest the work of Pete Egoscue, his book is called "Pain Free"... I teach exercise, take exercise, walk, dance etc. and have had several protracted bouts of plantar fasciitis. Last year, I had the added bonus of stabbing pain in my right heel that felt like an ice pick. After massage, chiropractic, yoga, stretching, ice, and many many other attempts to shut it off, Egoscue's exercises resolved it in weeks. Neither the P.F nor the ice-pick like heel pain has returned in over a year. Awesome.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, Beth, I will try and find this book. I've just returned from another long walk - and towards the end the foot pain recurred each afternoon with a burning intensity.