When the orthopedic surgeon said, “There’s nothing you can do to make plantar fasciitis better,” the cheapskate in me said, “Sweet! Now I don’t have to spend money on anything. I can just wait it out until my foot is back to normal.”
Yeah, that line of thinking didn’t even last the drive home. Tightwad or not, I am a woman of action. Whatever the problem—from lost iTunes library to after-school activities--I ask pretty much everyone I can, in person and via social media, and then I start doing what sounds like the best been-there, done-that practices. Like when we had trouble conceiving a second time around, I wasn’t content to sit around (or, um, lay around…): I turned to acupuncture (and later the needles associated with in vitro fertilization). Now I was dealing with a problem about three feet lower…. When a friend reminded me acupuncture had worked before, I figured why not stick with a good thing?
I’m fascinated by acupuncture—like how the energy pathways in the body are connected--and the treatment for PF didn’t disappoint. The main treatment is three fairly substantial (read: slight “ouch” factor) on the side of the base of my left thumb. After inserting them, the acupuncturist (Jennie at Blossom Clinic here in northeast Portland) had me rotate my owww-y right foot several times. The first time my afflicted heel hurt then—voila—the pain disappeared. Jennie had me lie (carefully, with my pincushion-thumb) face down on the table, and she inserted more slender needles into my lower leg. A final needle in each ear for good measure, then she had me relax on the table for 35 minutes. (It supposedly takes about a half hour for chi to circulate throughout the entire body.) I had forgotten how utterly transporting acupuncture is. It’s different from the mellow-out effect of a good massage: With my body pinned to the table, my mind is free to wander in the most random, delightful ways.
The acupuncturist had many great, take-action suggestions for treating plantar fasciitis, including stretching my foot and lower leg before stepping out of bed each morning and eating a variety of foods that will enrich my “liver-poor” blood. (I don’t understand the nutritional component of acupuncture, but I’m enjoying drinking molasses in hot water.) Jennie also warned me to not run yet, no matter how long the vanished-pain feeling continued (which was a few hours).
In addition to taking action with acupuncture, I’ve cobbled together a variety of other “treatments.”
-I have been fastidiously rolling my foot on a frozen water bottle while I work.
-I’ve ditched the slippers I previously lived in as a work-at-home writer. (I’m no doctor, but they are at the top of my list for what invited the PF-vampire in.)
-I’ve started wearing Orthaheel adjustable slides around the house instead. (I know, I know: Many docs discourage flip-flops and sandals, but these got official thumbs up from the American Podiatric Medical Association.)
-I put new inserts into my athletic shoes. For now, it’s the cross-trainers I wear for boot camp, but I have one queued up for my running shoes.
-I work my calves with Trigger Point kit. (My overly tight calves seem to be in cahoots with the slippers to bring on my foot problems.) No more leisurely lounging while watch Netflix with the kids or hubby—I’m a rollin’ machine!
-I sleep in a Strassburg Sock (thanks for the loaner, Dim). Not quite as sexy as, say, fishnets, but even after just a few nights, I can notice a difference in how my foot feels.
-I wear my arch taped as a podiatrist (hello, second opinion) showed me how to do with waterproof athletic tape. It's not a look that'll hit the runways anytime soon (although the hot pink tape is sassy), but it feels phenomenal (reminiscent of putting on a good nursing bra when my twins were, oh, two months old).
My pain has diminished greatly: It mainly only flares up in the evening when I’ve been on my feet too long. Despite that, I’m glad I didn’t take my PF diagnosis sitting down.