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Plantar Fasciitis

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debigetsout

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
all
I am interested in hearing how people have successfully overcome plantar fasciitis. I have tried numerous different shoes and boots (Hokas do help somewhat), special orthotics, Strassburg socks, athletic therapy, and seeking out soft surfaces and avoiding hard, but it keeps re-occurring. I think that my main shortcoming is that I have not kept stretching the problem area regularly, which should be easy, right?

Looking forward to your good advice....
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
I am interested in hearing how people have successfully overcome plantar fasciitis. I have tried numerous different shoes and boots (Hokas do help somewhat), special orthotics, Strassburg socks, athletic therapy, and seeking out soft surfaces and avoiding hard, but it keeps re-occurring. I think that my main shortcoming is that I have not kept stretching the problem area regularly, which should be easy, right?

Looking forward to your good advice....
Kuru
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I am interested in hearing how people have successfully overcome plantar fasciitis. I have tried numerous different shoes and boots (Hokas do help somewhat), special orthotics, Strassburg socks, athletic therapy, and seeking out soft surfaces and avoiding hard, but it keeps re-occurring. I think that my main shortcoming is that I have not kept stretching the problem area regularly, which should be easy, right?

Looking forward to your good advice....
Here is a repost of what I have previously written and posted for those concerned with Plantars Fasciitis:

Top Exercises to Help Avoid Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common type of chronic heel pain. It seems to affect young male athletes and middle-aged obese women more than any other group, but that does not mean other groups are immune to it. The inflamed tissue around the heel seems to cause a stabbing-like sensation, which is worse in the morning. This condition may be prevented, and the following exercises will help you do that.

Arch Stretching
Stretching your arch muscles is not too difficult, but the exercise is a little peculiar. The first thing you need to do is take off your shoes and get barefoot, and then place a towel on the floor. Now, simply place your foot on the towel, and curl your toes to clench the towel. Pull the towel toward you, and that is it. Place the towel in front of you again, and repeat. Be sure to do the same for your other foot.

This exercise is typically suggested by professionals for those who actually have plantar fasciitis already, but it can definitely be helpful to everyone. You should try and do this several times a week, but make sure to not overstretch your feet while you’re doing it.

Calf Strengthening
The calf and the tendons surrounding your heel need to be strengthened. A simple exercise that may help you do this is calf raises. What you want to do is stand straight on level ground. You should be barefooted for best traction, but it is not absolutely necessary. Now, all you have to do is lift your heels off the ground so that you are standing on your toes. Stay in this position as long as you can before returning your heels to the ground, and just repeat this at least nine more times.

Another way to do this exercise that works great is to stand at the edge of a stair or curb. You want your toes to be what keeps you on the stair or curb. Then, raise your heels up so that you are on your “tippy toes” and then back down again, but allow your heels to go lower than your toes past the edge of the stair or curb. This exercise allows for a fuller stretch.

Alleviate Pronation
Pronation is a natural part of your foot’s movement. This refers to how the foot rolls and applies pressure when the heel finally hits the ground. Pronation may be normal, but that does not mean the constant shock it receives when you walk or run does not have an effect on it. One way you can alleviate the pressure is to try doming. To do this, just place your foot flat on the ground, and then press your toes on the ground while keeping your heels firmly on the floor. This should create a dome between your heel and toes. Maintain this position for 10 seconds, straighten your foot, and then just start again.

Work the Interossei
The Interossei muscles help support your arch muscles thus preventing this issue. All you have to do is place a large rubber band around your toes for resistance. Then, stretch your toes and hold for 10 seconds. Squeeze your toes for another 10 seconds, and repeat these steps about five to 10 times.

What to Do When Your Feet Are Hurting?
Whether or not you’re at risk of getting Plantar Fasciitis, you’re going to come across a time where you’re feet are going to hurt. Maybe you were standing all day at work, ran a marathon, or whatever. If your feet are hurting, take a break and rest, stretch, and recover. Get off your feet for a little bit and either ice or heat your feet. If you notice any swelling or severe pain, then ice it. If it’s just sore, then apply heat with a hot bath. Then, make sure to rub out the tension and to do some basic exercises. You can try the ones above or do some other types. One popular one is to roll a tennis ball underneath the feet. This helps to preserve the arch and massage it at the same time
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Great advice @davebugg.

