During a trip to the salon recently, my hairdresser complained about her worsening plantar fasciitis. I shared my experience & urged her to get help immediately. Here's why:
  1. What's plantar fasciitis?
    In short, heel pain. The plantar fascia is the band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes & supports your arch. Overuse (standing for long periods, running, walking, high impact exercise) and unsupportive shoes can result in inflammation of the tissue, and even tears. It needs to be caught & treated early.
  2. I've had it for 2 years in both feet
    It started when I was working in NYC and wearing only flats. My job at a costume house required me to stand most of day, climb ladders, and lift/pull heavy things. I didn't have to necessarily dress up, but I love clothes & shoes and feeling good about myself in them. I worked with designers & industry people, so I wasn't about to sport a pair of clunky sneakers. Add in walking & standing on the subway, and it spiraled out of control fast.
  3. After 2 months of pain I went to the podiatrist
    My doctor did imaging & ruled out other foot issues. She had me leave work for a week, ice my feet around the clock, take anti inflammatories, and told me what insoles to buy. I had to wear sneakers and I hated every minute of it. (The really supportive insoles you need do not fit in cute shoes) I did 4 weeks of PT, combined with the new supportive insoles and icing after work. All of this helped to lessen the pain.
  4. Eventually, the pain came back
    And it was even worse. I wasn't able to slow down at work, partly due to it being a small business. That winter was colder than usual, locking up my body & making it hard to move & stay loose. Other health issues made it hard to keep up with my PT. Surgeries set off new aches & pains that settled in my lower body.
  5. My PF is more than heel pain
    My arches constantly ache, too. The pain radiates into my knees and back. One doctor thinks my widespread pain is due to fibromyalgia, since PF shouldn't make your whole body ache. Others disagree. Regardless, it's left me unable to walk & stand for long periods of time.
    I don't want your pity; I want your attention. I'm not a doctor, but I've seen several for this issue.
  7. If your feet hurt & you are on them often
    Get yourself to a doctor as fast as you can. Do everything they tell you to do. Talk to your boss about what you need. If they value you, they will accommodate you. If you can, find a different job that meets your physical needs. It may only be temporary- put your body first so you can go back to what you love. Please, please trust me that no job or city, however glamorous, is worth this much pain & distress.
  8. Get good, supportive sneakers & orthotics
    Dr. Scholl's won't cut it. Invest in brands like superfeet, powerstep, or vionic. Wear them in lightweight sneakers. Follow instructions on breaking them in. I had custom orthotics made at my doctor's office. If this option is available to you, do it. Get supportive slippers for home.
  9. Ice & heat
    Freeze water bottles & roll them under your feet. This is the easiest thing you can do for tired, aching feet. Warm Epsom salt soaks are also great.
  10. Stretch & build strength
    A physical therapist can give you a program to continue with at home, after you've completed PT sessions. If PT isn't an option for you, YouTube is filled with great videos for treating PF at home. Follow through & keep yourself on a schedule. Don't stop once the pain gets better, make it part of your daily routine. Building up your core & lower body strength will also help, even though it sounds odd. Our bodies work in ways that aren't always obvious.
  11. Why am I not better?
    Every body is different & responds to certain things. Dealing with chronic illness & pain, this is a vicious circle. It's hard for me to juggle multiple illnesses without one suffering. I've done PT, ice, warm soaks, new shoes, more shoes, compression socks, splints, all the orthotics, cortisone, shockwave therapy, resting, PRP injections, and more resting. Surgery might be next.
  12. I feel old.
    Hobbling around at 25 and discovering you and your grandmother both use the HurryCane® isn't fun. It's good for a few laughs, but not much else.
  13. Save your feet! You only get one pair.
    I cannot stress this enough. Spread the word!