Plantar Fasciitis: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

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In September of 2012, I noticed a strange pain in my heel when I woke up and started to walk around. I didn’t tell anyone because it didn’t seem like a big deal. I didn’t think too much of it and figured that it would go away if I stopped abusing it. Then, the pain got worse. I started to really rest it (which meant I stopped running and working out… but I still had to dance on it for work.) I thought to myself, “Do I have a bone spur or a hairline fracture? What is going on?”

Then, it spread to the other heel.

WHAT. THE. HELL?!?

I didn’t know injuries could travel like that… just jump from one foot to the other.

It was now December 2012, and I was in so much pain it was affecting just walking around my apartment (not to mention my inability to properly do my job as a dancer.) Finally, I went to see an orthopedic specialist at the Campbell’s Clinic in Memphis, TN. It was around Christmas, and I was visiting family. I had been dealing with a pain that started as annoying and progressed to unable to painlessly walk in three months.

They did X-rays and some other minor tests. I was shown to a room. The doctor eventually came in, listened to what I had to say, and then told me he knew exactly what it was: plantar fasciitis. (P.S. my X-ray came back clean without any fracture, so he was quite confident.)

He gave me a sheet of paper with a few guidelines and sent me on my way. I was slightly in shock about the entire thing. I’d been trying desperately to fix and rest my foot, and this paper said all I needed were a few stretches and ice. Oh, and the doctor said I could start running again. That seemed crazy to me… I could barely walk.

So, I did the stretches in the morning. I iced my feet at night. It started to get better. I started to run again. I started to dance again. I kept on stretching and icing. It got much better.  Now, I don’t know if it was the icing or the stretching, but I really think it was that I finally had a NAME for what was going on with me. If I knew what to call it, I could make it my bitch.

Knowing I didn’t have some sort of hairline fracture made it seem okay for me to get back to living my physical life. In just a short amount of time, just two or three weeks, it was completely gone.

And it stayed gone. It was a miracle. For eight months, I was bouncing around like a maniac.

Yesterday, it came back. Like friggin’ glitter that never gets out of the carpet no matter how many times you vacuum. Or like a venereal disease.

I feel like I have VD of the foot.

I’ve been waking up with a slight stiffness in my achilles tendon on the left foot. I stretched it but I knew what was coming. Yesterday morning, that little pain in my left heel was there. Not. Again. NO!

So, that’s where I am. My stupid plantar fasciitis seems to be coming back, and I’m leaving town in two days to choreograph a concert. I really don’t have time to deal with this… but I’m gonna make some time. You better believe I’m not going to sit around and hope this thing goes away. Nope. Not this time.

As soon as I felt it, I sat up in bed and started looking up information online. I decided I’d visit a running store and get some supplies. I’m very fortunate that I chose to go to The Running Company in Columbus Circle in NYC. I went to the counter and asked for someone who knew about plantar fasciitis, and they brought me to Mac. He knew exactly what I was dealing with because he deals with it too. (It was comforting to see him so open and positive about solutions to it. I was feeling pretty dark, but Mac brought a little hope into my Wednesday afternoon.)

Here’s what he hooked me up with:

ball and roller

They see me rollin’… they hating!

Triggerpoint ball and roller. Ballin!

In the morning (when the pain in my heel is at its worst) I’ll drop the ball on the floor and use it to roll around my heel and arch as I put some of my weight on it. I’ll use the roller to roll out the tightness in my calves that is causing a lot of my problem (I had NO idea my calves were involved in plantar fasciitis. That sheet I got from the doc in December conveniently left that little tidbit out.) Mac also suggested stretching my hamstrings and rolling out my glutes. No problem! Done.

He also suggested going for a ten-minute ice bath on a semi-regular basis. Man, that’s gonna suck. I mean, I’ll  happily roll and stretch and ice my feet at night, but I’ve gotta work up to the ice bath.

So that’s where I am. I’m at the beginning of one of the worst things that has happened to me happening to me, again. (I do realize if plantar fasciitis is one of the “worst” things that has happened to me, I got it pretty good. Totally realize that. I have it better than a lot of people if I’m worried about my tootsies rather than worried about immanent threat to my survival on a daily basis. I got it.)

Anyway, I’ll keep you updated because I know a lot of you out there are dealing with this thing too. Thanks for reading, and if you have experience with this or any suggestions, please, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment. 

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