So, yeah. Plantar fasciitis. Everyone has an opinion. Well, maybe not everyone. My next-door neighbor sits around eating cake all day and always bellows, “STILL RUNNING?” every time he sees me. He probably doesn’t give a rip about PF.
Anyway, after bitterly admitting to myself that I had real injury, I read everything I could find about it. Here’s the insightful information I found: PF can be healed. Or not. Healing is promoted by rest. Or by continuing running. Use ice. Don’t use ice! Wear that freakazoid sock thing to bed. The dumbass sock makes it worse. Stretch. Don’t stretch! Run barefoot. For God’s sake, wear shoes. Try massage, acupuncture, and yoga. Stop being a lame ass and flushing your $$ down the toilet and just get out there and run. Get new shoes. Wear your old shoes until they rot.
So, I waded through this morass of “advice” and picked out a few things I hadn’t tried for injuries in the past. I mean, why not? New experiences are groovy. Nonetheless, I drew the line when it came to this experience:
Are you kidding me? And you’re supposed to sleep in this monstrosity? HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! I mean, seriously, people, look at it. Nothing says welcome to your dreamy retreat into the tranquility of Snoozeville like a massive and unattractive sock complete with a strap that yanks your toes severely skyward all night long. I have trouble sleeping if I have a hangnail. There would be no rest in this lovely sock. None, I tell you. NOT A WINK!
So, instead, I opted for acupuncture! I was skeptical, mainly because everyone who had ever had it swore that it worked. Unabashed enthusiasm and support for anything makes me nervous. I know I would have felt better if at least one person had said, “Acupuncture. What a crock of whiny new age crap. You’re a loser to even consider it.” But no one did. Nonetheless, I made an appointment at a local community acupuncture place.
I’ve never been particularly worried about needles, but the idea of a total stranger tapping 15-20 needles into me was not entirely relaxing. But the strange thing was, the actual needling was, in fact, quite relaxing. With the exception of the needles in my forehead and ear ( I know, right?), I felt no more than a slight touch. And then I got to kick back for an hour in a big, dim room with the sounds of water and birds and the occasional good-natured peep toad piped in for my enjoyment.
During this hour, I was supposed to fall asleep. Again, I ask you: Are you kidding me? I mean, for one thing, it’s 9:15 a.m. Who naps 3 hours after waking up? And let’s not forget that 22 needles are merrily sticking out of me. Who could possibly sleep?
Apparently, everyone else in the room. Snoring for days! In 6 appointments, I never did nod off, though by the 5th time I felt pretty happy. Almost drugged. Really just a kind of loopy, pin cushiony, generally encompassing ambivalence. Stick a few more needles in me? Help yourself! Get lost in the sounds of distant bugling elk in a piney mountain cove accompanied by harp and flute? Don’t mind if I do!
Yes, Tanya, that’s nice. But did it cure your fucking PF?
Who knows! During the 2 weeks of acupuncture, I barely ran. I stretched, applied heat, wrapped the arch of my foot, and alternated headstands with cartwheels twice a day (J/K!! LOL!!!). At the end of all this, I could actually stand up in the morning without teetering precariously back and forth while testing my pain threshold and alternately saying “SHIT!” and “Okay. Calm down. Here we go.”
Six weeks later, I’m just getting back to some speed work and longer runs. Some days, ye olde PF kind of hurts, and other days I barely notice it. In any event, it is waaaay better than it was back in August. Or May. Or 2010. I do lots of appalling-looking stretches, and I keep my arch taped for most runs. But if it begins hurting the way it was hurting before, the first thing I’ll do is take time off again. If I distill everything I’ve done and look at the end product, my sense is that rest (that’s right: not running) mostly healed me.
I know there’s substantial huffing and puffing about To Run or Not to Run With Fucking PF. What works for one person apparently never works for anyone else in the entire extended universe. However, PF is essentially a sprain. Like any sprain, it can be mild or severe. Some people can just jog their happy-ass ways right on out of their slight sprain. Other morons, like myself, keep right on running on a pretty bad sprain until, oopsy!, we can run no more.
Then, like it or not, we’re going to be forced to take time off, stretch or not stretch, apply ice or heat, wear a fucktard sock or scoff at it, switch to puffy shoes or be an unshod faddist, and sit full of needles in a dimly-lit room as the strains of midsummer chickadees and titmice meshed with tin whistles and violins wash over our pathetic non-running selves.