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Plantar Fasciitis - the pain, the treatment, and the end to fancy shoes

Plantar fasciitis pain and treatment

This post is dedicated to the loss of my sandals, wedges, high heels, strappy shoes and my Birkenstocks.

Dear readers of age twenty to sixty.  To those of you who exercise and those who prefer the sofa to the yoga mat.  To those darling women who are overweight, underweight or somewhere in between.  To those of you who have looked after your feet and those of you who have abused them fervently over the years.  To all of you, I ask you this question...

Have you ever got out of bed in the morning and felt like you've stood on a screwdriver (or a piece of lego, seeing as all of us mums can relate to this one)?

If you have, then I regret to inform you that you may be on the way to having Plantar Fasciitis.  Even though this sounds like something you'd find in the garden section at Bunnings, it's actually a rather debilitating condition that could affect anyone.  And it's affecting me, right now.

For the past six months, and growing steadily worse, my feet have been causing me complete agony.  If I exercise, or if I rest, they are still so painful, sometimes it makes me want to cry (and I did, after a foolhardy Zumba session last week).

Plantar fasciitis causes and treatment
Hello, sensible shoes

Plantar Fasciitis is a condition where the the ligament that connects your heel to your toes (the plantar fascia) becomes swollen, inflamed, torn and just damn angry.  Usually you get it in one foot (I'm lucky and got the double bonus), and it's intensely painful.

Plantar Fasciitis can have a number of causes, but they're so varied it honestly could affect absolutely anyone.  Here's the list (let me know if you can tick any of these):

  • middle aged,
  • exercise a lot,
  • exercise too little,
  • being overweight,
  • being on your feet a lot,
  • if you have high arches, or,
  • if you have flat feet,
  • if you have tight Achilles tendons.
On visiting my GP a few months back he told me "don't do too much.  Don't be a couch potato, but, you know, take it easy".  And he printed me out a couple of stretches that involved the agonising application of a frozen golf ball to the sole of my feet.

Well, it didn't go away, in fact, after our Bali holiday it was distinctly worse and I managed to score an extra point by getting bursitis in my hip because I'm walking oddly due to the heel pain.  Awesome.

So, last week I visited a physio - tell me why I didn't go sooner.  He informed of the following, which I never actually knew:
  • I have very flat feet
  • I over pronate A LOT
  • my Plantar Fasciitis is now chronic and I have almost no movement in my left foot.

So, after manipulating me for a while (my neck and back have seized up due to the amount of pain I'm in when I walk) and doing a little acupuncture, he suggested that if it didn't start to ease off in the next week or two doing the NEW stretches that he gave me, the final option is a series of corticosteroid shots.  Nice.

The upshot of all of this is I have to now wear gel heel cups in my shoes, as in the photo below.  Which means, of course my shoes have to have a back to them.  And I have to wear shoes with a decent amount of padding. 

Plantar Fasciitis gel heel cups

 There will be no heels for me for a while (though, because a high heel takes the pressure off the heel of the foot, they do feel good to wear, but in the long term, they're doing me no favours at all).  Plantar Fasciitis can take up to a year to go completely.

It's incredible just how much we take our bodies for granted, isn't it?  Every morning, I lie in bed, wondering what the pain is going to be like when my feet first touch the floor.

Seriously, girls, if you are suffering ANY pain in your feet first thing in the morning, get to your physio and sort it out before you end up like me - flat shoe'd, Zumba-less and two dogs who aren't getting a decent daily walk!

Have you ever had PF and what treatment did your doctor recommend?


  1. I am sorry to read that you are suffering from plantar fasciitis. We see a lot of it in our Podiatry practice.

    There are a number of different treatments but definitely wearing the wrong shoes and not addressing your pronation will not help.

    Have you visited a Podiatrist? It could be worthwhile getting them to have a look at your gait and to see if there are other remedies to help get you onto the road of recovery quicker.

    There is also a special foot 'sleeve' that we have had HUGE success with which I am happy to chat about with you as I think it could really help.

    Good luck with the recovery xxx

  2. Thanks so much Kate, it really does seem to be such a common condition. I haven't tried a podiatrist yet, so thank you for the recommendation. The physio did mention some kind of sleeve, so I might pick your brains on that if the stretching and physio don't sort me out.xx

  3. Yup. I wear sports shoes with good arch support a lot, and wear tape to bed. Don't tell my podiatrist I'm known to just kick around in thongs still.

  4. Sensible shoes are so unattractive generally, although I think you've made the best of a bad situation. I often wear sneakers because of a bad back, but I really hate it, I'm a dress up girl rather than a sporty girl. Hope you recover as soon as possible.

  5. Cathy@lifethroughthehaze8 March 2016 at 17:58

    Ouch that doesn't sound like much fun at all. I have lots of foot/knee/back issues and goodness I am yet to come across plantar fasciitis and I am really glad of that by the sound of it! I hope it doesn't take you a year to get over it!

  6. Yep I have it as well and it both feet too. Although it is worse in my left foot. On particularly bad days I get pins and needles. I wear a compression bandage on that foot when I have to walk long distances. I also have a pair of orthodontic slip ons. I didn't realise how crappy my thongs were until I started using these and then went back to my thongs for a couple of days.

  7. Yep, first diagnosed in July 2014 (both feet) and almost 2 years later I'm still not fully recovered. Turns out I'd had it a lot longer but the pain went away during pregnancy so it didn't really become an issue until a year after my last baby. I have special thongs that I wear now and I have special inserts for all of my other shoes. I also have heel spurs and just lately the pain has been coming back after being gone for a while, no surprise though as I haven't been doing my exercises and stretches as often as I should! I really need to deal with it now before it gets bad again, you don't realise how important your feet are until you can't use them properly!

  8. Oh no! I am so sorry to hear about your pain and suffering with this :( I haven't *yet* experienced any pain, but I wear flats or flip flops every day. So I know I'm not setting myself up for success either... Thank you for the reminder!


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