Bad, bad, feet…

So a couple of weeks ago I mentioned how I was starting the couch to 10k training plan app, and then I haven’t said another word since.

Because my feet?  Are out to kill me.  They hurt with every step, whether it’s first thing in the morning, midday, or on my way to bed at night.  They hurt when standing, when running, when walking, when I’m sitting and decide to move them.

The first time I noticed the pain, it was during our trip to Hong Kong, months and months ago.  The pain only showed up after a whole day of walking/sightseeing, when I had been walking around for about 10 hours.  Now, it shows up even if I spent the day sitting on the couch.

There are no podiatrists in Manila, so I was hoping the orthopedist would at least take x-rays before claiming to be plantar fasciitis – which I had before on my left foot, and it felt different.  It was just a different type of pain…  This pain, goes from my heels to the base of my toes.  It feels like the bottom of my feet are bruised, as if I spend my days jumping up and down on concrete, barefoot.

The right foot is worse, I can actually press on the spot that’s sore.  When I try to run, the pain is unbearable, so I stopped.  And had to stop every single time I tried since.

Sadly, the doctor didn’t ask for an x-ray, spent less than 5 minutes with me (and this was the embassy recommended orthopedist!), claimed to be plantar fasciitis (even after I explained that the pain was on the whole bottom of both feet, that I’ve had PF before and it felt different), said that my arches are too high (which I already know) and prescribed custom insoles.  “Try it for a couple of months, if it doesn’t get better, come back.”

A couple of months???  With unbearable foot pain???  I wanted to cry.

$110 later, I’m picking up my custom insoles on Tuesday and we’ll see if it works.  But I don’t have high expectations for it.  My high arches did fine during a whole season of marathon training, carry me across the finish line of two marathons in 3 weeks, and though I did end up with an inflamed arch at that time, I don’t even run as much as 3 miles/week now, and THAT my feet can’t handle?

It’s very very very frustrating. 

You don’t realize how important your feet really are until you depend on them to do anything like walk the dog to spend a full day sightseeing.

And that is the reason there hasn’t been much running talk here in a while.  I didn’t want to have to write this post – making it public makes it real, you know?  Here’s hoping the insoles are the miracle I’ve been hoping for.

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “Bad, bad, feet…

  1. I hope the insoles do help! Worth a try, right? I was going to ask about PF (which I have) but after you said the times when it hurts it did not sound like PF to me.

    • That’s the thing, it doesn’t hurt in the same place as last time. Sure, the arch hurts too, and it may as well be PF, but it’s the WHOLE bottom of my feet on both feet, when I haven’t “overused” them, so I’m thinking it can be PF + something else? It doesn’t feel like inflammation, more like joint pain. (The creaking and cracking when I wake up is ridiculous.)

  2. I was going to guess a more extreme bout of PF or the fallen arches. At night elevate your feet and if you can, freeze a water bottle and roll the bottom of your foot on it to help with inflamation. Maybe look up mild stretches too because when we’re overcompensating for something we can tweak other things. Good luck with that!

    • Thanks for the tips! Last time I had PF I really did everything I could (massaged the bottom of the foot with a special foot ball, slept with a strassburg sock, did ultrasound at home, stretches, ice…) but the pain just feels so different that I haven’t done any of those things now… I have to start icing it and see if it improves!

  3. All the best and hope you get better service soon. I used to have PF (if that is indeed what you have)…now it’s pain free after fixing my running form and using minimal shoes.

    Please let me know if you need a referral to a good ortho…I may know a few good ones….

    • I tried using minimal shoes, but they cause the joint on my right big toe to hurt like crazy, so I have a feeling minimal shoes are not for me. Even on the treadmill, which is a lot softer surface, they cause pain. Sad, as I love my Vibrams!

  4. Frances

    I had Plantar Fasciitis in both feet back in the day. It does sound like what you are describing, especially since it is running from the heel, and is in both feet (you are unlikely to have stress fractures in both feet simultaneously). My PF was better when I was training for a marathon than when I wasn’t doing much running at all – because I was much more diligent about stretching and icing when I was training. Heat them up with a heating pad or standing in warm water in the bathroom, then massage and stretch, especially your calves and Achilles tendon. Ice after each session and after each workout and at the end of the day. I used to go to sleep with ice strapped to my feet! It works though, you can beat it!