If this does not get rid of all the pain...........
My wife walked the CGF with Plantaar Fasciitis last year.
It's a chronic condition for her sadly.

What helps her:
a week before we go she gets Cortizone shots in the the PF directly. It's done under ultrasound.
She avoids walking on hard surfaces! She'll find every tiny bit of grass or gravel at the side of the road...
And of course Rest, Ice, Elevation.
Stretching regularly.
She also wears custom orthotics.
And under Doctors advice, whilst walking, takes 4 hourly doses of pain killer / anti-inflammatories.

We have also tried a small folding bucket that we fill with cold water when ice is not available.

I would start on the regime that Dave advises, but if all else fails............it can be 'managed' to some degree.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Great advice @davebugg.

If this does not get rid of all the pain...........
My wife walked the CGF with Plantaar Fasciitis last year.
It's a chronic condition for her sadly.

What helps her:
a week before we go she gets Cortizone shots in the the PF directly. It's done under ultrasound.
She avoids walking on hard surfaces! She'll find every tiny bit of grass or gravel at the side of the road...
And of course Rest, Ice, Elevation.
Stretching regularly.
She also wears custom orthotics.
And under Doctors advice, whilst walking, takes 4 hourly doses of pain killer / anti-inflammatories.

We have also tried a small folding bucket that we fill with cold water when ice is not available.

I would start on the regime that Dave advises, but if all else fails............it can be 'managed' to some degree.
Exactly the same for me except that my cortisone shots aren’t done under ultrasound with the associated expense. On this recent Camino de Invierno which was mostly on asphalt, I had no problem because I walked in boots instead of soft trail runners. No blisters, no wet feet, no pain. I also used custom orthotics and did go fir special foot and leg massages 3 times per week for 3 weeks leading up to the trip. I stretched each day and used a roller on my feet each night.
This time I listened to my podiatrist and used the type of hiking boots I’ve always worn for backpacking. Worked for me.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Keep in mind that Plantar's Fasciitis is an injury from various causes. Rest and Ice and anti-inflammatory as recommended by your provider are needed when things are flaring up or are initially beginning. The exercises can help after the initial flare up has calmed, but caution must be observed in exercising or stretching already seriously inflamed tissues.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Keep in mind that Plantar's Fasciitis is an injury from various causes. Rest and Ice and anti-inflammatory as recommended by your provider are needed when things are flaring up or are initially beginning. The exercises can help after the initial flare up has calmed, but caution must be observed in exercising or stretching already seriously inflamed tissues.
Very true. I had a PT that advised me to do heel dips on a step for Achilles Tendonitis.
Just made it worse :oops:

I now make sure I get 2nd and 3rd opinions. Doctor, Podiatrist, Physio....
 

Philip Nelson

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May (2018)
For me about 2 months in Crocs. Worked for my brother also. All the exercises, stretches, etc., did nothing or very little. What helped when I was walked from SJPP to Santiago was some good inserts (green Superfeet). Whenever it starts to flare up, back into Crocs or other shoes I have learned over time don't aggravate it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis September/October 2015
Camino Portuguese Lisbon to Santiago March/April 2019
Voltaren gel works great at reducing the inflammation. It takes a few days to work, but if I know I will be doing a lot of walking I apply it as a precaution.
 

duncanwhyte

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Arles way
I had it for about 18 months. I was a runner when it started. I think that was the main cause. But it could have been an ordinary amount of daily walking. A year later it almost made a comeback, and for a few days I had the symptoms. But I have been okay since than, and usually walk with a 30lb backpack.

It's something that needs to heal in its own time, and will be different with each person.
 

mguillen

MGuillen
Camino(s) past & future
2019
I am interested in hearing how people have successfully overcome plantar fasciitis. I have tried numerous different shoes and boots (Hokas do help somewhat), special orthotics, Strassburg socks, athletic therapy, and seeking out soft surfaces and avoiding hard, but it keeps re-occurring. I think that my main shortcoming is that I have not kept stretching the problem area regularly, which should be easy, right?

