I'm no doctor, but I think I have figured out what to do to get a handle on this heel pain...and I have to share. Too many of us have gone through the plantar fascitus thing and there will be many more to come so I would like to pass on the things I have learned.
Strangely enough, my "condition" came on in the "off season" after I took a little time off after Clearwater and began back training in late November. I have never really been one for stretching a lot - I mean, would do a little here and there, but not spend more than say 10 minutes a day. The heel just began to hurt, especially after running, but soon it just hurt all the time. I kept running on it thinking it would just go away (sounds stupid, i know, but sometimes little pains DO just go away!!)
It got to the point where I ran a 15 mile race and decided then that it was time to stop running. I mean....I could barely walk after the race and for the next day. I could walk the 2nd day, but I was limping and favoring the outside of my foot avoiding the "toe off" which seemed to hurt the most.
I went to see my podiatrist, Dr Jay Groves ( My Foot guy) and he told me NO RUNNING, gave me a shot on the plantar part of the foot, put me in the splint, and got me on the prostretch. I then hooked up with Mike (my massage guy) and had the foot/calf worked on. Mike began to tear my calf down! At that point we stayed away from the heel because it hurt too much. Strangely, the plantar part of my foot did not hurt, but the heel did. the day after the shot, the heel still hurt a little - I mean, it was better, but it still hurt. then a few days later, i'd say the heel hurt the same as before, if not more. I was worried at this point....so I had an MRI done to settle my mind on what was going on down there - it came back saying everything looked good and in tact, but some bursitis. come again?
So, I started to wear compression socks all the time. Morning, noon, and night - i hear my new nickname is "suzie socks"....cute. anyway - that didn't bother me, it's actually funny! it's like I've told a lot of people, I was to the point where I would strap a dead chicken to my handlebars if I thought it would make the heel feel better! (sorry Tony).
Another trip to Dr Groves, and he said the problem is still there rooted in the calf. I need to loosen it up. No problem, i thought. but the heel hurt when I stretched.....
Then, the breakthrough -- The discovery of the trigger point in my soleus that (according to the trigger point book in mikes massage room) has referred pain in the heel. I squirmed around on the table like I have never done before - but the heel was pain free for the next day and a half (it hurt a little after the massage, but the next morning, i stepped out of bed in shock! It felt normal!). I was on to something. Now, I am pursuing PT and some ultrasound on the heel and soleus with my massage and lots of stretching and I think I have found the recipe for success in beating this.
So I have been back to running now for just over a week. I must say, the pain is still there -- like Amy Marsh said it would be :-( -- but manageable I suppose. It is not as bad for sure. I am a little frustrated, but happy to be running again. I hope I can continue to manage it and keep the training going for New Orleans. I'll keep you posted.....
OH - look what I saw at the Saints Game in the Superdome a couple of weeks ago!!!