    • I didn’t think it was stress fractures (though the joint on my right big toe hurts on and off for about 2 years now, specially if I try using the Vibrams or similar shoes), but when I google my pain it always comes back as early onset arthritis (which can be localized in places like the feet). I mentioned that to the doctor and he laughed at me saying I was too young. But doesn’t explain why my joints feel like they glue together at night and in the morning I hear everything creaking and cracking as things get back in motion, and why the bottom of my feet always feel so bruised.

      But you’re right I WAS more diligent with stretching/foam rolling/icing back when I was training. Foot massages I get enough of (and they’re PAINFUL, specially on the inner part of my foot — whatever that part is called in between my ankle and my heel — next to my achilles tendon), so at least it’s *something* I’ve been doing here, but certainly not as much as before.

      Hope it really is PF, because that I know how to treat. The pain is just SO different than last time, more of a “bruised” than inflamed feeling, if that makes sense. (My feeling though is that is PF but something else as well — I feel like there’s a nail going into my right arch every time I push off, and that certainly feels like PF, but it just started last month, the bruised feeling on both feet has been going on for months now, and I don’t necessarily need to be walking/running to feel it.)

    • Ah, yeah, and I also thought that maybe it can be bone spurs, as there was a slight sign of one last time I got a foot x-ray a year or so ago. It wasn’t enough for concern at the time, but I wonder if it got worse.

  5. My husband’s chiropractor recommends freezing a 20-oz coke bottle and using that to roll with your feet, because the shape of the bottle is exactly right to fit in your arches. It works pretty well.

    Are you taking any kind of NSAIDs for it? Sometimes when my feet have issues, a couple days of taking a lot of ibuprofen helps them go away.

    I have had a recurring pain in the ball of my left foot for the last 2 months – mostly in the morning, and it doesn’t hurt once I’m wearing shoes, but it is super-painful on hardwood floors.

    • I’ll try the coke bottle tip. I do have a perfect foot rolling ball thing, but of course it’s not iced.

      I haven’t taken any NSAIDs for it (since I usually try not to take pain reliever for these things, since, you know, it hurts for a reason), but I have some anti-inflammatory from Brazil that are pretty good, and maybe I should take them for a week and see if it makes a difference…

      Sucks that you’re having foot pain too. It’s the worst, since you need your feet for *every single thing* and there’s no way to forget about things hurting. The worst is that we’re doing so much sightseeing lately, and at the end of the day when we’re traveling I’m just miserable with pain, and more than once I had to get back to the hotel a lot earlier than I would because it was too painful to walk (and I’m not one to have problem walking for hours on end, specially when exploring a new city!).

      Have you gotten your foot checked yet? I liked going to a podiatrist, because they take foot x-rays not just when you’re lying down, but also when you’re standing — which can show if things are “off” when you put weight on one foot.

  6. Not really sure what the point of boring you with my foot pain was. I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone.

  7. I sense a medi vacay to Singapore.

  8. Hi Carla, im new to your site but i do work for an orthotics lab, and from what i have been reading it does look like ether PF or a spur from the pains you are experiancing, spurs are usually caused due to PF as when the tendon is stretched more and more the tendon starts to come away from the heel, which in return starts to creat the spur. One of the key things to do is to stop the running for now, you need to get the pain undercontrol. The coke bottle trick is a really good technique, also try and strap your arches up over night to keep a constant pressure on the Plantar Fasiar over night, plus strapping the foot will keep the swelling down.

  9. Alexx

    Hi! I live in manila and last week I went to the doctors because I have problems with my knees, and he told me that it’s from my feet, that I need to get customized insoles to support my knees and I’ve been looking all over town but cant seem to find anywhere! So I was hoping you’d gotten them done here? and if so where? Thanks!

  10. Pingback: 500th Post! And where to next? | Carla Runs the World

  11. I found this through a Google search…is there an update somewhere?

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