16th December 2015
Or Plantar Fasciitis, WTF!!
So I’ve been vaguely aware that my foot is a bit sore. Sort of on top of the ankle joint and around the sides. When you’re not exercising you become more vague about these niggles. Or maybe it’s just me: a bit vague. Anyhow, I’d put it down to an inverse correlation between lack of running and increased signs of ageing catching up with me. Generalised aches are something the inactive me needs to accept, right?
Is it just me, or am I actually a medical practitioner’s worst nightmare? Because when I have a pain, that’s about as descriptive as I get. It’s my knee, or my back, or my foot. But is it a sharp pain? Er, no – I don’t think so. So, is it a dull ache? Er, I’m not sure. Front, back? Sort of in the middle… And so it goes on.
I’d put off my run yesterday due to said niggling foot ache. The joy of having no real-life paid employment is that procrastination is no longer the thief of runs. Especially as I now have no real-life paid employment in Queensland, whose climate seems to understand the rules about heat. The one that says peak heat is midday, and evenings get cooler. (Not Whyalla. Whyalla missed that memo. The heat just builds and builds through the day, and 7pm is likely to be more stinking hot than 11am).
So I eventually persuaded myself that I would and could run, and set off to explore a bit more of Tarragindi.
I learnt that 5.30pm is rush hour at the dog park. Good grief – it was a full on puppy party! Gracie would go into a meltdown faced with so many other dogs. (She was spooked by 2 little dogs that sniffed her this morning, but she did eventually recover her composure).
I also learnt that it’s a great time of the evening to run. As evidenced by the numerous other joggers I saw. And if it weren’t for all the goddam hills, I think everyone would commute by bike, because the cycle paths run through such pretty leafy scenery. Brisbane, you are pretty.
As I was pootling along, though, the image of 2 words flashed before my eyes. The reason the image flashed up was because my brain can’t process the pronunciation. And the image was:
I’d heard a few OpMovers talking about being afflicted by it, but whilst the words were bouncing around inside my head, I had no real idea what it was, (other than a foot ailment – pretty much the only one I’ve heard of.) I suspected it couldn’t apply to me, as I assumed it was an overuse injury, and that certainly wasn’t likely…
So I did the only thing that any sensible runner would do when I got home. I consulted Dr Google.
And what he told me was that Plantar Fasciitis tends to be pain experienced in the heel. (Was the pain actually in my heel? Er, I’m not sure.)
It can be related to ageing. (Huh.)
Can occur when you gain weight. (I have been carb – well, actually, if MFP is to be believed, fat-loading. But one has to be prepared…)
It can be caused by walking around barefoot and in thongs, so that the arch doesn’t have sufficient support. (Who actually wears shoes when it gets hot? But yes, I have been hitting my step goals recently.)
Tight calves and over pronation also contribute.
Now here’s the thing. You’ve heard of holocaust and climate change deniers. NOT NICE. Well, there’s another category. Not quite as heinous. But still. They’re called pronation deniers. And I’m borderline in that camp.
Now I’m not denying that over and under pronation exists. The soles of my trainers are evidence that it does. But the thing is, I go into denial because I want to wear all the shoes. You know, the pretty ones. And the ones that I like the sound of. Like zero drop.
I’ve read Born to Run and Cool Impossible, which advocate for the zero drop/ barefoot running method. And I’ve really bought into that school of thought. I ran Comrades 2015 (do you like how I now have to differentiate which Comrades we’re talking about 😉 ) in Altra Torins, which are zero drop. The wide toe box really suits my fat little footsies and they have good cushioning, so I found them really comfortable.
But I have been plagued by injury since then. Is it a run of bad luck, or running in shoes that aren’t best suited to my needs? I don’t know.
I get tight calves, and I know that Torins are more suited to a neutral running style. (I have got hold of another pair of Altras designed for pronators, but I didn’t get them properly fitted.)
My friend Ruth asked me for my opinion of barefoot running, and I still love the idea of it. Maybe I just need to do more work to strengthen my feet and be better aligned and balanced whilst I run. I don’t know.
So, my advice? Go to a specialist running shop. Check out one that is open to barefoot/zero drop running, and talk to someone who does know.
As for my maybe plantar fasciitis, I decided to self medicate. Because I always ensure I have expert advice… I made myself an ice roller, which made me very excited about my ingenuity. Until I took it out of the freezer.
I froze some water inside a plastic freezer bag, using a toilet roll inner as a mould. So far so good. If you want to try this at home, here are 2 tips:
Let’s put it this way – I can’t show you the picture for fear I might attract entirely the wrong sort of traffic and get thrown off the internetz.
What are your thoughts on barefoot/zero drop running?
Have you had plantar fasciitis? What treatment helped you?