Plantar Fasciitis: How to beat it

Plantar fasciitis.  I can hardly spell it so how did I cure it?

Plantar Fasciitis: How to beat it

Plantar fasciitis.  I can hardly spell it so how did I cure it?  How to cure plantar fasciitis is kind of a personal thing for starters.  There is no one thing that will do it and since our bodies are incredibly unique and individualized, why I got it and why you got it are going to be VERY different.  In this post, I’m going to go over, how I got it, why it happened and what I’m doing about it.  I do however, have full confidence that the steps I took to get control of my plantar fasciitis can and will help you in your quest.

Plantar Fasciitis: How I got it

The first thing to recognize here is that just because there’s pain on the underside of your foot, does not mean that the problem is in the foot.  Our body is a synergistic weapon!  Meaning that if something is out of place, injured, infected, etc, other parts of the body will compensate.

Plantar fasciitis, if you ask me, is more of a symptom then a condition.  The condition could be tight calves or tight quads.  It could be a misaligned pelvis or hip.  It could be all of that or just one.  Plantar fasciitis could be caused by anything really.  And look at how easily it can happen.  Does this look remotely familiar?

Hip goes out of alignment.  One leg is now longer than the other.  Standing at work long hours.  Heavy heal strike when walking in dress shoes.  Sitting in the car 180 minutes a day.  Hips get tight.  6 am cold run.  No warm up.  No time to stretch out after.  Got to get to work…

For me, it was years of waiting tables, tending bar, and selling cars.  Lot’s of sitting, lots of standing and years of being out of alignment.  In 2002, I stopped smoking and started running as a method of regaining lung capacity and stress relief.  By 2005, I couldn’t get out of bed without being in extreme pain for at least the first 90 minutes of the day.  I stopped running.  Nothing helped.  And I tried everything.  Literally.  Until…

Plantar Fasciitis: Why it happened

I started seeing a chiropractor.  While I couldn’t run or jump, I was able to do everything else.  Running was replaced with kettlebell swings and snatches.  Now, if your hips and pelvis are tight and out of alignment, nothing good can happen from here.  I knew I needed to get adjusted.

So after about 6 months of regular adjustments, mobility work and stretching, something wild happened.  No more heel pain.  Like, gone!  I considered running but chickened out.  In fact I chickened out for about 7 years.  I just didn’t want anything to do with that kind of pain.

It wasn’t until I watched my wife catch the running bug and then go on to do a a few 5k’s and then a 10k on the beach that I realized how much I missed running.  Especially on the beach.  It’s a spiritual thing.  I knew I had to figure this out.  So in July of 2015, I made a commitment.  Run this 10K with my wife next year.

Plantar Fasciitis: What I’m doing about it

I started with a trip to a local running store with “specialty shoes.”  With help, I got a pair of Saucony Peregrin’s version 5.   [NOTE:  The current version of the Peregrin is night and day from the 5 and I can’t recommend that shoe and would credit the current Peregrin with 80% of my current “flare up”]  The 5’s fit my narrow foot well and were neutral.  I wanted to have support while maintaining a connection to the ground.  Other shoes I had tried on, left me feeling disconnected to the ground and over supported.  I do kettlebell training in Chuck Taylors.

I started out with short distances.  Like running the stairs (about 100 steps one way) near my home or running the hill my house is on (about 50 yards).  From there I started working with intervals of jogging and walking.

SIDE NOTE:  Running shoes are for running.  They’re not for lifting weights, squatting or any other activity.  They are for running.  Period.  If you’re doing anything else in your running shoes, you’re at risk for injury.

Plantar Fasciitis Research:

I also dug into the cause.  I’m not interested in treating symptoms.  I want to know what’s causing it so I can handle it.  What I found is that planar fasciitis, while common, is unique to the individual but as I looked closer I realized that there is one key component behind it that happens to everyone who gets it.

The cause of plantar fasciitis is NEGLECT!

When you neglect to stretch, when you neglect to warm up and cool down, when you neglect to exercise and/or wear the wrong shoes all the time, when you neglect to hydrate properly and when you neglect to eat right and move your body, your body will neglect you.

I have spent many hours on line and in books looking for my causes and what I know now is this.  I had the right shoe and then fell for the idea that I need to replace that shoe every 3-500 miles.  My Peregrin 5’s have some wear and tear on them but they are still working.  When I got the most recent version, what I didn’t realize the Peregrin 7 is a wider shoe and did not provide the same level of arch support.  Additionally, due to the width of the 7 vs the 5, it left my achilles tendon and posterior tibial tendon vulnerable.  Which then cascaded into a flare up.

However, it’s not the shoe’s fault.  It’s mine.  Why?  Well, after further research and study, I learned that it’s not just about keeping the calves and plantar fascia stretched and loose.  There’s more too it than that.  Such as ankle flexibility and tight achilles tendons.  Additionally, if your piriformis muscle has shortened due to too much sitting, you’re feet may turn out when you walk and run AND in addition to that, there may be over pronation.

Plantar Fasciitis Pre/Rehab Routine:

If you have it now, you have to isolate your causes.  Be humble and honest with yourself.  I’m a big fan of MMA and the UFC and I hear a lot of fighters using the phrase, “winning or learning” meaning if you just got your ass kicked, you learn from it.  You isolate how and why you lost with an open and humble heart and mind and then get to work fixing your shit.  That means not blaming the shoe or anything else.

Take full 100% responsibility for your plantar fasciitis.  It’s happening because of you.  Which means you can now address it and fix it.

Once you know your causes you can address them.  Develop three routines.

  1. A warm up that you do before you run
  2. Plus a cool down routine as well.
  3. However you also need to have a maintenance routine that focuses on strength and flexibility.

I have a routine that strengthens and stretches my posterior chain and is now also working on ankle flexibility and dorsiflexion.  I also found some new drills to help with the hips and quads.

Plantar Fasciitis Products:

The most important product I think anyone looking to completely eliminate plantar fasciitis (or any chronic pain that comes from running wrong) is the book Ready To Run by Kelly Starrett.  The subtitle closes the deal for me, “Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally.”  

I am using this book in conjunction with regular chiropractic adjustments to keep my body in alignment and I am still practicing active warm up and a stretch cool down.

I also use two different stretching devices.  A Balance Board and The Pro Stretch.  These help with stability, strength and flexibility.

CONCLUSION:

Since getting back into running, I’ve handed a 5K, 10K and a half marathon.  I run two to three times a week now, very the distance and intensity and am preparing for my second half marathon and then will be handling a full marathon in October.

It’s important to me to show people what’s possible.  That an asthmatic, former pack-a-day smoker, alcoholic can not only conquer addiction but can run a marathon.

If you’re on a journey or struggling with plantar fasciitis, leave a comment below on how this helped and what’s worked for you treatment wise.  Us runner folk gotsta stick together 😉

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