Alternate titles – “Well that hurt!” and “ Remember that one time when Lindsay passed out?  Oh yeah, that was yesterday.”

**WARNING: This is a long post – hoping it will be a resource for people who have PF.**

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I have an entire board on Pinterest named, “Gifts For Lindsay.”  Hint to the hint.

As most of you know, I’ve been battling SEVERE pain in my left heel for two months now.  Actually, the pain started immediately after my last 1/2 marathon back in mid-March, so that’s THREE months of pain.  (I can ADD!)  Some days have been bad, some days I have NO PAIN at all.  I’ve just been chugging along and complaining a lot, but never really slowing down.

I haven’t really been listening to this injury.  And that’s stupid.

My turning point came Monday after teaching Advanced Step.  I felt GREAT while teaching – no pain whatsoever.  (In fact, all last week, I had minimal pain.)

But when I got up to go to bed on Monday night, I could barely walk.  All day Tuesday, I couldn’t put any pressure on that leg.  I knew that I had to go see a doctor.  After yesterday’s X-ray, we now know my pain is plantar fasciitis.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis (PF)? (all information from Web MD)

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the long, flat ligament on the bottom of the foot (plantar fascia) stretches irregularly and develops small tears that may cause the ligament to become inflamed. It causes heel pain, which can become long-lasting.

The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is sharp or knifelike heel pain that usually occurs when a person gets up in the morning and takes the first few steps. The pain also may occur when the person stands up after sitting for a period of time.  <-YES!  Hurts so badly in the morning!

What causes PF?

Plantar fasciitis is the result of repeated stress on the foot that may be caused by normal aging or being overweight. Other causes of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Activities such as running and jumping, which increase weight and stress on the foot.
  • Foot conditions, such as having high arches, flat feet, or tight calf muscles or heel tendons, or walking with an inward twist or roll of the foot (pronation).

After talking to the orthopedist yesterday, the three things that helped contribute to MY PF were:

  • – Training for and running the 1/2 marathon in MINIMALIST SHOES.  (<-interesting, right Heather?)
  • – Step Aerobics
  • – High arch and tight Achilles

Treatment Protocols for PF:

Home treatments:

  • REST
  • Ice packs – rolling your foot along frozen water bottles
  • Strengthening exercises/flexibility exercises
  • Orthotic devices

A doctor may recommend medication, splints, surgery, or physical therapy.

MY Treatment Approach Thus Far:

  • REST:  Our Advanced Step Aerobics teacher had surgery last week and will be out for at least a month.  I’ve been asked to sub for her four times a week.  So REST isn’t an option right now.
  • Ice:  I’ve been icing after each class and when I remember to do it during the day.  Probably not often enough though.
  • Strengthening/Flexibility:  I’ve been good at stretching out my left calf as often as I can!  I’ve also been using the Power Plate at work and a slant board that a friend loaned me, two tools that help stretch out the calf muscle.  Oh, and I’ve discovered that daily yoga helps SO SO much.
  • Orthotic Devices:  A month ago, I went to Foot Rx in Asheville and bought a pair of GREAT insoles (can’t remember the name).  They help with my high arch and have a permanent place in my Brooks right now.  I also contacted Zensah and they’re sending me a compression ankle sleeve that might help!

After much debate, I chose to get a cortisone shot yesterday.

Since I need to be able to perform athletically right now, this option made the most sense.

A cortisone shot is not a fix.  It simply masks the problem.

Once the teacher I’m subbing for comes back, I plan to take at least one week off of any formal exercise, and after that, I’ll probably have to be in the pool quite a bit. I’m ok with this – I NEED it.  I’d rather fix this problem now then have a gimp foot in the future!

So the shot…

Here’s how yesterday went down:

Step 1:  X-Ray

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My orthopedist wanted an X-ray to be sure that my pain wasn’t from a BONE SPUR (calcium deposits in the heel).

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No spur.  Just cool looking bones.

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Step 2:  Wait for the doctor.  Take pictures of legs.  Sing songs in head.  Sing songs out loud.  Embarrass self when doctor walks in to Purple Rain.

