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Heel Woes

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Heel Woes

Postby yosemitechris » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:33 am

Anybody out there struggled with plantar fasciitis or achilles tendonitis? I have had both - even managed to hike the JMT with a lingering case of achilles tendonitis, stretching well every so often. But the plantar fasciitis is a bugger. I finally got a cortisone shot and was able to climb Mt. Langley but have not attempted any multiday backpacks because my feet end up hurting pretty badly after a day of walking. I am afraid that my days of doing major backpack trips are over. Any suggestions?

Chris



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Postby doug395 » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:14 pm

Chris - I had the same problem, it started with pain in my arches and then big time pain in my heel. I did lots of research, worker with 3 different podiatrists, had the cortisone shots and 3 sets of custom orthotics and was not successful solving my problem. The good news is I did find a solution, so I’ll tell you what worked for me. First start off with a good podiatrist, but hold off on buying their orthotics, in many cases they just don’t fit the shoes you want to wear. I found a good chiropractor and did deep tissue massage, hot epson salt soaks and strengthening exercises that my chiropractor showed me how to do. I tried lots of orthotics, what worked best is the green Superfeet for street shoes and tennis shoes, and I use the winter green Superfeet in my hiking and ski boots. If I use a soft hiking boot I still get some foot pain, I went with a really stiff hiking boot
( Lowa Banff ) and have been able to return to normal. I cut 10 pounds off my 55 pound pack, that also helps. If you do want to try custom orthotics, I’ve heard good things about Footloose in Mammoth.

Good Luck, keep trying until you find something that works.
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Postby Cruiser » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:39 pm

Don't dispair Chris. The fasciitis can take a while, but if you follow a regular stretching routine, it will gradually resolve in most instances. It took me about 8 months to get rid of a case about 2 years ago. With your leg stretched out straight, bring the toes of your foot back toward your head to stretch the sole of your foot. Give it time.
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Postby quentinc » Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:05 pm

I love discussions of ailments -- seems I've had everyone mentioned here!

I had the same experience as Cruiser. Two keys: strengthen and stretch. All I really needed was to do (i) weighted toe raises, which you can do on a variety of machines at the gym, and (ii) the "runner's stretch," which looks like you're trying to push the wall over while having one leg stretched out behind you. After about 6 months the problem was gone for good.

Be careful with cortisone shots, because if the injection site is off by a fraction you can end up with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
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Postby Cruiser » Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:08 am

Good point Quint. Forgot about all the weighted toe raises I've done over the past couple of years that probably helped.
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Postby yosemitechris » Sun Dec 11, 2005 1:59 pm

Thanks, everyone. I will continue to do the stretches. I did a moderately high impact class at the gym the other day and felt good while doing it but my left foot was really sore the next day. So....I will instead do low impact elliptical trainer and recumbent bike work and the stretching and strengthening exercises mentioned. I'll ask about the weighted toe raises. I'm not familiar with that one.
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Postby quentinc » Sun Dec 11, 2005 8:12 pm

Chris, what I refer to as weighted toe raises are primarily for calf muscles, but also strengthen the ankle and foot. Mentioning calf will help clue in the trainers at your gym. The better form is one where you are seated rather than standing, since when you lift the weight on your shoulders, you're compressing your spine.
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