I don’t know exactly when it started but in the spring of this year, my feet started to hurt, a lot. Especially the heel, which burned and throbbed all the time, and felt badly bruised.
The pain developed and intensified over time, so it took months for me to become aware that it was actually a problem.
Walking and Hiking
At that time I was hiking and walking a lot. Many days, I was walking 1.5 hours a day on the hard city streets of San Francisco, back and from from our subway system, the BART, to my work at the University of California, San Francisco.
Though it got old sometimes, I loved that walked. It was my daily exercise, and it got my blood pumping in the morning and cleared my head in the evening.
Most weekends, my husband and I would hike somewhere. Sometimes it was just an hour or two in the East Bay hills, but I remember taking an 10 mile hike at Point Reyes during that same time period, too.
Over the months, I became gradually accustomed to my feet hurting more and more. But I was seriously in denial, and I kept hiking and walking for a lot longer than I should have.
Self-Diagnosis and Taking Action – Too Little Too Late
At some point I FINALLY realized that, duh, my feet hurt pretty badly, and I needed to take some action. At that point, I must have jumped online to check out my symptoms and figured out that I had plantar fasciitis. Clearly I didn’t really get it.
I had the bright idea that I would cut my daily walk by half. This makes me laugh now, though it seemed so reasonable at the time. So I started walking just 40 minutes a day, in little Sketcher Mary Janes usually, on concrete. And I started taking some big doses of Ibuprofen, which my doctor had prescribed earlier for some pain in my hip, which I now understand is probably related to my plantar fasciitis. Sadly, this did not seem to help at all.
Finally, my feet had begun to hurt so much that they throbbed and sort of burned even when I was sitting down, and hurt so much when I walked that I was hobbling around a bit. When I first got out of bed, the pain in my heel was strong enough that I barely wanted to put weight on the one foot that was worse than the other. I can’t say exactly, but I think that my pain level at that time was probably a 7 on a scale of 10.
Finally Seeking Medical Attention
This level of pain finally got my attention and I wrote my doctor this email on May 30, 2012:
I’ve been experiencing progressively worse pain in my heel for a few months now, and read up about plantar fasciitis and have tried to heal it on my own, but it seems to be getting worse. It is the kind that is at it’s worse in the early morning when I first get up, but has now reached the point of hurting pretty much the whole day. I feel it now even as I sit typing. I was walking almost 1.5 hours a day on hard surfaces for several years, plus a little zumba. When I realized this was bad, I cut the walking on hard surfaces by more than half and took some of the 800 ibuprofen you prescribed me for my hip bursitis (which is quite a bit better). But it’s not really getting better.
Make sure that you are using everyday a shoe insert called super feet in your shoes
Make sure you are stretching several times a day
NO walking in bare feet.
If you are already doing this stuff you need to see the podiatrist and consider a steroid injection in your foot.
At that point, plantar fasciitis had put a kink in my life, and I was taking it a lot more seriously. I began to worry that I would be stuck with it for the rest of my life. I began to focus on healing and full recovery.
I have learned a lot about plantar fasciitis and how to deal with it, from my regular doctor, a podiatrist (foot doctor), a couple of sports injury shoe consultations, a ton of online research, and a bunch of personal experience.
What It’s Like Now
Today, December 5, 2012, I feel a lot better, with a pain level that usually ranges from 0 to 2. I walk 30 to 40 minutes on most days, and can now go on short to medium hikes (no 10 milers at the moment!). But it’s a long journey, and I’m still healing. As I work toward a full recovery, I will share it all with you. My goal is to help myself and help you at the same time.
It’s important that you know that I am not a doctor and am not offering any sort of medical advice or recommendations based on any professional medical capacity. I’m just someone like you who has heel pain and wants both to heal the pain and to share my experience with other people who can benefit from what I learn along the way.
To our health!