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Step 3:  Find the spot.

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Doc poked around with the needle to find the exact spot where the pain was radiating from.  This part hurt pretty badly, but nothing like the shot itself.

Step 4:  Clean the area.

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Step 5:  Numb the area.

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Step 6:  Get the Cortisone Shot.

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Oh buddy, did this HURT.  Not only is the needle HUGE, but it’s being applied into the core of the problem.  Then, after the needle is in, a bunch of liquid has to be forced into a teeny area.  Felt so weird and horrible.

Step 7: Squeal in pain.

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Step 8:  Pass out.

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Oh yes I did.

After the shot, I started to get dizzy so I laid down on the table.  Then maybe 3 minutes later, I felt ok enough to stand up when the doctor wanted to look at my arches.  I was standing, looking down at my feet…then…I had a dream…then…I was laying on the floor, looking up at the doctor and the nurse.  Apparently I told the doc that I didn’t feel well right before I went down.

A pack of crackers, lots of water and the lose of my dignity later, I was fine to leave.

I’m taking the next few days to rest completely.  I got subs for all my classes (thanks Aleah!) and I’m going to focus on healing this thing….until Monday, when I have to teach again.

QUESTION:  Have you ever had a sports injury?  A cortisone shot?  PF?  Ever pass out?

Oh and what are your views on minimalist shoes contributing to PF??

splendid…lindsay

  1. Sarah @ Semi-Sweet says:

    I feel for you! I had an 18-month bout w/PF and it was painful, demoralizing and frustrating. The pain was so bad at one point I was crying for my husband to get me a plastic lawn chair to put in the shower. I couldn’t stand up. I tried a cortisone shot, but it really did nothing for me – in fact, the rebound pain I had initially made it worse for a bit. Looking back, I think time was the best healer (unfortunately, I’m not a patient person and was SO jonesing to work out hard). Physical therapy helped A LOT – foam rolling, calf stretching, massage, ice, etc. etc. etc. Tedious but ultimately got me better. I also started Pilates with a private instructor – could NOT be on my feet at all so I learned how to work out lying down. Again, demoralizing – but amazing – the stretching and strengthening I learned in Pilates helped my whole body. I still do it twice a week to this day and I feel so much better for it. So all this is to say . . . hang in, take care of yourself (I too worked thru the PF at the beginning and made it much worse), and that sometimes, bad situations like this can lead to growth in your fitness, after all.

  2. Jesse James Retherford says:

    Thanks for the article. For treating plantar fasciitis, I have found significant help by performing self massage using a foam roller and lacrosse or soft ball. Here is an article with exercises and descriptions on how to do self massage to treat plantar fasciits pain.

    http://tao-fit.com/self-treatment-for-plantar-fasciitis

    Also getting a deep tissue fascial massage from an highly qualified fascial therapist with experience treating plantar fasciitis can help a ton. I generally see significant results within 2-4 sessions.

    Good luck. I hope it helps.

    Jesse James Retherford
    http://www.tao-fit.com

  3. Ellen says:

    I had the same reaction to getting a cortisone shot in the side of my foot! That was a few years ago and now, whenever a doctor examines that part of my foot (because of continuing problems) I PASS OUT. I went to a super nice podiatrist and passed out on him for THREE visits in a row. So embarrassing. He wasn’t even doing anything scary, just feeling around my foot.

  4. Bex says:

    Running is a sport. Sport causes injury. Goin barefoot is natural and good for you. Being naked = good. Pushing past physical limits = funa dn exciting, but sometimes bad. PS – I pass out all the time. Mostly at the sight of mummies. True story. xo

  5. Calee (@chimes) says:

    I think us fit chicks are pretty bad at continuing working out when we know we have an injury. And probably those of us (not me!) who have pushed out kiddos can deal with it longer … because nothing could compare to that pain I can imagine.

    I was actually on my way over to comment on Tina’s Chicago Marathon post because her experience is the same as what mine was.

    Anyway — try to work on letting this guy rest a bit and recover. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do, but I promise it will be worth it!

