Hi there!
I am really hoping you can help!  There is so much conflicting information out there, but, I trust your opinion.  A little over a year ago I developed Plantar faciitis. I was running every other to every third day doing 7-9 miles in Innov8s. I did calf stretching, heel dips on steps, picking up Marbles with my toes and standing arch lifts to rehab.  I stopped running and only did indoor cycling (for 4 months-until I was pain free) then, I slowly began to run again.  It is more than a year later and I have been feeling strong running 7 or 8 miles a go.  Out of nowhere it came back.  I AM SO FRUSTRATED.  I LOVE to run.  I've been running distance for pleasure since I was 12. (36 now)  I feel like my truest and best self when I'm running and I really want to get back into my flow.  I just read Born to Run and think my form may be off.  I was a heel striker for sure, but since last year, I've been focusing on forefoot strike.  So, from here, what to do?  I am icing when the heels hurt, massaging calves, heel dips, arch lifts, towel scrunching and forcing a dreaded stop in running until it gets better. Good plan? Is it too early to try running barefoot in my backyard?  Can I do the drills from your video on forefoot strike? (Ankle jumps, lifting knee to focus on glutes stability and what not) What do you reccomend?  I need to RUN! And, I need to figure out how to stop getting injured  ...and I will do whatever it takes to get me there!  

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Hi Kat - PF is so fickle and amazingly frustrating. Lets do this, stop EVERYTHING you are doing so we can have a clean slate to work from. And, also realize PF is not a heel problem.

Troubleshoot:

  • Have someone massage your calf and all along outside and inside on leg between knee and ankle. Be aware of any very tender spots and "knots" in the muscle.  And in general how tight the calf might feel.
  • YOU massage the bottom of your foot, especially the arch and be aware if there are any tender spots.  You your fingers and thumbs to do this.

Let me know what you discover.

Thank you so much for responding!  It seems there is a lot of tightness in the calves.  After massaging and wiggling/digging fingers in, it also feels tender along the areas in my picture and in a line more central down the back of the calf. 

On the bottom of my foot:  The spiral and right next to it (toward center)are the points of the most pain when I walk.  There is a lot of tenderness along the lines drawn also towards center and extending up to right behind the ball. Again, I can not thank you enough for your help!20180706_093604.jpg

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Also, I forgot to ask... riding indoor spin cycle okay?  Or should I stop that as well?

Lets stop everything right now, just to start with a clean slate so you are able to know what is helping. AND, if the calf is the issue, all activity, especially biking will put stress on the calf and keep it tighter, slowing down the process.

Your areas of tightness and discomfort on your calf/leg I believe is the problem, so lets start off by really putting all of your focus on massaging these areas and working on getting this tightness and tenderness to decrease.  What tends to happen with PF, is your calf gets super tight, causing poor range of motion, therefore placing undue stress to your foot/fascia.

So we need to "break" up this tightness first, and then get range of motion back in your calf, and then stretch the tightness in the foot.  The key will be to eventually get past the tightness in the calf, so we can stretch the fascia in the heel.  This will take some time, but should have you on the right path.

Here is what to do:

1. massage calf/leg muscles as often throughout your day as possible (anywhere you feel knots and discomfort).  Every day, as much as you can.  Use your fingers and thumbs, not a foam roller, as this is too general. After doing this, lightly stretch the calf, holding the moderate stretch for 2-3 minutes at a time, several times during each episode.

2. Stretch arch/foot by bending toes forward, and then backwards, feeling a stretch in the top of foot and in the arch (based on direction of toes).

3. continue this for a week to 10 days.

4. as the muscle adhesions in your calf lessen, and you can stretch more, you should look to begin to feel a stretch/burning feeling in your heel. This, ultimately is what we are looking to accomplish, but it will take time to get past the calf tightness. So be patient, but diligent daily.

5. Once you can feel this stretch in the heel, focus on this and you should begin to feel lots of relieve in the PF.  And then begin to do some short runs and see ow it feels.

Hope this makes sense and helps. Keep me posted.

I'm on it like a scotch bonnet!  Thank you so much.  I'm getting a deep tissue sports massage on Sunday to help break up adhesions and will do all the things you mention.  Will update!

Keep in mind that it is the daily massaging that is important. One deep massage here and there by a therapist will not be enough and not do much, unless you can do them weekly on top of what you do daily. So again, the key is what YOU do.

Keep me posted.

Yes, understood.  :)  I am doing massage and stretching 3-4 times a day...and more when I can.  The therapy massage is in addition to my own (and to make sure I am doing things correctly).  Thanks again for your help.  It means a lot to me.  I have not run for 2 weeks and not cycled since you recommended.  I am still feeling pain in my feet, but am being patient.  I certainly want to do this rehab correctly so that I can get back into my flow. ...and to prevent injury in the future.  If that means a whole new training program as well, so be it.  Because I had reoccurring injuries, it is clear that something (or some thingS) were off.

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