Looking forward to your good advice....
Thx for the thread. I have it as well and will be walking no matter what in September!
 

mguillen

MGuillen
Camino(s) past & future
2019
Great advice @davebugg.

If this does not get rid of all the pain...........
My wife walked the CGF with Plantaar Fasciitis last year.
It's a chronic condition for her sadly.

What helps her:
a week before we go she gets Cortizone shots in the the PF directly. It's done under ultrasound.
She avoids walking on hard surfaces! She'll find every tiny bit of grass or gravel at the side of the road...
And of course Rest, Ice, Elevation.
Stretching regularly.
She also wears custom orthotics.
And under Doctors advice, whilst walking, takes 4 hourly doses of pain killer / anti-inflammatories.

We have also tried a small folding bucket that we fill with cold water when ice is not available.

I would start on the regime that Dave advises, but if all else fails............it can be 'managed' to some degree.
Thx for anti inflammatory advice. Will do!
 

Re-tired

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
I am interested in hearing how people have successfully overcome plantar fasciitis. I have tried numerous different shoes and boots (Hokas do help somewhat), special orthotics, Strassburg socks, athletic therapy, and seeking out soft surfaces and avoiding hard, but it keeps re-occurring. I think that my main shortcoming is that I have not kept stretching the problem area regularly, which should be easy, right?

Looking forward to your good advice....
I suffered a great deal from PF and wasted a lot of money on commercial orthotics and insoles until I finally insisted on my medical insurance provider sending me to a podiatrist. My podiatrist has treated thousands of people with PF. In the most severe cases, he has to perform surgery to snip a little tendon in the calf area and this always releaves the simptoms. He told me there is a giant industry out there to sell people orthotics and inserts that he feels is entirely unecessary. He says the studies show orthotics only help people accomodate an un-natural structural problem but not cure it. In my case he prescribed the following course of action and it worked! No more PF.

First, he gave me a shot of cortizone in my heel. Instant relief.

1. Stretch your calf (and Plantar Fasciia) by placing the front of your foot up against a wall at a 45 degree angle. Lean your body so that your chest comes close to the wall. Hold this stretched position for 1 minute, rest a minute and repeat for 5 repetitions. Do this frequently throughout the day and especially before and after a long walk, after training, first thing when you wake up and just before bed.

2. Retrain your feet to accommodate a Zero-drop shoe. This is a process that can take as long as a year when done correctly. Done incorrectly, you can end up back at the podiatrist with other foot problems. The issue is that most of the shoes sold by the big name companies like Nike and Brooks have a heel-to-toe drop of around 12mm. He likened this to walking around in high-heels all day and that the human foot was designed for flat walking. He opened up a browser and pointed to a very specific shoe to begin my transition - the Hoka One One Stinson ATR trail runners. These shoes have a 5mm drop. He cautioned me not to get other Hokas because the cushioning in the Stinsons was the best in the Hoka line. If you go on Hoka's website you will see that they rate their cushion as "plush".

3. Wear the Hokas everywhere for at least 6 months to allow my feet to adapt to a lower drop.

4. Buy a pair of Altra Olympus trail runners. Again he cautioned me to avoid the cult following of Altra Timp and Lone Peak. He said for the PF recovery, it was important to get the best cushioning available and the Olympus model has the best. Alternate wearing the Altras and the Hokas for at least three weeks as going directly to a zero-drop shoe could create other foot issues. After this period of transition wear the Altras more often. After 1 year, you should be able to wear the Altra or Hokas with out any further issues.

I now stay mostly with the Hokas as the Olympus model is very hard to find in my area and I don't care for ordering online and then returning when shoes don't fit. A really nice benefit of both the Hokas and the Altras is a much bigger and more naturally shaped toe box. No more blisters!
 