  6. Kristina says:

    *sigh*… I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I know the antsy frustration of not working out.

    I hope the cortizone helps – I have had several (another scheduled next month!) and yes, while they only mask pain, they help me considerably. There are days I would not be able to walk without it. I have never passed out, though! I think I lay there way too long ;)

  7. sherice@foodieluvsfitness says:

    My nephew has had that.. OUCH!! I hope the Cortisone helps. Have you thought about rolling out your calf’s and Achilles? That might help loosen up that darn Achilles.. lindsay’s Achilles heal! LOl sorry I had to go there!!

  8. janetha says:

    dude! marshall has it, too. i didn’t realize it was PF when we were talking earlier today. i just read this WHOLE POST to him out loud. he is on his feet all day at work, no bueno, I am gonna make him get to the doc.

  9. Sarah @ The Healthy Diva says:

    Thanks for sharing this lindsay!!! My mom is suffering from PF and I feel so bad when she’s in so much pain that she can’t walk…a lot of your info may really help her so I’m sending the link her way. Hope you feel better :)

  10. Beth @ Miles and Trials says:

    Yes, I have had PF and had the cortisone shot. Didn’t help me at all. All that pain for nothing. I’ve also passed out, but not due to the shot!

    I know everyone is different, but my PF finally went away (after dealing with it off and on for a year) when I switched from my bulky running shoes to more minimal shoes and walking around barefoot a ton. I saw someone else mentioned Newtons and those are the shoes I switched to. I’ve since been able to run 3 marathons this past year with no PF pain at all!

  11. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf says:

    I’m sorry Lindsay! Cortisone shots hurt!! I’ve had 2 shots for PF in the past. After one of them, I felt great and decided to stop off at Whole Foods before getting on the subway to head home. Let’s just say halfway through my grocery shopping visit, I was sitting on the floor of Whole Foods, calling my husband to pick me up. Good luck. PF is no fun at all. Rest is key!!

  12. Krista (kristastes) says:

    no more passing out you!! The cortisone shot should help–the doc might recommend going back for 1-2 more in a few weeks depending on your pain. I am actually starting podiatry school in august because I am so passionate about fixing feet:) My personal and growing professional experience is that minimalist shoes are not ideal for people who do not have a 100% perfect arch. I have flat feet and have had custom orthotics for years. I do lift with minimalist shoes (not vibrams, they have some cushion) but running is definitely not good in them if you have a super high arch. Well, I hope your PF goes away soon! When it flares up sometimes it can take a while (months) to go away completely so just make sure you keep up with your ice/stretch/etc. routine religiously. Take it eassssyyy when you can, too!

  13. Kali says:

    I’ve had PF in both feet for almost a year! Last summer, it was so bad, I didn’t run for a month and just rested and lifted weights until it eventually went away. What works best for me is wearing a night splint and yoga. Down dog is like the greatest thing ever to stretch those muscles. And I work on my feet in a store for 40 hours a week, so I always wear orthotics in my shoes or good old Birkenstocks every day. Just keep resting up and play around with it until you find what works for you. Be patient!

  14. Kirsten says:

    I can’t believe you passed out! Hahaha that is kind of funny. But seriously, great job recognizing your injury and doing something about it. Sometimes it seems easier to just pretend the pain isn’t there right?? Praying you heal quickly!

  15. Colleen says:

    I can’t speak for having PF or for cortisone shots, but I can say that I have a whole lot of experience with passing out in public places. Heat and I don’t get along. It’s never enjoyable, and you never wake up looking like a movie star. I hope you feel better soon!

  16. purelymichelle says:

    Sorry to hear about your injury, and yikes that shot looks intense haha
    I have passed out before at doctors offices when they have taken my blood, I am always at blur when I finally get back to feeling normal.
    I hope you get some relief!

  17. Debbie @ Live from La Quinta says:

    I am an expert on PF. Unfortunately, the way I became an expert was from suffering from it for a very long period of time. I did all of the above (including 2 cortisone shots) and more (sleep in a boot, anyone?).

