A recurring running injury is not only physically challenging, but it is mentally tricky. While most of your brain says “REST” your heart says “RUN GO GET THOSE ENDORPHINS!” — and then your brain becomes a fickle beats. I don’t know about you, but I can always rationalize pain for endorphins. And I almost always regret it.
My mortal nemesis is Plantar Fasciitis. I’ve been plagued with it several times over the past few years.
You’d think I would know how to prevent it at this point, but each time it’s been triggered by something different (this time, it’s because I’m a complete klutz and I fell)– my high arches and skinny heels don’t help. Regardless of HOW is happens, I have been able to successfully recover from it. The method to my madness is outlined below. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
- As soon as I feel the PF flares up, I ignore it.
Obviously, this is not all going to be good advice. I KNOW that when I feel that aching sensation in my heel, I should stop running. But I am stubborn, as are most runners I know. I can mentally psych myself out for a few runs before I come to the full realization that I really need to stop running. I ran a full marathon during a miserable PF flare two years ago. I didn’t even want to run the marathon!
- Once I am truly out for the count, I complain about it. Endlessly. Duh.
- Rest, rest, rest, rest, rest.
Maybe drink some wine or go on vacation. You’ll never feel lazier or like you wanted to work out MORE. I’m not going to lie – it sucks.
- Perform horrible painful acts of torture
I use a golf ball on the sole of my foot to release some of the tension on the fascia. It’s just about the worst pain I have ever felt – and I had a 9.5lb baby without drugs (not intentionally – that’s a story for another time). After I use the golf ball, I roll it around on a frozen water bottle. I’ve also had my chiropractor perform Active Release on my fascia (poor dude – my foot are THE WORST). It might feel the worst at the time, but I swear it’s worth it.
- Complain about how horrible life is.
Lack of endorphins = a horrible, terrible, no-good person. And I’m sorry, but cross training is definitely NOT the same.
- Wear the sexy sock.
I think it speaks for itself.
The sock looks ridiculous but it helps stretch both the fascia and your calf. It also makes your toes go numb, so I can only wear for 4-5 hours before ripping it off in the middle of the night. It does help… you just can’t feel your toes. Who needs toes?
Especially your calf and your soleus… This is something I ALWAYS neglect to do and it really has made a HUGE difference in my recovery. You use your upper calf muscles when sprinting and your soleus for endurance runs, so make sure you stretch BOTH. The soleus stretch (https://youtu.be/1i8QwoscojU) especially has brought me back onto the road of recovery. Here are some lame pictures of me stretching. You get the point.
- Check yourself.
Make sure you aren’t running in old shoes. Also make sure those shoes are the right FIT for you and are laced correctly. The wrong shoes (or just a slight change/update to a shoe) has contributed (or even caused) a PF flare up. Also make sure you’re running in the right socks. It’s ridiculous how simple these things seem, yet they have really messed me up
- Once you feel like yourself again, start slow and rebuild.
Wow, this part is horrible. I’m here right now and I have my good days and my bad days. I’m also terrified I’m going to hurt myself yet again. Just know that it’s not easy, but you can get back to your old self. PR at BDR Orlando??? I’m coming for you!
- Vow to never let it happen again.
I’m going to be smart this time. Suuuuuuure.
Michelle is a Best Damn Race Ambassador and the author of the blog Crazy Running Legs. You can read more about her and her running adventures HERE.