5 Tools That Helped Heal My Plantar Fasciitis

5 Tools That Helped Heal My Plantar Fasciitis

Running plantar fasciitis free in Central Park (RunKarlaRun.com)

Oh, plantar fasciitis. It’s real pain the foot. Many runners will deal with it at some point in their careers. In fact, it’s so pernicious that 1 million people seek treatment for plantar fasciitis every year. Plantar fasciitis accounts for nearly 8 percent of all running injuries, making it the third most common running injury behind patellofemoral pain syndrome, aka “Runner’s Knee,” and iliotibial band friction syndrome, aka “IT Band Syndrome,” according to a study from the University of British Columbia.

I struggled with plantar fasciitis for four months—October through January—missing training, missing races, running through it, and then missing training some more. I’ve now been well-heeled (get it?) for 3.5 months, ran a 10-mile personal best at the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run in April, and ran my second fastest half-marathon ever (and an age-group personal best!) at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in May. These are the tools that helped me get back into fighting shape by giving plantar fasciitis the boot.

Of course, I’m not a doctor, and you should always consult with yours, preferably as soon as possible. I saw a podiatrist to diagnose and treat my plantar fasciitis right away.

5 Plantar Fasciitis Fighters

 

5 Tools That Helped Heal My Plantar Fasciitis

WalkFit Platinum Inserts (RunKarlaRun.com)

WalkFit Platinum Inserts, $20

I truly believe wearing orthotics is what helped me turn the corner. After months of trying (at various points) rest, massage, stretching, taping, and a night boot, I still couldn’t shake plantar fasciitis. It would get better, then return same as before.

I finally bought these over-the-counter shoe inserts while taking 17 days off from running. Why did it take me so long to try an orthotic? My doctor told me try all the other things first. I finally bought the inserts that worked for my mother when she had PF. I figured we have the same feet, so why not?

I wore them whenever humanly possible. I work from home, barefoot. No more, I wore shoes with the inserts all day long. Bye-bye plantar fasciitis. It only took a few weeks. Wish I had tried them from Day One. I still wear them much of the time when I’m out and about, except when I’m running, to keep the old PF away. I’ve never been so thrilled with an “As Seen On TV” product.

5 Tools That Helped Heal My Plantar Fasciitis

KT Tape (RunKarlaRun.com)

KT Tape, $13-$25

KT Tape, how do I love thee? There is no way I would have made it through those four months, including the Honolulu Marathon in December and GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon in November, without KT Tape on my foot. It’s pretty simple: Without KT Tape, my PF hurt—a lot. With KT Tape, it either didn’t hurt at all or hurt much less.

Will KT Tape cure your PF? No, but it’s a great tool to give you extra support when you need it. I’ll continue taping my foot for long runs. Seriously, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this stuff is like voodoo.

They even have a bunch of new products I learned about and sampled at a press event in March. KT Tape Pro Extreme is for wet, humid, or ultra hot conditions. You can even swim in it. Hello triathlon! KT Flex has targeted support specifically for knees, and is also water resistant. KT Recovery+ is a drug-free patch to reduce swelling and inflammation. The new KT Recovery+ Ice/Heat Compression Therapy System includes a microwaveable heat pack, freezable gel pack, and adjustable wrap for use throughout your body. And if you want to get in the Olympic spirit, Pro USA KT Tape in red, blue, or black screams “USA.”

5 Tools That Helped Heal My Plantar Fasciitis

Zensah PF Compression Sleeve

Zensah PF Compression Sleeve, $25

Zensah’s PF Compression Sleeve is the newest tool in my plantar fasciitis kit. I received it two months ago at a Zensah media event and I’ve been absolutely blown away. I wear it Every. Single. Day. I’m wearing it right now as I type. The second I feel any arch ache, I pop the sleeve on for instant relief.

Much like KT Tape, it gives your foot that extra bit of support. The sleeve uses compression to stabilize the fascia. And the squeeze? Oh so good! It’s way more comfortable than my night boot, which I never wear any more because it didn’t really seem to do anything for me. (And notice: the boot is not on this list.)

