September 14, 2011

On Pins and Needles

I haven't written about this much, but I've been injured. I've had plantar fasciitis for quite some time. This is a painful condition in the feet. At it's mildest it hurts to walk first thing in the morning (although it usually gets better as the day goes on); at it's worst, it feels like I'm stepping on knives, and I can barely walk, let alone run, due to the stabbing pain. I did talk a bit about having it in March, before I ran the Safari Park Half Marathon, but other than that I've kept quiet about it here on the blog.

I saw my doctor about it several months ago, and he prescribed calf stretches to do (tight calf muscles will affect the plantar fascia). I did those, and while they helped some, I was still in pain. I have done a lot of reading online about plantar fasciitis, and talked to many of my dailymile and Twitter friends about it. Here are things I've done:

  • various calf stretches
  • rolling my foot over a frozen water bottle
  • rolling my foot over golf balls, both frozen and at room-temperature
  • rolling my foot over a Rubz Ball
  • sleeping in a night splint called a Strassburg Sock
  • taking Aleve
  • using KT Tape to tape my foot before runs
  • getting a foot and leg massage
  • bought new and improved orthotics for my shoes (I have very high arches)
While things helped some (rolling my foot over the various balls felt good, and most mornings after wearing the Strassburg Socks my feet felt better) the pain was never truly gone. I recently discovered the KT Tape, and love it; it's not lost on me that I am literally taping myself together! And some things didn't seem to work for me at all; the foot massage, while it felt good at the time, was essentially a waste of money.

A few weeks ago a friend mentioned acupuncture as a treatment for plantar fasciitis. At this point, I was willing to try anything, so I got the phone number of the acupuncturist and gave him a call. I did have acupuncture many, many years ago, for energy balancing, but had never gone to treat an injury. I was skeptical but willing.

My first session was last week; today I went for my 3rd session. I have to report that even after the first session I felt a marked improvement! I even went for an 8 mile run this weekend and was pain-free. I did use my KT Tape, but did nothing else. In fact, my acupuncturist told me NOT to stretch, NOT to use the night splints, and NOT to use ice! Instead, he wants me to massage my calves and use heat (as in a heating pad), which is the complete opposite of what my western-medicine internist told me (ice and stretch)! I've been massaging and heating...and finally feel hopeful.

Next week I go back for my 4th session. I've heard that many people get rid of their plantar fasciitis in only a few sessions, but since I've had it for so long (over a year) it will take longer. I'm patient. If it works, and so far it's seeming to, I'm willing to spend the money, time and be a human pincushion. I don't know how it works...but Oriental Medicine has been around for a long, long time, and it seems to work for a lot of people.

I hope to get my injury under control, and soon: I am planning on doing roughly one half marathon a month from October until July. I need healthy feet!


  1. Interesting...I've read good things about accupuncture. I hope it works for you!

  2. This intrigues me! Would you mind messaging me at some point about the cost? I am really into using herbs for treatments and seem to find success in them. I have yet to try acupuncture. And yes, it certainly does seem to work for a lot of people! Glad you are feeling better!

  3. I'm so glad that you are finding relief to the pain. I had the same thing a few years ago, but I don't think it was as bad as your's is. I hope you continue to get better as you continue to get treatments.

  4. Thanks for being so open about your experience. As we've discussed on Twitter, I'm suffering the same pain, but also have issues with the top of my foot (hopefully related to PF). I've done every single thing you mentioned above, and have been wearing that stupid sock every night!

    I do have the tape, and have my first acupuncture appointment this coming Monday. At this point, I'm going to need relief similar to yours if I want any hope of seeing the start line in Vegas. Fingers crossed!

  5. Hey Girl, I didn't realize you suffered from plantar fasciitis. After having Jacob I had horrible foot pain and was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. It was awful and I did everything you did too. I had to wear shoes straight out of bed and it helped some. I have occasional pain, but nothing severe as when I had Jacob. Glad you are doing better.

  6. HUGS as I know PF can be debilitating.


  7. 8 miles run on 1st weekend and pain-free, really an amazing thing and a good sign for you. I hope these 8 miles will be more and more after every weekend, best of luck :)

  8. You could also try bowen therapy, it is brilliant for PF


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