Swift3

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP, Porto to SdC, May/June 2016
I had PF years ago. I searched all the solutions, including surgery. What ended up working, on my internists advice, was incredibly inexpensive and effective. I got a few pair of Dr. Scholl's gel heel cup shoe inserts and wore them all the time. After a week or so, no more PF. I continued to wear them for about a year, then forgot to put them in another pair of shoes and had no problem so just quit wearing them. That was maybe 10 years ago and no recurrence. YMMV.
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
Kuru bomb for pf
 

Carolethecatlover

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2018
I had PF years ago. I searched all the solutions, including surgery. What ended up working, on my internists advice, was incredibly inexpensive and effective. I got a few pair of Dr. Scholl's gel heel cup shoe inserts and wore them all the time. After a week or so, no more PF. I continued to wear them for about a year, then forgot to put them in another pair of shoes and had no problem

Greetings from a retired podiatrist: UK/AUS version (we don't do surgery like our US cousins).
All the advice above is good. EXCEPT the cortisone shots, do those more than a couple of times and they cause the bone to lose structure. Sure, stop the pain, but long term NO. Overuse has killed a lot of sporting careers.
ONE: Stretching, do the towel stretch BEFORE you get out of bed. The minute you put weight on the foot, it's too late. If you are sharing with an amenable partner, get him/her to massage the foot before putting weight on it.
TWO: Take a rest day. It's an amble, not a race.
THREE: The Gel cups are a great help. (Send me your address and I'll send you a clean, sterilized used, top of the range pair....if I can find them).
FOUR: Reverse heel, known to oldies like me as the Earth Shoe.
Needs practice, and yes, some crocs are like this. Wear in before going on any long walk.
FIVE: Check that you are not a 'toe walker'. Some people never let their heels touch the ground. Heel down every step. PRACTICE.

This can be caused by injury, I stepped on a round stone under the arch, and tore the plantar fascia (iitis=inflammation of). It took 18 months to heal, and I had the opportunity to try all the treatments, official and unofficial. By chance, I discovered the stretching before putting weight on it was the most effective by far, and strangely, for many people the most difficult to remember to do.
Age and a general stiffening of ligaments is the main cause. So stretch. This is why the itty bitty surgical slice of the tendons works. It is not a cut through, just an angled cut to lengthen the too tight tendon.
Othotics can help, but they are expensive and useless if you find them too uncomfortable to wear. Off the shelf and well padded, you can buy 'chiropodists felt' in various thicknesses and cut to size, comes with a sticky back. I took lots on my Le Puy to Cahors walk, and padded out a few peoples' shoes.
WHICH reminds me of the worse cases of bad shoes on the GR65 I saw were, not the shoes, but the feet. 2 black French people had the worse collection of blisters and shoe to foot damage I have ever seen. Of course this was the walking....on the long walk I thought about this and came to the conclusion that it was the feet, different genetically, the 'bump' of the heel is more pronounced, the wider forefoot, nice high arch, but high on the top of the foot, hence rubbing on the shoe tongue (pad with chiropodists' felt)...so if you are black...try on a lot of shoes...most shoes are made on lasts for narrow no heel bump European feet. Since most of the world's top runners are black, there must be shoes out there made for black feet. Just in Australia, very few people of any race or colour wear shoes if they can avoid it. We are the only white race that regularly goes barefoot.

Please, if you have a foot problem, see a podiatrist first. We only do feet, we are really good at feet, some of us love fungi (guilty), and some of us think we should 'do' hands too. But we are the FOOT experts. It exasperates me when people go to MDs for their foot problems, do you go to your MD for your tooth problems?
 

CatherineAnn

CF summer 2016
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012)
Camino Frances (2016)
I am interested in hearing how people have successfully overcome plantar fasciitis. I have tried numerous different shoes and boots (Hokas do help somewhat), special orthotics, Strassburg socks, athletic therapy, and seeking out soft surfaces and avoiding hard, but it keeps re-occurring. I think that my main shortcoming is that I have not kept stretching the problem area regularly, which should be easy, right?

Looking forward to your good advice....
Hokas were the only shoes I could wear for about a year. Unfortunately my planters fasciitis came right before my second Camino in 2016. I hobbled all the way across Spain and then again for a few months and then it went away. I can’t tell you what I did to make it go away but I had it for over a year didn’t do anything different and then it went away.
 

