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Plantar Fasciitis

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
I almost did not do my first French Camino- because of pain in my foot - the tendons that run along the foot's arch - known as Plantar fasciitis - they get inflamed and it makes it very painful to walk. I learned a lot about it, just before doing the 500 mile Route Frances, three year's ago.

Just a month ago, I had been walking in the same worn out water-proof Columbia running shoes I had taken on the Primitvo and the Ingles Route--- which I did in combination last March.
The shoes had the outer heals really worn down, because when I walk my foot turns outward a bit - called supinated (pronated is the opposite when the foot turns inward a bit - so the shoe will wear more on the inside edge in that case).
I also have high arches--- which means I need a shoe with good arch support. The Columbia was not the best in terms of arch support - they were water-proof and so my reason for taking them on a March Camino.

So a month ago the pain in the bottom of my foot came back - Plantar fasciitis again!

This time I knew exactly what to do.

First I threw out the Columbia's with the worn outside edges.

Next I got a pair of ASICS Gel Nimbus 20 or 22 with great arch support and with a firm heal counter - they really help with Plantar fasciitis which incidentally tends to affect active men 40-70 - I am in that category. It affect women also - but less than men.

It is hard to get rid of ---because there can be a build up of necrotic tissue around the tendon sheath - which adds to the inflammation. You have to break up that dead tissue.

Now this may sound a bit weird, but I have a medium sized hammer with a steel shaft that has an edge to the shaft.
I stroke the bottom of my affected foot 25 time - from heal to toe. Firmly and rhythmically with the edge of the hammer shaft to help break up the necrotic tissues. I did this every night before bed for 10 days.
I suppose you could use the shaft of a big screw driver or a blunt side of a butter knife as well.

Some physical therapist will have you roll the bottom of you foot on a golf ball the achieve the same result. Breaks up the dead tissue around the inflamed tendon.

In two weeks - with the new ASICS GEL NIMBUS 22 AND THE HAMMER EDGE - I was cured.

If your shoes are getting worn ( like a tire alignment ) on the inside or the outside - time to throw them out! Or at least use them for something other than long distance walking.
 
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nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Standing on a step or kerb and lowering your heel over the edge to gently and repeatedly stretch the tendon also works along the way, as does rolling your foot on a cold can of drink while resting (or tying it to your foot). And I think I'd rather bring a golf ball on the camino than a hammer but I see your point. For me the biggest and most effective change was to get super cushioned shoes, in my case Hoka One One Speedgoats - I wanted a model with a vibram sole specifically to avoid any uneven wear - which have made a huge difference. I also never ever walk barefoot on flat hard surfaces, I wear Birkenstock EVA (plastic) foot friendly slip-on sandals both at home and take them on the camino. Haven't had a bad flare-up since 2014!
 

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padre eric

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
I feel your pain! In 2015 I developed PF in both feet...suddenly, out of nowhere, while training for a half marathon - and prepping for my first Camino scheduled to begin in May of 2016. For me, many months of trying to control it (let alone cure it), resulted in failure. One month before my Camino I was advised by a wonderful hiking expert to get my feet into a strong shoe. Strong meaning a shoe that when holding the heel and toe, you cannot twist or torque it. That resulted in my first hiking boot - Keen Targhees mid. Then the same person inserted a Birkenstock cork insert. I left for the Camino not knowing if I would complete the first day...so bad was my experience that when I got out of the car when running errands I would have to stretch each time before trying to walk. They say miracles happen on the Camino - I believe it. By the time I arrived in Pamplona my pain was gone. I really believe that with the support offered by the shoe combination and the stretching involved by walking the mountain trails, my PF was healed. I continue to wear combinations of that set-up to this day and have never had a recurrence. Thanks, Terry, for touching on this topic. Take care of your feet!
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I almost did not do my first French Camino- because of pain in my foot - the tendons that run along the foot's arch - known as Plantar fasciitis - they get inflamed and it makes it very painful to walk. I learned a lot about it, just before doing the 500 mile Route Frances, three year's ago.

Just a month ago, I had been walking in the same worn out water-proof Columbia running shoes I had taken on the Primitvo and the Ingles Route--- which I did in combination last March.
The shoes had the outer heals really worn down, because when I walk my foot turns outward a bit - called supinated (pronated is the opposite when the foot turns inward a bit - so the shoe will wear more on the inside edge in that case).
I also have high arches--- which means I need a shoe with good arch support. The Columbia was not the best in terms of arch support - they were water-proof and so my reason for taking them on a March Camino.

So a month ago the pain in the bottom of my foot came back - Plantar fasciitis again!

This time I knew exactly what to do.

First I threw out the Columbia's with the worn outside edges.

Next I got a pair of ASICS Gel Nimbus 20 or 22 with great arch support and with a firm heal counter - they really help with Plantar fasciitis which incidentally tends to affect active men 40-70 - I am in that category. It affect women also - but less than men.