Plus, the sleeve is much more packable when you travel. I carried my darn boot for nearly three weeks around Hawai’i. Wish I’d had this sleeve instead! I brought it with me to Florida in April and California in May. So convenient, easy, and comfy. I also love that it really, truly stays stink-free thanks to silver ions woven into the fabric.

All around, this has been an amazing find. It’s love!

5 Tools That Helped Heal My Plantar Fasciitis

My golf ball (RunKarlaRun.com)

Golf Ball, $1

It’s so simple, but so effective. Shortly after the Honolulu Marathon in December, I bought a golf ball in a gift shop in Kaua’i. I’d been using a tennis ball to roll out my foot, but it just wasn’t doing the trick.

I started rolling with the golf ball and I haven’t stopped. It sits on my desk, ready for action at a moment’s notice. When my foot feels a little tight or stiff, I just give it a roll for instant relief. Ahhhhh.

My golf ball happens to have a pineapple and “Hawaii” on it, you know, because I bought it in a tourist shop. It’s kind of awesome and makes me happy every time I use it. I highly suggest getting a golf ball that will put a smile on your face.

5 Tools That Helped Heal My Plantar Fasciitis

Stretching my calves (RunKarlaRun.com)

Stretching, $0

At the KT Tape event, I had the chance to interview Meb Keflezighi. The best advice he gave me?

“Do the small things,” he said. “If you’re running 10-minutes, 12-minutes per mile, just take that time, run one mile less, and use that 6 minutes before and 6 minutes after to do the stretching. Do the calves, the hamstrings, and the quad stretches. Those are important.”

Yup, Meb knows best. Keeping my calves and arches limber has been key to staying plantar fasciitis free.

Many moons ago when I was a newbie runner, I used to stretch before and after every run. And I used to practice yoga regularly. Like twice a week. For years. Then, sometime, somehow, I feel off the wagon. I got busier. You know what got cut in the time crunch. No stretching. Almost no yoga.

5 Tools That Helped Heal My Plantar Fasciitis

Great advice, Meb!

Then, after 10 years of running injury free, the chickens came home to roost. When my PF struck I wasn’t stretching at all. I’d just come off of two weeks of very intense hill running, and my calves were tight. Getting plantar fasciitis was the wake-up call I needed.

Stretching has to be a daily part of my routine. Now I follow Meb’s advice. I reserve at least 5 minutes for the little things like stretching and rolling, even it if means cutting my run short. I stretch my calves when I’m just standing in the shower. I stretch my calves when I’m waiting for the subway. I just work stretching in throughout my day.

So there you have it! I hope these five tools will help keep me plantar fasciitis free for years to come! Any other tricks that have worked for you?
Karla Bruning

About 

Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.

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05 2016

8 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    I am also prone to PF if I’m not careful. I love rolling my arches on a ball. Big fan of KT tape too. In addition, I get weekly foot massages when I have PR.

    The sleeves didn’t work out so well for me. It felt good in the beginning and then it made my foot hurt even more, so I just use KT tape.

    Glad to hear that your feet are better. Are you working BK half? I’ll be running.
    Elle recently posted..Run for the Red Pocono Half Marathon Race ReportMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning
      2

      Glad I saw you at BK Half! Hope you had a great race!

  2. 3

    Thanks for these tools. I too need to get back to stretching and I have all sorts of balls and a frozen water bottle that I usually use to ease the pain. I’m going to a podiatrist so hopefully they can make orthotics for me.
    Heather @ http://www.Heathersmean.com recently posted..E A R N My Profile

    • Karla Bruning
      4

      Good luck with the podiatrist! Hope you’re able to sort it out!

  3. 5

    Thanks! Really helpful!!
    Michelle R. recently posted..5 Tools That Helped Heal My Plantar FasciitisMy Profile

  4. 7

    Thank you Karla! This info is super helpful and inspiring. I was struck, seemingly out of the blue, by PF, but reading about your stretching yoga routine, or rather lack of and my own story, I see a connection. I need to stretch! Thanks again and run happy :-)

  5. 8

    These are great advice for healing plantar fasciitis! I haven’t used the golf ball trick but will definitely try next time!



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