– Orthotics, Ice, Rest, Change of Routine, and Patience Are Needed
A few months ago, the arch of my left foot started to hurt. The pain would be most prominent in the morning. While my foot wouldn’t hurt while I was running, I have started icing afterwards to relieve pain afterwards. The pain has moved over the past couple of months to my heel. Unfortunately,
I went online and looked up arch and heel pain and have diagnosed myself with a case of plantar fasciitis. According to Wikipedia and other sources, Plantar fasciitis, is “is a painful inflammatory condition caused by excessive wear to the plantar fascia of the foot or biomechanical faults that cause abnormal pronation of the foot.” What worried me here is that I have pronation problems already and I thought my shoes and current orthotics were helping this problem. But I have noticed that my running has changed. I can feel certain toes grabbing at my shoes and I am not sure why this is happening but several factors are at play here.
- The injury has been around for a while and now is becoming more chronic
- The orthotics I have been using for years don’t actually work
- I am not stretching correctly or enough
- I am getting older (a sad but truth)
In the meanwhile, I have not gone to the doctor to talk about this but will. The issue could be that I have a stress fracture of something worse. But until I go, I have gone to some reputable sources to read up on treatment for plantar fasciitis, and treatment boils down to a few things.
- More stretching in my heels, feet, and calves – see http://www.aafp.org/afp/20010201/467.html for stretches
- Ice – Ice after a run does wonders
- Orthotics – I have switched from hard orthotics to soft orthotics specifically made for my feet.
Until I go to the doctor I will do some of the recommended stretching I have read about online and run with a new set of orthotics I purchased recently. I am taking every other day off and icing after I run. Aside from all of those forms of preventative treatment, I am not sure what else I can do.
Yoga vs Pilates
I joined a friend of mine at a power yoga class in Ithaca, New York in mid July. The class was tough – it focused a lot on strength and, like most yoga classes I have attended, you do a lot of repetition of sun salutations, upward and downward dogs, power poses like Warrior I and II, and other balances stretches and poses.
I have always loved yoga as a practice because of the serenity, focus, and power involved in this physical art form. I often incorporate yoga stretches into my fitness routine but I don’t go to many yoga classes because of time constraints which include work and having to pick up the kids each day.
The nice thing about yoga is that once you have attending a class for about a year and understand the practice, yoga can be done at home. I often watch a video or do the stretching on my own. The nice thing about doing the practice at home is that I don’t need to hold the poses as long; nor do I have do any type of posing I don’t want to do.
Pilates, however, does follow a series a poses and moves in a sequence much like the sun salutation in yoga. The practice focuses on the core or stomach muscles and therefore incorporates moves that strengthen our bodies by building strength. Yoga builds strength but differently. Many people hurt themselves in yoga beccause they over stretch or hold poses too long. Balancing poses are excellent for runners, however, therefore, it is possible that a combination of both yoga and pilates are good to incorporate into our running regimine.
In the August issue of Trail Running, we are introduced to those athletes who train for very long races. As someone who trains for half marathons and shorter races, reading about those who run 50, 100 or more miles at a clip can either be inspiring or just plain crazy.
The amazing thing I realized about trail running however is that it does not focus on running repetitive miles on a track. When you see these people plodding along, sometimes at a snail’s pace while running in 120 degree heat in the dessert, it gives you a new perspective. Last weekend, in the steamy heat of Washington, DC, I decided to run six miles. I figured, if the old man pictured in the article was reading could poke along in deadly heat while trying to finish a century (a 100-mile race), I could hammer out six miles in our summer heat.
I started out and was frustrated that my neighbor still had my running belt that hold water. Within one mile I was parched. The particular route I was running took me up hill and down dale on steep grades as I ran toward the community center I was running to. I was silently praying the community center was open, because I was desperately in need of fluid by the time I arrived at the building about halfway into my run.
I got to the door and gave it a tug. I was so thankful that the door gave way and I was able to enter into the air conditioning and down the hall to the water fountains.
After leaving the community center I started up a steep incline back along another part of the route I was running. The slow steady incline was grueling, but not as grueling as the hill that was to come after it. The next hill was to be longer, steeper, and unforgiving. I turned up my Ipod and moved forward. I thought of the old man in the photo – and if he could do it, I could do it.
The last mile toward home is uphill again. It took all my energy not to walk. I moved forward, tired, hot, and thirsty but finished at at strong pace.
I thanked the old man in the photo for being my inspiration, and for Trail Runner Magazine, for showing me a new perspective on running.