injury · Sat with Nat · weight stigma

Nat grapples with plantar fasciitis

It started as a dull ache in the summer around the rim of my left heel. It culminated in me limping home 2 weeks ago from work. Did I take the bus? Oh heck no!

So, first, this is a self diagnoses as I am actively avoiding my family doctor after my last visit. Why? I had gone in to talk about my hay fever and how it has aggravated my snoring.

The doctor recommended gastric bypass surgery. I’d never heard of that to treat hay fever before!

I spoke with my Gran, who weighs 80lbs, and she laughed. Apparently she, as her father before her, is a very loud snoring human. As is my dad (her son).

Anyway, no way am I going to see my family doctor about anything correlated to weight gain unless it’s drastic.

So after much research on the Internet and speaking with many friends I’m quite confident self-help options are going to help me recover.

I really liked the detail and approach in this article about stretching, yoga and things that help & aggravate symptoms.

  • Things that have definitely helped:
    • Over the counter insoles
      Calf stretches
      Rolling a hard ball on the bottom of my foot
      Commuting in running shoes
      Yoga postures that flex & stretch my calves & feet
      Cycling inside on my trainer
    You can see Natalie’s legs stretched out in front of her. She has a yoga belt around the balls of her feet pulling her foot up to 90 degrees, stretching her calves and feet.
    Couch time is a great time to stretch those calves & get!

    It’s taken me a while to get in this much pain so I know it will be a while to recover. Thinking back over the past year I have had a few changes that would exacerbate plantar fasciitis:

    • started commuting with a full backpack
    • stopped doing other activities
    • wore older footwear even when my feet started bothering me
    • Ignored my early symptoms
    • Doubled my walking distances by canvassing
    • Gained some weight

    So, if you start to get that ring of fire around your heel, please, don’t be a Nat! Get checked out by a healthcare provider, try some self help options and talk to friends & family. You may not need to wince in agony for long.

    8 thoughts on “Nat grapples with plantar fasciitis

    1. as a primary school teacher i’ve had a couple of bouts with the PF. i ended up having to wear a night brace which helped A TON, and started getting shoes a 1/2 size bigger. Dr recommended keen and dansko brand shoes because of the shoe design and my foot shape and they have helped too. i walk between 4-6 miles a day now with ZERO pain.

      hope you heal up soon-

    2. I have had plantar and used foot waker balls to also stretch out and improve foot flexibility

    3. I’ve definitely done some long rounds w PF. My fave stretch, which I share because was so helpful: feet on the ground as if standing on tiptoes. Then kneel, keep feet in tiptoe position and then sit back on your heels. At first you might not be able to hold it for more than a few seconds. Build up to a minute. And you can relieve the intensity by raising and lowering your bum to put less pressure on the stretch that’s happening from your toes all the way along your foot.

    4. I’m so steamed on your behalf about the fat-shaming ignoramus doctor. Does he suggest brain surgery for dandruff? Grrrrr. I have had numerous rounds of PF, and the things that have helped me (that others have not mentioned) are:

      In addition to using a tennis/lacrosse ball for rolling and massaging my foot, I use a wool dryer ball (just google this and you can buy one cheaply). I took a yoga workshop on foot care, and the teacher had us use the softer balls because, being squishy, they can get into cracks and crevices around the foot, and we would put our weight on the ball and move it around. Hard to describe, but it provides more of an actual massage. I strongly recommend this.

      General foot massage all the time: don’t neglect the toes! Working the range of motion, stretching and kneading all around the foot and ankle feels great. Also learned this in that foot yoga workshop.

      I got electro-acupuncture for one bout of very painful PF– once a week for 5 weeks– and (combined with copious stretching, massaging, etc), it was mostly gone by then. There are medical studies that provide evidence for this treatment:

      The treatment itself felt weird but not painful.

      I did a post on the yoga foot workshop here:

      The teacher of the workshop does massage and stretching and other things for clients who have problems like PF. It is a bit pricy, but such people may also be helpful. But for my money, I’d go for the electroacupuncture…

      Take good care!

    5. Try compression socks. I like the short crew ones and as high a compression as you can comfortably take. That with “pain” insoles in my shoes has finally stopped my PF after several years of discomfort.

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