Cynthia Knapp

Rock Hopper
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPDP-SDC 2016, Camino Portuguese 2018
Finisterre-Muxia 2018
I suffered a great deal from PF and wasted a lot of money on commercial orthotics and insoles until I finally insisted on my medical insurance provider sending me to a podiatrist. My podiatrist has treated thousands of people with PF. In the most severe cases, he has to perform surgery to snip a little tendon in the calf area and this always releaves the simptoms. He told me there is a giant industry out there to sell people orthotics and inserts that he feels is entirely unecessary. He says the studies show orthotics only help people accomodate an un-natural structural problem but not cure it. In my case he prescribed the following course of action and it worked! No more PF.

First, he gave me a shot of cortizone in my heel. Instant relief.

1. Stretch your calf (and Plantar Fasciia) by placing the front of your foot up against a wall at a 45 degree angle. Lean your body so that your chest comes close to the wall. Hold this stretched position for 1 minute, rest a minute and repeat for 5 repetitions. Do this frequently throughout the day and especially before and after a long walk, after training, first thing when you wake up and just before bed.

2. Retrain your feet to accommodate a Zero-drop shoe. This is a process that can take as long as a year when done correctly. Done incorrectly, you can end up back at the podiatrist with other foot problems. The issue is that most of the shoes sold by the big name companies like Nike and Brooks have a heel-to-toe drop of around 12mm. He likened this to walking around in high-heels all day and that the human foot was designed for flat walking. He opened up a browser and pointed to a very specific shoe to begin my transition - the Hoka One One Stinson ATR trail runners. These shoes have a 5mm drop. He cautioned me not to get other Hokas because the cushioning in the Stinsons was the best in the Hoka line. If you go on Hoka's website you will see that they rate their cushion as "plush".

3. Wear the Hokas everywhere for at least 6 months to allow my feet to adapt to a lower drop.

4. Buy a pair of Altra Olympus trail runners. Again he cautioned me to avoid the cult following of Altra Timp and Lone Peak. He said for the PF recovery, it was important to get the best cushioning available and the Olympus model has the best. Alternate wearing the Altras and the Hokas for at least three weeks as going directly to a zero-drop shoe could create other foot issues. After this period of transition wear the Altras more often. After 1 year, you should be able to wear the Altra or Hokas with out any further issues.

I now stay mostly with the Hokas as the Olympus model is very hard to find in my area and I don't care for ordering online and then returning when shoes don't fit. A really nice benefit of both the Hokas and the Altras is a much bigger and more naturally shaped toe box. No more blisters!
Appreciate your explanation. Have you had any toe pain? I developed toe pain wearing Altras.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I had PF at the beginning of my 2016 Camino, for the first week or so. Actually, I think it started a week or two before the Camino. I'm not sure entirely what it was that caused it to go away. At the time, I thought it was the knee problems. It seemed I was so focused on the knee pain I had know space left to feel heel pain. In restrospect, I expect that the things I was doing to manage the knee pain NSAIDs, hiking poles, etc. may have also helped with the PF.
 

Raqdoll

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
Dealing with PF on the Camino Francés now. A lovely, bespectacled man named Hermon (a kinesiologist who was working in the SJPDP pilgrims office) taped my arch up in Orisson and cut a hole in the heel of my insole (for heel pain from a spur most likely). He may have single handedly saved my Camino.

We’re in Logroño now and I’ve been keeping up with massage, and stretching (thanks for the tip about doing so before putting weight on the foot!) But I think I need to tape my arch again - thankfully there’s YouTube for guidance on the procedure.
 

brambles

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inca (2018)
Camino Frances (June/July 2019)
I am experiencing very painful PF on my right heel. We are in Leon now. I am ditching my Altras for a pair of Brooks that I bought here yesterday (2 sizes larger than usual due to swelling) I'll am icing and taking 600 ibuprophen. Can anyone recommend someone for me to see to massage it or take a better look to give an assessment and opinion on the condition?
 

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