How I finally got over my Plantar Fasciitis

I started noticing some tightness in my heel during the first mile or so of my runs. It was the Fall of 2017 and I attributed it to ramping up my miles (about 50 per week) for the Grindstone 100 race. Thankfully I never felt a thing during the race and continued to ignore it.

In March of 2018 I ran a 50K trail race and decided to use my Altra Lone Peaks with Zero drop and adequate cushioning. The heel pain never went away and got much worse during the run. I still finished, but it put me in a worse place.

Though I didn’t seek medical advice, it was clear this was plantar fasciities. It hindsight, it was likely due to a tight Achilles tendon. Running 32 miles in a zero heel drop shoe strained the tendon more and added more tension to the plantar fasciities. I typically run in shoes with a 4 or 5 mm heel drop.

I tried a number of solutions, but the pain remained. I felt it for the last 93 miles of the Old Dominion 100 and 99.9 miles of the Burning River 100. At this point the heel pain was rather constant throughout my day. It was especially difficult walking after getting off the couch. Standing around got painful.

Peanut massage balls for the win!

I was trying many things to relieve the pain. Some worked, most didn’t.

  • STRETCHING my Achilles didn’t help. If anything, this seemed to only aggravate the heel pain.
  • I was FOAM ROLLING my calves, though not as regularly as I should. That did seem to help my Achilles and calf tightness.
  • Wearing MAX CUSHION SHOES (e.g. Hoka Clifton 3s) did help hide the pain around the house and as I continued to put in training miles.
  • IBUPROFEN hid the pain but after a few days of it, I stopped using it altogether. It didn’t improve the injury.
  • I started wearing my NIGHT SPLINT every night. That helped in the morning, but I can’t say it helped with the healing.
  • PLANTAR FASCIITIES socks and special arch supports felt good to pull on, but didn’t seem to do a thing.
  • SPIKY BALLS worked! I would roll them under my foot.
  • A PEANUT MASSAGE BALL worked even better. I could apply more pressure than the spiky balls. I used this 2-3 times per day.
  • Surprisingly, taking TIME OFF of running didn’t really help. There was only some minor improvement when I stopped running for a few months. Using the peanut massage ball while running lead to more improvement.

I’m not a doctor, but it seems my tight calves and often sore Achilles tendon put stress on the Plantar Fasciities leading to micro tears and scar tissue. The long run in zero drop shoe pushed the injury to a new level. The night splint and Hokas just addressed the pain. The foam roller loosed the calves while the massage balls broke down the Plantar fasciities scar tissue.

I’m pain free and only have a bit of tightness in the morning, but that goes away quickly — and might be due to old age!



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