Exercise! - Walking & plantar fasciitis

View Full Version : Walking & plantar fasciitis

01-26-2007, 11:18 PM
As much as I try to ignore this fact, I am 'new to exercise' (for now!). I *used* to be all cool and stuff, with at least moderate martial arts and yoga and swimming -- but as the weight went up so did the excuses, until I felt too fat/clumsy/out-of-practice to keep up with anything. And now I get cranky after hiking across campus to class.

So anyway, I've started walking a couple times a week (just to make myself do SOMETHING until I can make myself do MORE). So far I've only been doing about 30 minutes at a time. The problem is I have chronic plantar fasciitis (if that's spelled wrong, you know what I mean anyway). I know a lot of the pain this past week has been due to serious muscle laziness and lack of practice - but beyond the shinsplints and cramps I've had a lot of problems with the PF stuff (foot cramps, my toes staying pointed for half an hour or so, getting worse after I sit for a while, first morning steps suck).

I think a lot of my problem could be helped by getting some decent shoes and learning to walk "right", but I don't have a clue where to start. I mean I don't know what good shoes *are*, and while I know I've gotten bad posture and walking habits from compensating I'm not sure what I need to do to fix it.

So can anyone help? Anything, hints/suggestions/experience that you could offer? As far as the PF goes, what are some other good ways to get back into this whole excercise-thing with feet that hate me? :p


01-26-2007, 11:26 PM
Shoes are a must, and frankly if you have chronic PF you should be talking to a podiatrist. Orthotics and physical therapy can both help. If you have chronic PF, then you need to be wearing the proper support ALL the time, not just when exercising.

Good walking shoes can be found at a running store, and some running stores can do pretty good with OTC orthotics, but for chronic probs...see an expert.

01-26-2007, 11:32 PM
Oh, I have a podiatrist. Last time I saw him was November; he gave me a handout of exercises for shin strength and said my boots (that I wear 90% of the time) were "good" daily wear... they're basically army boots; he said they were good because of the slight heel, and all I needed were some drugstore insoles and to keep up with the toe tapping. Which I have. And which doesn't seem to make a huge difference. My next appt. with him is in March.

Sorry for not mentioning that, thanks for checking though!

01-26-2007, 11:52 PM
Did your Podiatrist recommend orthotics? My GF has PF and ultrasound therapy along with custom orthotics have made the biggest difference for her...

01-26-2007, 11:56 PM
My GF swears by her Birkenstocks. I think the chiropractor suggested them.

01-27-2007, 12:01 AM
Get a different podiatrist. I had a very serious case of plantar fasciitis, and went to a podiatrist. She fitted me for custom orthotics (which my insurance did cover) and gave me strong prescription anti-inflammatory meds to get it under control. I wore the orthotics in EVERY SHOE for over a year, and did not even stand up out of bed without at least a 'birkenstock' type shoe with arch support as a slipper. I NEVER went barefoot for even a second. The PF gradually went away for the most part. I now wear my orthotics (same pair--the custom ones last FOREVER) only in my running shoes. I run, lift weights, do step aerobics, and elliptical with my running shoes with the orthotics in them. Although I don't wear orthotics all the time, I do try to choose shoes with arch support and I never go barefoot. I even wear shoes at home, except in the evenings when I am sitting. Occasionally I'll get a little 'flare up' of pain again, and I'll take ibuprofen for a few days and be really careful to wear shoes with support and it goes away quickly. But I was in so much pain from the PF that, by time I saw a podiatrist, I was almost blacking out in the mornings from the pain. That kind of pain made me a SERIOUS patient and I think I got a more SERIOUS Dr. who went for SERIOUS results. She even taped up my feet on each of my visits (I think I saw her 2 or 3 times in all). The tape helps, too, by the way. Occasionally, if the pain flares up really bad, I'll use athletic tape and tape around the arch and around the heal. Anyway, you should be able to get this under control. And it DEFINITELY should not in any way limit your walking or exercising. Exercising does NOT make it worse, I promise!

Best wishes!

01-27-2007, 12:24 AM
Wow, thanks! It's cool to hear from people (who are not doctors but give good advice anyhow, I know, I know) who have experience and are willing to help.

I had orthotics years ago, freshman year in college - from a different doctor. I also had the custom-build Birks: but they *seriously* never fit (fell off my feet, clogs had an inch in the back to spare, my toes cramped from 'holding' them on.) so I don't wear them anymore. The orthotics helped but my feet have completely changed in the years since so they don't fit any longer. I keep wanting to get some new custom Birks that FIT but can't afford them for now, and the new doc said I didn't need actual orthotics... but it sounds like he might be another giver-of-bad-advice.

So all in all THANK YOU so much for the news that this can definitely get better, and I believe I will force some orthotics out of this doctor posthaste. ;) Meanwhile I will look for a running store (I didn't know such things existed - and my luck I probably drive past one every day) to get some decent shoes!

01-27-2007, 04:33 PM
a lot of docs look at overweight patients and think all they need is enough to "function", not to FIX it.

when my mom had her 2nd knee replacement her PT kept giving her these really easy exercises, not pushing her at all (unlike the 1st knee). His evaluation of success for her (overweight and almost70) was "able to get out of bed, take a shower, go down her porch steps and drive her car" - i.e. live alone

My mom on the other hand defined success as "able to ride my bike 50 miles without pain" - she finished a triathlon the next year.

Make sure you get a doc who understands what YOU want to accomplish and wont stop at "good enough"