Friday, April 25, 2014

How to Incorporate Cures for Plantar Fasciitis into Your Everyday Life

It's Friday! You know what that means...

No, not that! Naturally, it means my readers are itching to read about medical cures for common running injuries. (Note: I don't have any cures for actual itches. Go see a doctor, now!)

My name is A Runner's Journal, and I have plantar fasciitis, or PF. There, I've admitted it. The first step is the hardest, right? Well, the first step is usually the hardest with PF. If you wake up and walk around with heel pain, or get heel pain after spending long time on your feet, you might have PF.

While the name sounds like some fanatical Roman dictator, it actually just refers to an injury in the muscles connecting your heel to your toes.

"Et tu, heel pain?" - me, betrayed by my own feet
PF happens for a few reasons, one of which is having high arches. I have high arches. My arches are so high, they served as the model for the arches so integral to Roman-era architecture.

Okay, I officially need to stop with this whole Roman thing.
Anyway. My PF started acting up just after I started running. I researched some cures, found some cures, and have been practicing said cures for the better part of a year now. The cures are straightforward, but I'm busy, and you're busy, and sometimes you can't dedicate much time to preventing PF.

So here's some tips on how to incorporate cures for PF into your everyday life. I'm not saying they'll work for everyone, I'm just saying they worked for me. And before, my arches hurt me worse than the victories of Hannibal hurt the Romans during the second Punic--

Okay, I'll stop! Jeez. Sorry.

1. Freak out your SO by sleeping with a towel all night

The first few steps taken after getting out of bed tend to be the hardest for someone with PF. My theory is that mischievous foot gnomes sneak into my bed and bruise my heels when I sleep. I'm not a doctor though. I'm just an expert on mischievous foot gnomes.

How can you make those first few steps easier? Before standing up, use a towel or something similar to wrap around the ball of your foot and pull the ends toward you, stretching your toes, arch, and calf. This will help alleviate the pain, but it will also require you sleeping with a towel, since standing up to go get one defeats the purpose. For those of us with an SO, this necessitates an awkward conversation about the role towels will play in your sleeping arrangement.

If you sleep alone, this solution actually presents a unique opportunity; feel free to name the towel, maybe give it a personality, and then enjoy late-night talks and early morning cuddles with your new inanimate pal. It's cheaper than a body pillow, right?


2. Ruin the games of others by getting your feet stank everywhere

Massaging your foot also helps cure and prevent PF. But since my personal foot masseuse is on vacation (and my personal hand, head, back, leg, and shoulder masseuses just aren't up to the task), there are other ways of getting a foot massage by using a small ball and rolling it gently under your foot.

Don't have a tennis or baseball handy? No problem! Visit your local park and find a group of people playing tennis or baseball. Wait until the ball gets away from them, sprint towards it with your shoes and socks off, and then rub it on the underside of your foot while moaning softly. Get rid of PF, and make a whole bunch of new friends at the park!

Or jail! Wherever!

3. Melt ice with your feet. Drink water made warm with your feet

If you use the tennis ball approach but don't feel like the massage was ice-numbingly cold enough, you're in luck! Freeze an 8 oz. water bottle, and rub it under foot instead. Not only will you get a cold massage, you get to hear yourself make all sorts of fun noises as a hunk of ice is pressed repeatedly into the underside of your foot.

Then afterwards, you get a drink of water thawed and made lukewarm by your reeking feet! If that isn't a reason to try it, I don't know what is.

4. Hang off of dangerous places by your toes

Of course, there are other ways to stretch your feet besides using your new best friend Towel McTowlington III. Find some steps, and hang the backs of your feet off of them to stretch out your arch and toes.

Not exciting enough? Find other places where this exercise becomes heart-poundingly exhilarating. The edges of a subway platform maybe, In the middle of a crowded staircase during a busy commute. The roof of your house or apartment building. Or stick to steps like some sensible person.

There you have it: four foolproof ways to prevent and cure plantar fasciitis.

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