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
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.
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.”
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. Read the rest of this entry →