    Other tips: Don’t go barefoot. Ever. Strengthen feet, too, with towel pulls. Stretch feet too (sit w/ankle over knee, pull back toes).

    My plantar did not completely go away until I had a knee injury and had to take about a month off running. The knee still hurts, but the feet are good.

    My experience is one of the reasons that I am very dubious about minimalist/barefoot running.

    That morning walk to the bathroom, when your feet hurt so bad? It’s called the nursing home shuffle :-)

  18. Andrea @ andi and her candy says:

    In college I had extreme pain in my right Big Toe (I have a pretty ugly bunion on that foot). I swelled up so bad I couldn’t wear shoes and I had so much pain it hurt if a blanket touched my foot. We went to a foot doctor who diagnosed me with gout. (we (mom and I) think he didn’t know what he was talking about as he never did a blood test or anything – and I was a healthy 20 year old at the time).

    We decided to do a cortisone shot and it hurt like a son of a biscuit I tell you. But no more pain in the foot at all. Ever.

    I hope you get a ton of rest (I know it is hard) and it gets better soon!

  19. Heather @ Better With Veggies says:

    This is NOT one of those times I wanted to be right…AT ALL! :( You know my thoughts on minimalist shoes and running, I just know way too many people who have had this same experience (or stress fractures) from running to much mileage in the shoes. I’m not a doctor, so my thoughts are based on anecdotal evidence, but too much experience to wear them myself. I do think they are fine for things like strength training, as far as I can tell.

    I can’t believe you passed out!!

  20. kalli says:

    thank you for writing about this! the last few days i have been wondering what is wrong with my foot and then i googled it last night and this is what i found. totally me! and i have been wearing minimalist shoes too-dang it……what to do. i have been icing, and i did not race last night. should i get new shoes?

  21. Athena @ Fitness & Feta says:

    PF is probably the ONE foot injury I HAVEN’T had. I have flat arches and bunions, so I’ve dealt with that type of foot pain forever, and I’ve also had Achilles tendinitis in my left heel. I pretty much need to wear orthodics and use toe spacers (I sound like I’m 80), and make sure to STILL do my physical therapy exercises to keep my calves loose and therefore my arch and heel pain free. When I was dancing a lot in college, I had to get a cortisone injection into my right toe and it KILLED… but after a few days it really did help mask the pain. Good luck with your recovery! (PS saying recovery instead of injury really does help the mental side of things)

  22. Bev says:

    PF sucks! Running barefoot or wearing minimalist shoes if your feet and calves aren’t strong enough for it can lead to PF. I know quite a few people who changed over to minimalist shoes and kept up their high mileage (not what the shoe company recommends) and now they are all battling PF, PTT, or achilles problems. :-( Something to consider: A.R.T. on your calves. It is super painful but I’ve had good luck with it making PF go away. Good luck!!!

  23. Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries says:

    oh man girlfriend – that shot and passing out certainly doesn’t sound fun. hopefully it’ll be worth it though. i am fairly certain i had PF a few months ago before i decided to stop running and cut back on exercise. if anything, rest certainly helps because i haven’t felt it in months now. you’re right though, it HURTS and is just plain annoying.

  24. Cait @ Beyond Bananas says:

    My mom had (has?) PF – it definitely comes and goes and she has to be careful about the types of shoes shes wears. She nixed the shot – even when it was at its worst (I think?) – but her’s was always the worst in the morning. It was something that would come and go on its own – and I don’t think she has had a flair up in 10 years. (Knock on wood! :).

    My friend just had a cortisone shot in her knee. She didn’t handle it well – and while it felt good immediately (from the numbing spray) when that wore off, she was very sore, swollen and bruised on the injection site itself!

    I hope this gives you some great temporary relief, because I know how much pain my mother used to struggle through!

