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Throwback Thursday: A Former Four-Eyes Is Recovering from Plantar Fasciitis

Some of my glasses from childhood: Is it any wonder I was a reader, not a runner, growing up?

As we're finishing up our third mother runner book, we're going green this summer and recycling some of our blog posts. This post originally appeared on our site in August 2011. [Read: I don't currently have PF. I kicked it to the curb in late 2011.]

I started wearing glasses at the age of 2 ½. As my mom tells it, she was sitting across from me at the kitchen table while I was eating a sandwich. Each time I brought the PB&J up to my mouth, my right eye would track in toward my nose. An opthalmologist I’d end up seeing a great deal over the coming years, Dr. Ostriker, diagnosed me as being cross-eyed. (I never heard the more gentle term of “lazy eye” until about 15 years ago.) She prescribed glasses as well as a regimen of eye drops, patches, and exercises to strengthen my weak right eye. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of doing sewing cards while wearing a flesh-colored adhesive patch over my good eye, and playing pirate on the days my mom would let me wear a black, fabric-and-elastic eye patch instead.

While the patches and drops were only temporary measures, eyeglasses were my constant companion during my waking hours from before I even started preschool. As I graduated from transparent pale-pink ones to round, tortoise-shell glasses with bifocal lenses (!!), to gold wire aviator-style ones, I never raised a fuss about wearing my glasses. I didn’t question wearing them, despite being able to see perfectly well. I’d say I wore them as surely as I brushed my hair and teeth, but I was more diligent about wearing my glasses than using a comb or a toothbrush.

My twins (and some stuffed friends) in some of my old specs: I never looked so cute in them.

Then, on a sunny June day after sixth grade, I went in for yet-another exam with Dr. Ostriker. She delivered news I hadn't seen coming: I didn’t have to wear glasses anymore. My eyes were cured, she said, because of my dedication to donning my glasses. It wasn’t until she said, “If you hadn’t worn your glasses so faithfully, this day would have never come,” did it dawn on me I could have opted to not wear them.

Thirty-three years later, and I’m still a diligent, rule-following patient. And just as it did with my lazy eye, adherence to a curative routine is paying off for my right foot. My plantar fasciitis is now 90 percent better: I’m running (slowly) three days a week for 30 to 45 minutes without any pain during or afterward, and my plan is to build my mileage gradually over the next few weeks. Some of the things that helped me the most:

-I religiously popped an Aleve every morning and evening.
-I slept in a Strassburg Sock every night.
-I faithfully stretched my foot, ankle, and lower leg before stepping out of bed when my alarm went off. (“A, B, C, D…” I “drew” the alphabet in the air.)
-I wore orthopedically correct Orthaheel sandals every moment I wasn’t exercising, sleeping, or showering.
-I controlled the strong, sometimes almost overwhelming desire to run longer, faster, or more often than I did.

I vividly remember facing the world that summer day without my glasses on. And now I can see a day when I’m going to be running pain free.

What have you found works in curing Plantar Fasciitis?

39 responses to “Throwback Thursday: A Former Four-Eyes Is Recovering from Plantar Fasciitis

  1. Mine first flared up the beginning of May. I’ve been able to continue through on the half ‘Own It’ training schedule with an alternating ice/hot water regime, every day, plus stretching of the foot. I’ve been able to keep it pretty much at bay for about 2 1/2 months, now. It will, once and a while, get worse, at which point I hit the pool for some deep water running. I also went out and got a cold-roller and am liking the results from that – it’s actually getting a whole lot better!

  2. When I developed PF while training for my first full marathon, the things that helped me were calf stretches (which I also believe are the key to preventing a recurrence of PF), rolling my foot on a frozen water bottle or a tennis ball or a golf ball, wearing a PF sock (a Strassburg one and a homemade, no-sew one), and using KT Tape (the Pro kind — it sticks better!) when I started running again. I only took two weeks off running (during which time I biked and did aqua-running). I want to warn people what NOT to do — don’t do a “negative heel stretch” of the plantar fascia — one example is standing with the balls of the feet on the edge of the stairs and dipping your heels below the step, toward the next step down. I see that stretch recommended for PF but that’s not a good idea, putting strain like that on an already strained plantar fascia. Calf stretches are the key! I did do some very gentle stretches of my feet before getting out of bed in the morning, but not the negative heel stretch.

  3. Plantar knocked me out of my second marathon last fall in mile 15, I’d just developed it about two weeks before the big day so I rested and tried to no avail. I rested when I got home, did workouts that didn’t involve jumping and need to be so much better about foam rolling. I’m going to try the Strasbourg sock, those look great!

  4. For me the cure for PF seemed to come with the Strassburg sock, however, for near instant relief, I turned to rolling arch on a frozen water bottle. In addition to normal post-workout stretching, I rub out the bottom of my arch every night as I get into bed, about 30 seconds per foot. So far that has kept PF at bay.

