Saturday, August 27, 2011

Intro and Summary

My sister told me blogging about my foot is just weird, but I know from extensive Googling on the subject that so many people suffer from plantar fasciitis. I don’t really care if no one ever reads this blog, but I hope it will help me keep track of my progress so that I can better describe it to my physical therapist. Even more, I need something to help me deal with this debilitating injury, and I hope this could be it.

For this first post, I just want to summarize my experience so far with PF. I’ve been an avid runner (12 miles/day on average) for about five years. The only thing in my life to equal my love of running is my love of horses. Up until six weeks ago, I couldn’t have imagined my life without either one.

Anyway, about three months ago, I stepped on a rock during one of my long runs (about 20 miles). Seeing as I do this kind of thing all the time, I just kept going. The foot (left) felt fine for about a week, then I had a very slight pain like a bruise, on the inside of my arch, just in front of the heel. I kept running, because it didn’t affect my gait very much.

I don’t really remember it getting progressively worse, until one morning after my run I could hardly walk. I started searching the Internet and came across plantar fasciitis, stories of runners who had kept running through it, and specific exercises to help. I started doing stretches and icing, and rolling a frozen water bottle under my foot. It got a little better, but I felt it when I ran and when I walked, almost constantly. I (stupidly) kept up my usual routine, until I sprained my left ankle.

At least, that’s what the nurse practitioner said. It was actually the bottom edge of the outside of my foot that hurt. Either way, I was in a CAM boot for a week, which aggravated the PF. I was referred to physical therapy as soon as the boot came off.

When I met with the physical therapist, we both agreed that the real problem was the PF. The range of motion in my left ankle was noticeably poor compared to the other side, and I think it was from trying to protect the painful arch every time I stepped on that foot. Anyway, I’ve been in physical therapy for about five weeks now, doing a number of exercises, both stretching and strengthening. We have also tried some different taping techniques (although I swam right out of the latest one).

In the third week he cleared me to run, only a few miles, on a track with plenty of stretching before and after and trying to run on my toes. This only resulted in a depressing backslide that was worse than before I’d started therapy. My foot throbbed even when I wasn’t doing anything. Unable to face the stationary bike or riding the horses, I confined myself to the pool for a while. I haven’t run since, unless you count across the street on my way to class.

As of right now, the swelling on the bottom of my foot is no longer hard, but squishy. I’m not even sure it’s still swollen, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up. Pushing off when I walk is still slightly painful, but I’d guess I’m about where I was before I attempted to run again. At my last session my physical therapist tried ultrasound, which seems to have helped.

In the meantime, I’ve taken up biking, swimming, and water-jogging (both deep and shallow water). I can still ride my horses, which I’m so grateful for as they are my sanity when school gets tough. I’ve learned that I’m really not as terrible a biker as I used to think, and that swimming makes your arms really sore if you haven’t done it in years. But I’m still waiting for the day I can run again.
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