It is hard to get rid of ---because there can be a build up if necrotic tissue around the tendon sheath - which adds to the inflammation.

Now this may sound a bit weird, but I have a medium sized hammer with a steel shaft that has an edge to the shaft.
I stroke the bottom of my affected foot 25 time - from heal to toe. Firmly and rhythmically with the edge of the hammer shaft to help break up the necrotic tissues. I did this every night before bed for 10 days.
I suppose you could use the shaft of a big screw driver or a blunt side of a butter knife as well.

Some physical therapist will have you roll the bottom of you foot on a golf ball the achieve the same result. Breaks up the dead tissue around the inflamed tendon.

In two weeks - with the new ASICS GEL NIMBUS 22 AND THE HAMMER EDGE - I was cured.

If your shoes are getting worn ( like a tire alignment ) on the inside or the outside - time to throw them out! Or at least use them for something other than long distance walking.

I’ve had PF from time to time and your condition seems a lot like mine. I had to abandon the Camino de Madrid in 2019 when it flared up.

Using a firm massage ball in the morning before my feet even touch the floor helped, calf massage and stretching to minimise tension on the achilles also.

What seems to have resolved the issue for me is significant weight-loss.
 

Pilgrim Magnolia

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Finesterre spring 2018
Porto to Muxia fall 2019
I developed pf when I used to run, ouch! For the Camino I had orthotics in my shoes and I also taped my arches with kinesiology tape, on my physiotherapist's advice. The pf didn't come back! I was so happy.
 

Peter Wright

Walking to stay young
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Porto to Santiago Sept/ Oct (2019)
I had the same problem before doing the Camino Portuguese in Sept 2019. Physio and twice daily rolling the foot on a frozen water bottle for a month helped. I wear Oboz hiking boots with plantar fascitis heel insert. (Bought at a pharmacy). Foot was painful on first 2 days then pain disappeared.
 

Chris Day

Hesed Walker
Camino(s) past & future
Frances-14/15/16 Part-17/18/19/20
VdlP/Sanab/Finist 16
Port/Ingles 17
Norte 18 Le Puy&Prim 19
Thanks Terry for starting this helpful and insightful thread - and to other contributors. I had PF hit me around 6 weeks ago during a ridiculously short hike - first time ever and totally "out of the blue". I have tried most of the recommendations, including the frozen bottle and now - following the hammer handle and golf ball suggestions - I've tried a pastry rolling pin. With some success, I should add. Improvements seem to be very, very slow and incrementally small, day-by-day. I now have a pair of ASICS Air Nimbus 22 on order and want to ensure I'm "Camino Ready" for mid-March '21 for a planned walk (Astorga to Santiago, which I walk each spring these days). The build-up of necrotic tissue and the need to break that up to disperse it was a new concept and helps me understand what is going on. I will also need to review my usual Camino foot-ware choices in light of the condition....again, interesting input on the thread in that connection too, so thanks again all.
 
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Deputy Dan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Logrono to Burgos in week of October (2017); SJPP - ?, three weeks in 2020!
My PF seems to be aggravated by standing around a lot, rather than walking! Go figure. Doc told me to NEVER again walk anywhere barefoot - I must have some sort of shoe with adequate arch support. I can use inserts in Crocs so those are my official indoor (and Camino shower) shoe from now on.

Oddly enough, my last encounter occurred AFTER a significant weight loss so I'm not sure what to make of that. Perhaps the weight lost changed the mechanics of the previous orthopedic inserts?

I tried sleeping with a night splint but that seems more suited to medieval torture than a true remedy. What ultimately helped me was a liberal application of Voltaren gel at least twice a day. As proper application amounted to a good foot massage it's not so clear if it was the gel or the massage that led to improvement . . .
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I got plantar fasciitis shortly before starting my 2016 Camino and it was a real challenge for the first week or so. I would feel it most when I first put weight on my feet and started walking. After I had been walking a while it would fade, only to return after a rest or in the morning. It made pausing during the daily walk challenging. I'm not sure what made it go away. When my knee got really bad, it no longer seemed a concern. Maybe the heavy duty anti-inflammatories I was taking for my knee also helped out with the PF.
 

P Rat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino VDLP/Sanábres April 2019
Camino Mozárabe when we can again...(2021?)
All of the above suggestions are good advice, and like everything else, what works wonders for one doesn't seem to do much for the next person. So try it and move on if you have too. PF is a real pain in the proverbial...
My added advise to everything already mentioned, is to never ever push through the pain when you first get up or have rested! This will injure already injured tissue more and cause more scarring. Gently massage (hands or whatever works for you) until you can bear weight and then start walking around. Just hope you're not in a hurry for the bathroom :)
 

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