Running, plantar fasciitis, and running with plantar fasciitis!

…from guest blogger and MRC member, RunningMom

“No running for 30 days”, my podiatrist said to me.  Well, that’s just crazy talk, I was thinking to myself.  I have not been a week without running in three years, except for the couple of sprained ankles which is an easily understood, yet annoying still, injury. But I agreed reluctantly.  But that is not the beginning of the story.

I am 35, been running for 3 years now.  I ran track in high school but then took 10 years off to marry, have babies and weight train religiously.  But after baby number 2, I was ready for something different.  A friend suggested I sign up for a 5k with her.  When I finished it, I remember thinking-wow, I did it! But I was longing for more of the exhilaration that I felt, so I began to run longer.  I completed several 5 and 10ks that first year.  After exactly one year of running, I ran 10 miles with my sister on New Year’s Day.  And then I was bitten-you know what I am talking about.  I signed up for my first half marathon and completed it just 2 months later.  I did 4 more halfs that year.  I am a 10 ½ minute miler, give or take a few.  I love to run.  I am very comfortable in my pace.  They used to pick on me in high school because I came in last at every meet for the 800 and mile runs.  But I would be smiling so big-because I was loving every minute of it! I guess during a race is not the time to stop and smell the roses, but it is just what I do. But I digress…

The second year of running I did 3 half marathons, and went from running a 2:20 to a 2:12. Pretty happy with that. The end of December, that’s when things went awry.  My happy little schedule of 3 weekday runs of 4-5 miles and 1 Saturday or Sunday long run of 8-10 got crushed.  After a 6 mile treadmill run, I woke up the next morning with a sharp pain in my heel.  It would come and go.  I continued to run as usual and ignore it.  I ran 11 miles on Jan. 1, 2011 because I thought that would look good on my facebook page-Ran 11 on 1-1-11! Just kidding.  It has become a tradition of my sister and I to run 10 miles on New Year’s Day-we threw in an extra mile this year to match! Anyway, it felt fine running that. I thought whatever was hurting was done.  A couple of weeks later after a 4 mile run, I could not walk the next morning the pain was so bad.  I went to the chiropractor for about 3 weeks, twice a week for ultrasound therapy on my plantar and adjustments.  That was pretty affective.  But I wanted to make sure, so I went to the podiatrist who x-rayed and said it was very inflamed.  He put me on an anti-inflammatory arthritis medicine, 1 round of steroids and a cortisone shot. I also went home with a sexy blue boot to sleep in to stretch my plantar.  He told me to do the plantar stretch 3 times a day, ice and massage as much as I could.  He told me I could swim, so I swam 4 days a week.  I have been diligent.  I did not run those 30 days.  February was awful with the not running and all, but I did it.  The pain completely went away.  March came and I resumed a normal 3 days a week shorter run, Saturday 8 miler.  I did the Tobacco Half.  It felt great. Then 2 weeks later, after a short, hilly 4 the pain came back –and worse than before.  I was in intense pain and went back to the podiatrist to get fit for orthopeadic running inserts.  I pick those up next week! I stopped running for 3 weeks.  It still hurt a lot. So one morning I said to myself-I would rather mentally be stable and physically hurting, than feeling pent up and crazy from not running. So, I taped my plantar up with athletic tape, and off I went.  I did 2 miles the first run, 3 the 2nd time and 4 the 3rd time.  I also tried to adjust my gate to make sure I am firmly landing on the balls of my feet.  When the pain would start to hurt a little more, I would run on my toes.  I think the pain is actually a little less after I began to run again.  It still hurts in the morning when I first wake up and when I come home from being at work all day.  The pool really helps when it is sore.  I also have increased my yoga practice, hoping that all the stretching will benefit my plantar.  My podiatrist is probably going to scold me for running on an injured foot.  But it hurts if I don’t run, it hurts if I do, so I choose to run.  Mind you the pain is only like a 4 out of 10 when I run right now.  If it were to go to 7 I would probably not run!

So, my conclusion and point of all this is that I think plantar  fasciitis is something I am going to have to manage all of my life.  It is a very frustrating injury because there is no clear remedy.  But giving up running is just not an option for me at this point.

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