Some 10 years ago I spent the better part of a day walking around Vienna–maybe a total of 10 miles. That’s Vienna, Austria, so you can understand why I was happy to walk so much. My Ecco shoes seemed up to the task, but … When I woke up next morning I could barely bear weight on my foot for the sharp, stabbing pain. Those of you who have experienced plantar fasciitis know that morning horror well. At the time, though, I was ignorant. I just figured I’d walked too much.
When the pain didn’t go away, I saw a podiatrist. He diagnosed plantar fasciitis. If you’ve ever had that stabbing pain in your heel, you know what PF is. It’s an overuse injury and it’s pretty common in the over 40 years of age crowd.
What can be done about plantar fasciitis?
Usually, it starts gradually with mild pain at the heel bone. Most people feel it after and not during exercise, so it’s easy to think you just “did too much.” Once you’ve got it, the pain occurs all the time– right after getting up in the morning and after a period of sitting. Just stepping onto the floor is agony.
If plantar fasciitis is not treated, it may become a chronic condition, affecting your level of activity. Because PF can change the way you walk, you may also develop symptoms of foot, knee, hip and back problems. Read that sentence again. It’s true.
State-of-the-art treatment is a big old needle full of cortisone right into the heel.
That did not sound good, so I asked my podiatrist for alternatives. What I got was advice to take ibuprofen and lots of it, and a boot to strap my foot into each night before bed. Dr. Podiatrist told me that this method would take far longer than a shot, and might not even work. I have always been pretty averse to needles, so I was game to try the non-needle treatment first.
Nothing happened. I mean NOTHING. It never got better. Every morning I faced the agony of placing my feet on the floor and standing up. And all day long it bothered me. At the three week mark I called for an appointment to get the shot of cortisone.
Let me rephrase that: I BEGGED for the shot.
As Dr. Podiatrist filled a syringe –with the biggest needle I’ve ever seen— with cortisone, he told me a few things:
It can take up to three shots several weeks apart to get relief.
It is a painful injection right into your heel. Painful with a capital P.
The more painful it is, the higher the chance that it’ll work after one or two shots.
Sometimes it doesn’t work at all.
I would make a lousy morphine addict
My response was: “Please get your nurse in here.” Because I knew I had to hold on to someone’s hand while I was shot up.
See, I’d make a lousy morphine addict. Not only do I not LIKE morphine, having had it once after surgery, but I could never shoot myself up. Ever.
Dr. Podiatrist took hold of my foot, I took hold of the nurse’s hand, and he shot me up.
I won’t lie: It hurt like hell.
The first shot helped, but wasn’t completely successful. I called for a second shot. I called even knowing how painful the first was. That’s because I did NOT want to sleep in a boot, eat ibuprofen every day or feel that horrible morning heel pain.
That shot worked. PF gone.
A few years later I felt it again and I headed straight in for a shot. This time it only took one.
Recently, after a few weeks of treadmill running in lousy shoes, I felt PF coming on. Just a hint of what could come. I know it was from running on the treadmill because I was pounding hard. I did some research and ordered KURU athletic shoes. Thanks to the great support in these shoes, I headed off the pain. They aren’t paying me to promote them, I just love the shoes and won’t buy another brand ever again. You can find them online and some of the styles are recommended for PF. If you’ve got it, order those shoes. You won’t regret it.
One of the great mysteries of life
Now, here’s the thing that I do not understand. I know about half a dozen people who suffer with plantar fasciitis and they absolutely refuse the shot. I’ve told them — in detail — my experience, but still, they won’t get shot up. They’re men, men who have been living with the agony of PF for YEARS. Most strap themselves into the boot every night. Some are avid hikers. They feel heel pain all the time or most of the time. Two of them did order KURUs at my suggestion and one says the shoes are really helping his heel. The key word is helping. The pain is not gone. But me? I’m pain free because I took the shots.
Here’s the mystery:
There is an effective treatment that is likely to handle the pain: a shot of cortisone. But none of these men will go for one.
I do not understand this. At all. If you were in chronic pain and someone told you that the chances were good a couple of shots would take it away, wouldn’t you at least give it a go?
Whiskey Foxtrot Tango?? That’s WTF for you civilians.
Why do you think they are plantar fasciitis wimps?