  25. Shelley Williams says:

    Yikes! Sometimes I get little pains in my heel. Praying this is only a fluke “sometimes” thing. Don’t feel bad about passing out! I’ve passed out my fair share of times at the Doctor. I guess you could say I’m a PRO at it! At least, it looks to me, you had one of the nicest doctors I’ve ever met (i used to work at the hospital when he was in the ER). Plus, Dr. “G” isn’t such a bad sight to to see after waking up from passing out! ;) hehe

  26. Kelly says:

    I am so sorry you have PF. I have heard it is very painful. But okay I HAVE to say this…you mean to tell me there is not another person in this entire world who can teach advanced step 4 times a week? Rest is probably the single most contributing factor to helping with PT. I know you don’t want to and say it isnt an option but I think you need to make it an option. I am sorry if I sound harsh but I have seen friends firsthand struggle for YEARS with PT simply because they could take a break like their body needed.

    • Allie Finch says:

      This is pretty much what I was going to leave as a comment. Unfortunately, REST is really the best treatment. PT can really linger if you don’t seriously address it. I’ve known people who dealt with it for over a year, because they just wouldn’t rest. If it’s borderline, you can nix it pretty easily; but once it crosses that line, it can be stubborn.
      Another thing to keep in mind is warming up your feet REALLY WELL before doing anything – getting out of bed, standing up to walk – otherwise you are just constantly tearing/straining cold, inflamed tissue. I get pretty nervous about speaking out against minimalist shoes in the blog world, but now I’m wishing I had more. I’m glad you’ve found insoles that help. How does the ice feel? I’ve never recommended ice for PT. Most tendonitis (which is essentially what PT is) responds really well to ice; but for some reason, the fascia on our feet can really hate it – but if it doesn’t bother you, go for it. I could see icing your calves being helpful too. Often PT is really coming from an issue/weakness/overuse in the calves. Stretching those should keep helping too.
      I wouldn’t necessarily do this just yet – especially after the cortisol shot – but things like rolling out your feet are really helpful for preventative treatment: http://colourmehappy.typepad.com/colour-me-happy/2012/04/healthy-happy-feet-two-easy-exercises.html

  27. Steph @fitmomtraining says:

    I’ve been lucky enough to avoid this particular injury to point but have had a host of others (patellar femoral syndrome, achillies tendonitis among others). Praying the rest and therapy does your body good!

  28. Bonnie says:

    Whoa momma – passed out? Yikes! Been there before with the passing out but not with the PF…so sorry to hear about that pain! Hoping for a swift recovery for you, Linds – my mom had it and I know what a pain it really can be.

    No thoughts or connections that I’ve made b/w PF and minimalist shoes – they work for my feet and that’s the main experience I can speak from.

    Hope today goes a little better than yesterday! PS – the fact that you got the doctor to take your picture after you fainted cracks me up. ;) I love you!

  29. Heather says:

    OMG! Im so sorry! That stinks! I hope it helps your foot though.
    I have trouble with my iT bands and had a stress fracture back in november in my foot. I started wearing newtons in January and so far I really love them. Still have cushion and spport but not so springy and dont have a high heel.

  30. Katie @ Katie Moves says:

    Ahhh good old PF. I have had it on and off since I was in HS (I’m 23) and I can say I have random flare ups still. It happens a lot when I run often so I keep running to 2-3 times a week. (playing field hockey in college landed Me in the training room a lot for this pain) It’s actually part of the reason I took up cycling because it keeps my feet really happy! 2 years ago I got great foamy custom orthotics and when I run I wear nice cushy shoes. It seems to help a lot. Also when I don’t have any frozen water bottles I like to use a baseball to roll my foot out cause the stitches on it feel great! Golf balls work too! PS I would have hit the floor with that cortisone shot too!!!

  31. Gabby @ Gabby's Gluten-Free says:

    Eeeek! PF is no fun. Every since I had a stress fracture in my foot, I get it if my calf gets too tight. Those shots huuuurt. I’ve never had one in my foot but I regularly get gel injections in my left knee. Hope you feel better soon!

  32. Tina @ Best Body Fitness says:

    Oh my goodness ouch! I can only imagine how much that hurt. I hope your heel starts healing for you soon. It seems like that Atlanta half was evil to both of us since we have both been battling injury since then. Grrrr. We WILL heal! We WILL! Mainly because us crazy fitness obsessed gals have to, right? ;)

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