No Rest for the Cranky Heel

Soo, I’ve been quiet.

You would figure with all the free time I have from not running, I would be blogging up a storm… however, without running, I am losing my blogging mojo with it.

To recap…

Heel pain that’s been making running distance or speed pretty uncomfortable, not painful but severely uncomfortable happening since December.

Went to the doctor… told me nothing is broken, that I have plantar fasciitis and that I should try Physical Therapy…

I didn’t believe him, but decided why not, let’s try this PT…

Went to PT… was very not impressed and after learning some calf and hip strengthening exercises decided that even though it’s covered by my insurance, twice a week visits were not really it.  I have nothing against my therapist but just got this vibe that she hasn’t worked with my heel problem or my type of runner often.  Plus it took her 3 days to email me the stretches that she told me she would. Either way, I just didn’t feel like the solutions worked for my problem.

Went to my chiropractor who was able to find where the heel issue was in my heel and confirmed that it has nothing to do with planter fascitis.  My PF has no inflammation and is happy as ever.  Science has never been a strength of mine but basically something happened where my Gastrocnemius, Soleus & Tibialis Anterior, basically the muscles that run up and down my calf/ankle area all came into a party and had a massive rager rave in my heel.  Now it’s in a constant state of hangover. Made sense to me since my left leg and side overall has been insanely tight overall. So he’ll be using I think a mix of Graston and ART.

Anyway, I can’t say my heel is feeling happy this weekend (even though I haven’t done much running) but hopefully with treatment and lots of stretching I will get rid of. I’m trying to be hopefully and not freak out about the stupid goals and races I held onto.

Boston is 12 weeks away

Wisconsin is 14 weeks away

Fargo is 15 weeks away

From everything I read, I cannot find anything concrete on how to make it go away as even rest is not helping.  A few things I read:

  • Myth ~ Inflammation is the cause heel pain.
    • Fact – inflammation is the natural healing process of the body. It’s a ‘signal’ of tissue damage and that the body is trying to isolate and heal the damaged tissue. It’s the result of repetitive stress onto the heel that prevents incomplete healing.
  • Myth ~ Rest is the best thing for the heel pain.
    • Fact – rest will only minimize the irritation of the irritated tissues. The scarred tissues will not go away on its own. It’s best addressed with a pro-active attitude with ice, manual therapy (e.g. Active Release Technique, Graston Technique, Shock Therapy etc.), proper stretching and strengthening exercises.

I’m trying to keep positive as I’m sure even the elite go through periods where something is off, have a terrible, or low season and return stronger, better and PRed more than ever.  I’m trying… but it’s so hard having a issue that can’t seems to resolve itself on its own.

This too shall pass… I’m healthy and I’m running more than many other people wish they could… Plenty of marathons left in my future.

5 thoughts on “No Rest for the Cranky Heel”

  1. When I was injured I didn’t have a ton of motivation to blog either. I was volunteering at races and active in the running community here, but when you write a running blog there’s not much to say when you’re not running much. Have you maybe thought about cross training like spin? It’s obviously not the same but could help with making sure you don’t lose a lot of fitness even though you can’t run as much as you’d like?

    I’m glad your chiro seems to know what’s going on and seems really knowledgeable in general with working with runners. That stinks about the PT taking that long to email you the exercises. It’s one thing to not work with high-mileage runners often (they can’t always help what kind of patients they get, I guess), but waiting that long is just slack.

  2. Ugh, I hear you on the PF! I went through a bought of it last year. I did find that strengthening and stretching helped, but it was mostly time and being more cognizant of my footwear choices that were the biggies. My entire left side is always insanely tight and I know it’s one big chain of dysfunction. I also get issues with the IT band and my glute on the left.
    Also, check out this move:
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/15/heel-pain-treatment/?_r=0
    I’ve heard a lot of people having success with that. Good luck on the “heeling” process.

  3. What you described with your gastrocnemius, soleus & tibialis anterior, is exactly what my chiropractor is addressing with me right now! I finally found a good sports/runner chiropractor who is trained in ART/Graston to perform on me, twice a week! It is an hour and a half drive each trip, but worth it! Sending happy, healing, running thoughts!!

  4. Keeping all those muscles around the calf loosened up with my triggerpoint has tremendously helped me with PF flair ups. It didn’t seem to help control other probs, but at least one thing under control at a time right? And I agree on the inflammation rest stuff to an extent. I found an excellent book for preventing running injuries and they go in depth about why complete rest is not exactly ideal. Funny, the doctors just say stop running all the time.

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