  5. What an appropriate post for today. I was having a little pity party for myself. I have battled with PF in my left foot for the last year–ditching a marathon last fall. Took 6-8 months off then back to running and signed up for 13.fun. Now am having PF issues with my RIGHT foot! Uggghh! Please keep sending treatments and preventative measures.

  6. I had a combo of ART, Graston and ESWT (extra corporeal sound wave treatment.) I also wore the Strassburg sock (my husband called it my “hot” sock because it was just sooo sexy) and stretched regularly. I have not had a hint of pain since my last ESWT treatment healed. I swear it worked wonders!

  7. Ugggggggggg
    It’s like you’re in my head.
    I was just diagnosed (self, husband, and running-store-employed-friend diagnosed) with PF in my right foot.
    It’s not horrible (yet) but I’ve started to treat it, and though I’m still able to run pain-free, I struggle in the mornings and after long runs. I ice a couple of times a day, wear Oofos sandals around the house, do towel-scrunching exercises, and wear a Feetures PF sleeve overnight if I plan a morning run.
    I’ve been running for 3.5 years, have run 12 half marathons, and plan to start training for my first full marathon in just six weeks (using TLAM: Finish It plan!).
    I’ve already paid for my race (Disney Marathon in Jan 2015), and have already planned our trip to Orlando.
    Since my pain is minimal and I am treating my PF, do you think I am okay to begin training?
    I just ran 10 miles this morning (relatively slow, doing some walking intervals). I felt no pain as I ran but am a little sore on my PF foot.
    Thanks!

  8. I do a couple of things religiously to prevent a flare of my PF, because I don’t think it ever completely goes away. Every morning, while I drink my coffee and check my email, I put my feet on a heating pad, to loosen them up before I get moving. I also swear by my Feetures PF compression sleeves. I bought one for each foot and try to put them on and wear them after I run. They have helped me like nothing else!

  9. I’ve had it twice, pretty badly. The last time I tore my plantar fascia. Wearing a cast or boot (a cast that couldn’t be removed the first time, a walking boot the second) for six weeks is what cured it both times. Six weeks seems like a long time to go without running, but it’s worth it for it to be completely healed and be able to run freely after that. 🙂

  10. Well, I’m not allowed to run at all this week, but can can walk no more than two miles at a time so I do that mornings and then CrossFit. I can’t run or jump and yes the Orthoheelys and my Okaui sandals help (read no cute stripy things). But what is helping the most, I think, it rolling my foot on a frozen water bottle. Now if the ankle pain will subside I will be good to go. On the plus side, I can walk down the stairs now 🙂 And I promised when the pain is gone not to jump on the track for speed work but to slowly build up distance and speed.

  11. A brave post for me…last month I was considering ‘elective, cosmetic surgery’ (lipo) for an area of my body that has haunted me most of my adult life…regardless of my size 6/8 in college or now, this ‘abdominal abomomination’ is genetic (mom, gradnmom, great grandmom) and no matter how hard I work, the ‘shape’ of my tummy will always be there…The procedure is fairly simple and inexpensive and would have done wonders for my self esteem, but the nurse told me no exercise/elevated heart rate AT ALL for an entire month. The thought of being that inactive terrified me (lump in throat, eyes welling up) more than the self consciousness of my ‘tummy troubles’…Would rather be active and alive and deal with it than not…Crazy??? So SBS, I applaud YOU for your determination and passion to keep running/active while being smart about your PF.

  12. dimity-it was great to meet you this last weekend. and now to find out we both have twins! too fun. one of my girls wears glasses and has since she was 4, although she needed them at 2.5. i never did, but i’m glad, for our kids’ sake, that there are stylish glasses for their little faces. i have too many friends that have told me they hated their glasses since they weren’t yet a fashion accessory.

    i hope you heal soon. i’m sure you’ll be back in top form in no time.

  13. Yes to all of the above activities just add in now the Graston Technique and more exercises. The new one’s I am doing are the crunching up the towel on the floor, grabbing marbles off the floor with my toes. Also using a stretch band to give some resistance in scrunching up my toes. Another one that caused me some soreness after the first day was the wobble board and going back and forth and than tilting it side to side without moving my knee. Oy. My running won’t be for awhile til my torn muscle is healed but all these other exercises are helping to strengthen my foot God willing!

  14. glad to hear your PF is getting better. Mine is also. I love my TP lower leg kit and I always stretch and do yoga. All I hear is a tiny whisper in my foot after I run. I hope the whisper goes away! 🙂

  15. SBS – Did you buy your Orthaheels in Portland? Where? I’d like to try some on!

    BTW. Very cute glasses. I didn’t get to wear cute until I paid for them myself (started wearing glasses at age 10). Until then they had to be practically non-destructible. Nowadays love the progressives (no bi-focal lines…)

    jk

  16. SBS —

    The part I remember about your glasses is that on the day you learned you would no longer wear them, we were picking you up from the Dr. Ostriker’s office. I don’t remember why — just that we were giving you a ride home that day. And I also remember that we went out for ice cream to celebrate. How will you celebrate after running pain free for the first time??

