Two years ago, I hadn’t even heard of plantar fasciitis. Now it feels like I only purchase shoes based on this. I also feel like I went half mad and half broke trying to cure myself. If you don’t know what it is, it probably means you are lucky enough to not suffer from it. Basically, what it is a bunch of micro tears to the plantar, a ligament that attaches to the heel bone. It becomes inflamed and super painful. It is a common running injury. Mine actually started during pregnancy with increased progesterone caused all the ligaments loosen up.
For a year, it was really bad. I limped around, I taped every day, I massaged, I wore a medical boot, I rolled out on a tennis ball, I saw a sports therapist, and even tried acupuncture. I’m going to let you know what worked for me, but everyone is different. I am also not a doctor, nor trained in any sports medicine. I just scowered every corner of the internet researching plantar fasciitis. I am not 99% okay, but I do not believe it will ever go away completely. There will be things on this list that I will always need to use and do.
Plantar Fasciitis Tips
Magnesium: I wish I had started with this as soon as I found out I had plantar fasciitis. I firmly believe it is what finally made it livable. I can tell that if I forget it for even a day, it hurts more. When I first started using it, I would take one 400 mg dose in the morning and one at night, spreading out the amount due to it causing stomach distress. I was willing to deal with the stomach troubles, because it made my foot feel better. I tried glycinate magnesium because read that it was better on the stomach, but it also did less for my foot. There are many kinds out there, most have worked for me. I am currently using magnesium oxide and it works great for me. After being on it for a few months, my stomach adjusted and causes no problems now. I listed both below so you can decide what would work better for you (I use the first one).
Taping: I had to use the below taping method to run or walk every day. I used plain white medical tape and found it worked MUCH better than the expensive KT Tape for this particular type of taping. Keep it taut, but do not pull too tight while taping.
Spiky ball: I found the spiky ball made for plantar worked better than a tennis ball, but when I was in the midst of severe pain, a harder ball like a golf ball or a racquetball worked best to break up the damaged scar tissue.
Hokas: Once I discovered Hokas, I didn’t need to tape anymore. I cannot suggest these enough. They are great for the injured runner or walker.
Inserts: I do put the PowerStep insert into my running shoes still. I think it is a necessity for anyone with plantar fasciitis, but even if you aren’t injured, they are just more comfortable.
Birkenstocks: Wear these from the moment you get out of bed until you go to sleep. Your feet need them. For two years, they were all I could wear. They are ugly as sin, but have recently come back into fashion as a tongue-in-cheek style statement. Just pretend you are in on the trend when really you are just luxuriating in the Birk. Anyone raised in the 90s know that a ‘cute Birkenstock’ is an oxymoron, but who cares if your feet don’t hurt.
Lacing shoes: Don’t mind the mud. Check out the lacing. Basically, you lace the first holes normally and then skip over middle ones, lacing normally again on the last few holes. Works to alleviate pressure on your arch. I still have to do this with my shoes, and probably always will.
Medical boot: I had to sleep in a medical boot like the one below for quite a few months and will still pull it out when my plantar fasciitis feels like it is making itself known again. It is a little uncomfortable to sleep in all night, so try to start with a few hours at first, then increase the hours as you get more used to it. It helps quite a bit to stretch the plantar all night. I can tell that the first step out of bed doesn’t hurt as much after wearing this, and then proceeds to be better the rest of the day. It certainly didn’t cure it, but improved it.
Foam rolling: I personally roll out on the back of my calf and the tibialis anterior, the muscle to the side of the shin bone. I included a video on how to foam roll your shins. It starts the technique around 1 minute into the video. It helped a fair bit, but again did not cure it.
Other things that others said to try that did not work for me:
Frozen water bottle to roll your foot on.
Stretching your calf
Stretching your toes
Night sock that stretches your foot
It is really hard not to get depressed when you are injured and lead an active lifestyle. I know how frustrating it was for me, which I don’t think is unique. Keep trying different things and be patient. Adjust what you need to. Know I sympathize with you.