Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Plantar Fasciitis Physical Therapy, and Weigh In

Just got back from my first appointment with the physical therapist for my plantar fasciitis and thought I'd give some info on what we are doing. I've gotten a few emails and comments from others who suffer from this tremendous heel pain wanting to know what I have tried/am doing, so here goes.

I have had this extreme pain in both heels for more than 6 months now. What I have done over 6 months that has NOT worked, healed it, or even improved it long term:

stretch my feet before getting out of bed each morning
an exercise where you grab a little towel with your toes and pull it towards you
ice packs
rolling various sizes of balls under my feet while I sit (golf ball, tennis ball, dog's ball)
*rolling a frozen water bottle under my feet
soaking my feet in Epsom salts
taking Advil and/or Aleve for weeks on end
taking 800 mg ibuprofen (for knee bursitis) for 6 weeks and staying almost completely off my feet
severely restricting my walking and standing
propping my feet to keep them flexed at night while I sleep
*wearing special cushioned Thorlo socks
going to a specialty shoes store, having my feet scanned by a computer and measured and being fitted with supportive stability shoes
*wearing various orthotic inserts including Dr Scholl's and Superfeet (green)
always wearing supportive shoes, including Brooks, Orthaheel, Oofos, FitFlops clogs, some others
*taking antiinflammatory supplements such as fish oil and turmeric every day
*stopped eating sugar
stopped eating grains
took oral steroids for a week

I have starred the things above that I feel were most helpful, although nothing has entirely alleviated the pain yet.

Today at PT they evaluated my range of motion in my ankle, which was good. They checked my strength, which was also good. They showed me some simple calf stretches to do several times a day; I place my hands against a wall and lean in, one leg behind me to stretch the calf, and then do it again but with both knees bent. Then I got to lie on my stomach and they did a massage of the foot, ankle, and calf tissues by hand and using metal tools (the "Graston Technique"). There were definite knots and tightness in my lower calf muscles, which they said affects the foot. Then they wrapped my feet in ice and hooked me up to the electrical stimulation machine for 15 minutes (little sticky pads on the heel and bottom of foot). That was it. It took an hour and I am supposed to go twice a week and see how it helps.

Weigh in today: still 221. Mixed feelings on that. Counting calories again today and aiming for 1100-1200, low carb, high protein, about 50% fat.


Becky said...

I suffered from plantar fasciitis for almost a year before finding a solution. I had had enough of things not working out for me, so I turned desperate. My sister (a massage therapist) recommended that I seek out a "rolfer" to work on it. I looked one up in my area ( and skeptically went to see her. I kid you not--with one session, my problem disappeared. No more fire pain in the morning, and no sore heels. Freaking miracle. I highly recommend it!

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

I also have (or had) Plantar Fasciitis and got the green "superfeet" for my shoes... THAT made a difference literally overnight! Of course, it depends on how bad it is, but I forever sing the song of superfeet now! I found them cheaper on ebay too than various retail stores.


Lori said...

My husband has flare ups of that from time to time and has tried almost everything you have listed with similar results. I hope you find the relief you need with this therapy.

Taryl said...

That weight is being stubborn. I did notice one red flag the last few times you've posted about this - are you still taking
NSAIDs? Those are well known to interfere with weight loss, cause weight gain, and contribute to fluid retention. Just a thought,if your on a heavy regimen of those (800 is a fairly substantial dose if taken regularly) that may be something that bears investigating, especially if it isn't really helping.

Anonymous said...

I, too, suffered for more than a year with PT. My foot doctor sent me for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (T.E.N.S.) treatments, which were expensive and not covered by my insurance, and which did nothing whatsoever.
I found a simple cure: Stand with your toes on the edge of a step and lower your heels as far as you can, holding for 2 or 3 minutes. Do this 3 times a day. For me, this brought complete relief in a relatively short time. I still do this occasionally, and the pain has never returned. Good luck! Jane

adorkbl said...

I have suffered on and off with the plantar fasciitis. I never walk barefoot anymore. If I slack and start wearing flip flops or walking aorund barefoot... I notice it immediately. I always wear insoles and I make sure to do th emorning stretches. Recently I added in the calf stretching (after tlaking to the shoe guy at the running store) and that has made a huge difference.

I keep doing these things. Pain or no pain. Because I always feel like the pain is just one day away if I slack on the stretches and support.

I hope you find relief soon. It really really is such a painful thing to go through. That first step (hobble) out of bed in the morning is so miserable.

Lyn said...


I stopped taking them for the most part and now just take the fish oil and turmeric instead. This week I was on steroids though. Today was the last day for that.


That exercise you're describing is actually on the sheet they gave me today! They want me to wait and add it next week after doing these gentler stretches first. I hope it helps me like it did you.

Taryl said...

Good on you for the natural antinflammatory agents. Can't hurt, will likely help. Have you seen any hunger from the steroids or has all been well in that department?

Anonymous said...

I've also had plantar fasciitis. It was a few weeks of twice daily deep calf stretches (at least 15 minutes worth) that ultimately helped me. When calf muscles are tight, they pull on the tendons in the feet, which leads to PT... I do yoga now for maintenance (downward dog loosens those muscles like no other), PT hasn't returned in two years.

Debbie said...

I am not sure if I have plantar fasciitis, but I have had heal pain off and on for a good while. The stretch Jane described has helped me a ton. And we all know, the plural of anecdote is fact. =D But seriously, I hope it helps you too!

Doodle Bean said...

Sorry to hear that the specialized footware didn't help that much. My plantar fasciitis was relieved by rest, arch supports and stretching (foot and legs).

It did take about 6 weeks or so but I got some relief immediately just from the arch supports and every day was usually better than the day before.

It's a decade later and I occasionally get twinges if I spend more than 5 hours in non-supportive footware, but no biggies.

Good luck to you!

Lyn said...


no extra hunger whatsoever! No pain reduction either. If I didn't know better I'd think they gave me a placebo that didn't work :)

Jennifer McNeely said...

Please. Try. Accupuncture!!

Anonymous said...

Lyn, have you tried yoga? I can't say enough good things about it! Good for the body, soul and mind:)

Lyn said...


not yet! I would like to though. :)

antiker said...

Hi I wonder why the foot Dr never comes out and says obesity. They rake you through all the options to try but never say you are carrying 100 lbs of excess weight on your feet! If people tried to loose weight I think it would doesn't take a genius to see that.

Lyn said...


probably because most people who are obese know they are obese, and "trying" to lose weight doesn't help. Most people who try to lose 100 pounds (or even 50) don't succeed. So I think weight is more properly addressed by a primary care doctor or an obesity specialist, rather than a foot doctor who is not equipped to give weight loss advice (not knowing the patient's history, blood work, and other important factors). Thankfully, my foot pain was resolved even without losing weight.