    NW

    1. SOOOOOO great to see your comment on here, Nancy!! Actually, on the day I got the news about no more glasses, your mom had given me a ride there–my mom must have been busy/out of town/whatnot. You, above anyone else, can testify how NOT cute I was in those glasses. Sheesh!

      Sorry to have missed seeing you in CT. I pretty much lived at New Canaan and Greenwich libraries, writing Train Like a Mother.

      Thanks for support of our blog. I hope you have gotten in a groove with running.
      xo

  17. Yes! Yes! Yes! That’s such great news for you!!

    Maybe you should pop a pair of those sexy glasses from your youth on your foot and it’ll heal even faster??

  18. I just tried a test run this week after over two months with PF. It went pretty well for my foot, but my knee started to bother me (I have had some on and off knee issues too, but they were overwhelmed by the PF). I kept it pretty easy (tried a 2 min run/2 min walk). Going out for my second outing tomorrow since my knee feels ok today. Will see. Anyway – so glad you are on the mend, it gives me hope!!!!!!!

  19. My glasses story is pretty much the same. I started wearing them in 1st grade and was told I should have been crossed eyes since I was so far sighted. I wore them all through elementary school and then was told I could just have a pair for reading. I did that in middle school (ha). College came around and I got a new pair for being in front of the computer. Then I got some cute frames as an adult that spent most of their time in the drawer since the Dr. said I just needed them if my eyes felt tired. I always had just a little hint of being far sighted. Until a week ago when they said I had 20/20 vision. Amazing and hard to believe but I’ll go with it. Although, I will miss my sassy frames when I feel like being different.

    1. Oh, I know: Here in Portland, OR, eyeglasses are serious fashion accessories. I now need glasses for being nearsighted, but wearing them brings back my lazy eye, so I skip them. Eyes are crazy things.

  20. I’ve been wondering how you were faring… I’m glad to hear you are so much better! So, two months of dedication and you’re almost there? I am dealing with this now, have had to cancel my fall marathon plans and I’m doubtful even about the half. I have been debating the sock and sandals but now I know how to take control and make a positive change. I want to be like you! Heal the heel!

    1. Heal the heel: GREAT phrase! Can I steal it?!? “;>)

      Yes, I cancelled my fall marathon when I first got diagnosed. I didn’t want to waffle. I needed to clear my racing-decks and just focus on kicking this thing NOW. I’m sorry you’re in the same boat, but at least we have company.

      1. I have something worth stealing? Go ahead, it’s yours!

        My sandals are on order, my sock ready for bedtime, and my outlook is on the rise. I didn’t realize just how much I loved running until it was taken from me. Makes me wonder what else I’m taking for granted… Never again!

      2. Hi Sarah, I thought of you this weekend as I did Saluation Nation on Greenwich Ave, CT. I was wondering how you got diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis? I am supposed to run Chicago next month and lately the pain has been bothering me so much.

        HELP

        G!

  21. Oh how I wish my diligence paid off like yours! I had a lazy eye (diagnosed at age 4) and wore glasses to help them. By age 11 I was informed that I’d continue to wear glasses forever. Not because of the lazy eye, which had disappeared, but because of my prescription. Now, at age (ahem) 29, my eyes are too bad for even lasik to fix ’em. (If I were a gymnast, I’d have beaten the pants off of Nadia Comaneci!) Thank goodness for contact lenses and my continued diligence in cleaning them, maintaing, etc. I’ve never torn or lost a lens and every eye doctor I see says my eyes were ‘made’ for contacts. Yay?

    Good job on your eyes, your PF and most especially, your persistence. It does pay off eventually, huh? 🙂

  22. It has always amazed me that some patients, when they actually follow a strict regimen, are able to cure themselves of plantar fasciitis (and many other musculo-skeletal conditions).

    It is all about wanting something bad enough.

    Congrats!

  23. Wow! You just described my childhood from age 3 til 11! My eyes are not perfect but I haven’t had to wear glasses since the 5th grade. I doubt you have a pair of thick red rimmed Sally Jessie glasses in your collection, however. So glad to to hear your PF is getting better. And your twins are the cutest in those glasses.

  24. Yay for you being back to running! And, my childhood glasses were not so cute… and I got rid of them long ago… I don’t think my kids would have played with such ugly things anyway!

  25. This makes me want to go roll my foot over my ice filled water bottle right now to get rid of my PF.

    I guess I’ll be patient and stick with my routine knowing that one day I can run again pain free.

  26. Ahhh, these glasses are adorable. I always think that little kids with glasses are so cute! I had my first pair in second grade and eventually had to wear bifocals too. Booo! The kids that called me four eyes always got the response of “Can’t you count?! It is 6 eyes!” because of the bifocal lenses. I hated when they called me four eyes. Glad you could stop wearing them. I wish! My eyes are soooooo bad!
    So glad that your plantar fasciitis is getting better! Way to play it smart and be patient Sarah! I hope it continues to get better!

    1. Too funny we both wore bifocals. When they were sitting on my face way back then, I felt I was ONLY kid in the world with them.

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