Hey there! If you’re visiting this site it’s safe to assume that you are probably experiencing some significant pain in your foot. Well, I’ve been there and done that. And for me, it’s not something that is gone and forgotten. Without the proper care, the heel pain can flare up again quickly. So I’ve decided to put some information on the web that might help others to manage their foot pain. Specifically, I will be discussing my battle with plantar fasciitis.
My first introduction to plantar fasciitis occurred rather innocuously. I was going for a simple walk on a beach here in Florida when I stumbled into a shallow hole that some kids had made building a sand castle. My heel went down at a steep angle and stretched the plantar fascia out somewhat. I noticed some pain and began limping slightly right away. It was more of a nagging injury than a crippling one.
I’m pretty active and do a lot of excercise and physical activity, including running, weightlifting, softball, golf, biking, and hiking. So pain in my foot can quickly become a big deal. I began to have some problems with a lot of the activities that I like to do. Running and softball in particular were painful and difficult. I don’t do a ton of running, but a 3 or 4 mile run is pretty typical a couple of times a week. My foot would begin to throb when I started out, sometimes to the point that I had to stop. Other times I gritted it out and saw that it would start to loosen up a bit after a mile or so. But the hours after the run could be excruciating. I could barely walk after sitting down for a while.
Softball was even worse the day after a game. Again, I could push through the pain enough to play. But I had a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, and the pain was terrible the entire next morning.
It was along about this time that we happened to replace the carpet in our house with wood floors. We were pretty excited about it and it gave the house an entirely different look and feel. Now I had always gone barefoot in the house, without thinking much about it. But now things were different. Our old carpet at least had some cushion to it. But the wood floors felt like concrete to my already aching feet. This compounded my plantar fasciitis to the point where I could barely walk.
Now keep in mind at this point I had no idea what plantar fasciitis was; I had never even heard of it. And I really hadn’t deduced what was causing all this foot pain, all I knew was I was hurting. After a couple of more months I decided that it was time to visit a podiatrist.
The podiatrist visit helped somewhat; at least he told me what the condition was. He immediately suggested months of physical therapy (very handy right in his office!), some night splints, and some wonderful $400 custom inserts that he could fix me up with. All this after a nice month to six weeks rest from my favorite activities. I wasn’t real keen on all of this, since I didn’t hit it off too well with the doctor anyhow. I decided to try the night splints and a few sessions of the therapy. Of course my insurance was very little help on any of this; what else is new?
The night splints did indeed provide some relief at first. It was certainly starting to improve after a week or so. The night splints are very cumbersome to wear however, and usually shouldn’t be used longer than a month or so. Anyhow, I stopped wearing them when I started to feel better. And it wasn’t much after that the pain came back just like before. So I decided to give the therapy a try.
The physical therapy was expensive and time consuming. We decided to try a twice per week routine initially (although they would have liked three times better). The therapist showed me a few things to do that bascially I didn’t need her for at all. The exercises helped a little, but not to the point that I felt that I was on the right track. The exercises can easily be done at home and I still do them sometimes for maintenance purposes; I have a link to some good therapy videos here on this site.
But the therapist did mention one very key thing to me. She said it would be very helpful to wear slippers or sandals of some kind instead of going barefoot, even indoors. This seemed like a foreign concept to me, since I had been used to kicking off any footwear the moment that I came through the door at home every night. She said this was especially important if I was on tile or wood floors a lot. Bingo! She might just have something here…
I have found some wonderful sandals that are perfect for people with plantar fasciitis; I can’t recommend them enough. This one discovery probably has helped me more than any other thing that I have tried. I have some links to some excellent sandals here on the site and you will likely be very pleasantly surprised at how much they can help. I put them on as soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning, and the pain has pretty much become a non-factor.
Now that is not the one sure-fire cure-all for plantar fasciitis but it is a huge step in the right direction. Another very key point is that it is IMPERATIVE for people with this condition to wear quality shoes that are in good shape. This is not the place to go cheap. Once you have begun to battle plantar fasciitis the shoe quality is a key component. We have done a lot of research on the best shoes for plantar fasciitis and have highlighted a lot of them here on the site.
Those of you who are runners out there…everything that I have mentioned becomes doubly important for you. I have put a 300 mile limit on my running shoes; out they go after that. You can’t always notice that the shoes are starting to break down, but your feet will know. It won’t be long after that limit is passed that you will begin noticing increasing heel pain again (and likely knee or hip pain as well). It is much easier to replace the running shoes regularly than it will be to get the plantar fasciitis pain to subside again. I’ve researched and found some good information about the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis.
Footwear for softball and baseball players need to obviously be high quality as well. The stresses put on the feet during the quick starts and stops in the game is enough to aggravate plantar fasciitis quickly and repeatedly. The best baseball and softball cleats for plantar fasciitis patients are shown on this site as well.
Lastly, another important component for addressing this condition is indeed orthotics. The foot doc was right; orthotics can be a big help in treating this condition. From my standpoint, the biggest thing about orthotics is that they help your feet all day long as you wear them. This is crucial if you are on your feet a lot throughout the day. It is also a big help for runners.
I tried the really expensive orthotics ($300-$400) at first, and they helped. But not really as much as some of the less expensive ones have ($50-$70). The $400 pair that I had only covered half of my foot! All orthotics have a limited lifespan; you can’t expect them to last ten years. There is a huge selection of them out there and I have tried to research some of the best ones. Feel free to look through our orthotics guide. But this will likely be something that needs some adjusting periodically. Thus it is less painful (in more ways than one) to try some medium-priced orthotics as opposed to the really expensive ones.
So that’s my story in a nutshell. I hope this benefits you somewhat and hope you find the contents of this site to be helpful. There IS some relief in site for plantar fasciitis. But what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. So we’ve highlighted quite a few different possibilities for you to pick and choose from.
HERE’S TO YOUR RELIEF!! WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST…