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Plantar Fascitis--what has helped you?


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I have never needed arch support before; in fact, I found it irritating if anything. But now I'm going back and analyzing why some shoes have worked better than others for me, and I think that that might be one of the main keys.

 

For instance, I have always been pretty comfortable in my old heavy foam Teva's--I don't think that they make them this way anymore, but mine have a very dense foam foot bed, and it does have a low but distinct arch support. I always thought that they were comfortable because they cushion my heel so much, but maybe that's not the main thing. The same probably applies to my running and aerobic shoes. Interesting.

 

So today I wore heels to church--heels are usually good for my PF but bad for my hammer toes, but these have open toes so they are not a problem. My feet hurt a bit this morning because of overdoing it a bit yesterday, but I had worn my inserts yesterday, so it was not too bad. So then I went to the Stitches West knitting show, where I walked around for 3 1/2 hours straight! I wore my best running shoes, and stretched occasionally, and I'm fine, just a little bit achy! This is practically a miracle! Woohoo, I am on the road to health thanks to all you wonderful women!

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I have changed my body mechanics now to the point where not only has the PF not come back, but I have better balance and proprioception than ever before in my life.  The keys have been--switching almo

I lost 15 pounds. It went away. Totally! I did other things also, to avoid the shots and pharmaceuticals the doc wanted me to take, but I am convinced that the weight loss was essential to diminishing

Update:  Med Massager knocked out my injury-induced relapse into PF (thankfully just one foot, but really, really bad for 15 months) completely.  I think it improves circulation quickly to your feet s

I am SO MUCH BETTER!

 

I have bought those Walk Fit inserts and use them in my flat pumps. They have saved my feet, totally. The other day I mentioned them to a sales person at REI who was about to order medical orthotics, and I thought she was going to hug me. She wrote down the name, and plans to head out to Target pronto.

 

I bought a pair of professional looking black sandals with heels that I can wear to work--they are the Sofft brand, so very cushy but beautiful, and I got them at the Nordstrom Rack so they were inexpensive. Because of the heels, they stretch my feet out, and because they are sandals, they don't contribute to my hammer toes. I try to wear them to work about twice a week. My DD thinks they are way too cute for a mom!

 

I bought two pair of Fit Flops, and they feel just as great as expected, except that apparently I have become too old to wear that thong between my toes--it actually rubs holes in my skin. But I am determined, so I got a pair of socks with separate toes to wear with those sandals until I develop the appropriate callouses. They are much cuter than regular flip flops, dressy even, and so I fully expect to use them as my go to semi-dressy flat sandals from now on as soon as those callouses come in.

 

Also I read an article positing that the traditional way of running is up on your toes or the balls of your feet at least--referring to the Kenyan barefoot runners who are so traditional and so fast. So I have been consciously trying to walk forward on my feet more, and that is helpful.

 

I went to REI to ask what they recommend for this problem, and the newer Salomon trail runners were recommended, along with those super feet inserts. I think I'm going to try them with my Walk Fits instead, even though they are harder, because I think I need the support. Not investing in that yet, though. I'm feeling like I need to be closer to pain free before I start back on Couch Potato to 5K.

 

I still stretch my feet every time I get up from a bed or chair, and that is still essential.

 

I am SO MUCH BETTER! And I'm still improving.

 

Thank you all for you help! I was really starting to think that I would be crippled in old age or maybe much sooner! Thank you!

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  • 1 month later...

So I went to the REI sale, and tried on their Dansko professional clogs for the first time. They don't fit me. No size fits. It's very disappointing.

 

However, the Dansko Marion sandals are GREAT. They are decent looking, have a very low heel, and have excellent arch support. I feel like I could wear them anywhere--great with jeans, fine with shorts, OK with medium-casual (flowy) skirts. They are my summer slippers--I'm putting them on when I get up now. I recommend them highly.

 

I hoped that Fit Flops would work out like this, but these Marions are firmer in support and much better at the prevention I need.

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One word...Crocs! All the time.... no exceptions.....for several months. It completely went away and hasn't come back--although, I got so used to them that I rarely wear other footwear now. I mainly wore the two strap sandal because I live in the tropics. I tried New Balance tennis shoes, Merrills, Clarks and other footwear and nothing helped like the Crocs.

 

Jamie Z.

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  • 3 months later...

So I got to a 'much better, but not well' plateau back in June, and was so grateful as it was such an improvement. But I really did stall there. If I hiked, I would be in a fair amount of pain the next day. And I always HAD TO stretch before standing, and it a hurt a little to stand, every single time, although not as badly as before. I found that I could take a lot of aspirin for two days any time I exercise a lot, and that would prevent the really bad pain from taking hold, but again, I was not really WELL. And since I have GERD, I approach aspirin and ibuprofen with some caution to start with.

 

So recently I had a bad asthma attack that required a course of prednisone. And that knocked the PF right out! Who knew?

 

So I finished the pred, and was wondering whether the pf would come roaring back. But it has not--I do feel a little twingey, but I am walking and/or doing Couch Potato to 5K 5 days per week, something I could not have even contemplated before the pred, and it's not coming back nearly as badly as before. I'm still being very careful with preventative stuff--no going barefoot, wearing arch supportive shoes and sandals almost all the time, stretching my feet and calves before getting up most mornings and early in each walk. I also try to walk and jog more up on the balls of my feet or at least flatfooted, so I'm not striking my heels very much when I exercise. I'm starting to think that I can manage this to the point where it doesn't come back badly. Also, I have a friend who does therapeutic massage, and an FSA burning a hole in my pocket, so I am thinking of trying that as well every so often.

 

 

So to try to explain the difference between the plateau and now, at the plateau I really NEEDED to stretch my feet every time I got up. And when I did it, it felt like I was pulling them apart a little bit, actually tearing the bottoms some. And if I exercised at all, I would hurt the next day, quite a bit. i wanted to to take OTC pain meds every time I did anything remotely lengthy on my feet. It was impossible to imagine going on a long walk two days in a row. But it was a big improvement from before.

 

Now, I can walk for an hour every day, never or almost never really need pain meds, and when I stretch my feet they don't feel like I'm pulling them apart. I have only needed aspirin once, and that was more for lower back pain, although there was a bit of foot pain as well.

 

This is really amazing. I never thought that I would be this well again.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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Ortho heal sandals help a lot. They make other shoes too, but as it is always hot here I wear the sandals. That and Ice. And not sleeping on my stomach, that causes the toes to point at night and everthing cramps up.

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Did you try the Skechers with the round sole? I saw those at the mall today, and wondered whether they would help. It looked like they might.

 

YES!!!! I have it very badly in my left foot. I wear heels most of the time, which helps so much because it takes the pressure off my heel, but when I'm working out, the pain was awful. My doc recommended the shoes with the rocking soles and they are amazing. I only wear them on the treadmill, but the difference is unbelievable. I sent my mom a pair too because she has pf in both feet and she said she could walk comfortably for the first time in years.

 

I stretch my foot all the time when I'm sitting and before I get out of bed and it helps. Ice does too. Before we did the Bastogne march in Dec and before the cruise in May, I got cortizone shots in my foot. The pain was gone in less than 24 hours and lasted about 4-5 months. I'm thinking I'll have to get another one soon. :(

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I stretch my foot all the time when I'm sitting and before I get out of bed and it helps. Ice does too. Before we did the Bastogne march in Dec and before the cruise in May, I got cortizone shots in my foot. The pain was gone in less than 24 hours and lasted about 4-5 months. I'm thinking I'll have to get another one soon. :(

 

I have never tried the cortisone shots, but I hear that you can only have a certain number of them all your life in any given part of your body--like 3 or something. Is that true?

 

I think that the prednisone that I took for the asthma had a similar mode of operation, although it was more drastic and systemic and less localized.

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The kinds of exercises you describe, and wearing Crocs. Honestly, I thought Crocs were the ugliest things imaginable when they first came out. But then I got a nasty case of plantar fasciitis, and someone on another board recommended Crocs. I bought a pair, and it was like walking on air. All of a sudden, I could walk without pain. And in a few weeks, I had no more pain, even without the Crocs.

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They began when I started wearing Crocs. When I saw the doctor he said those are actually one of the worse shoes to wear and definitely said never to wear flip flops. They put your feet in abnormal positions and stretch the tendons too far and then they get inflamed. The first thing I did was get PT. They showed me all kinds of exercises I could do at home an did some ultrasound therapy. After about a month I was doing pretty good. Still had a small spot on the bottom of heel that hurt. Podiatrist then recommended custom orthotics which worked some but still had pain. Then we began using Night Splints (that's what you guys are calling the braces you are wearing) Actually what they do is rest the tendon in your arch that is inflammed. When your foot drops the tendon is stretched when it is put into a night splint the foot is flexed up which actually puts the tendon in it's normal position and allows it to rest. That's why you don't hurt when you first get up. Some splints can be hard to wear but there are many out there. I just bought my second pair. YOu can google and find several. I've had good luck with a site called the Brace Shop. My foot continued to hurt and since I can't have cortisone shots since I'm allergic to steroids I ended up having foot surgery. The recovery is long but has seemed to be worth it. I've dealt with this for 2 years now and I highly recommend you see a Podiatrist. They can refer you to PT and give you advice on how to heal this in the long term. Most people will heal in about 6months to a year. Exercises are very important to do and if it hurts a lot to get up in the morning I highly recommend getting a pair of night splints. If you're seeing a podiatrist you insurance may even pay for them along with a pair custom made inserts. Do everything you can to avoid surgery. Although I had no other choices it was a long recovery. 3weeks in a walking boot but couldn't do any walking, 3 more weeks in the walking boot but on crutches, 3 weeks in tennis shoes and gradually work into work shoes over the next 3 weeks. I had the surgery in middle of June and still haven't' been cleared to go back to exercising and doing Karate. See him Friday and hopefully get the okay. Fortunately for me my oldest was in college and my youngest had just graduated. Unfortunately they had jobs for the summer so they couldn't help at home. Again, Highly Recommend Exercises, custom orthotics and night splints. And definitely see a Podiatrist.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm bumping this thread to benefit a recent victim.

 

Thought I would add that I'm still doing well, still stretching and using arch support. I able to walk, run, and hike. I'm not painfree, but not crippled either anymore. I have lost some weight, about 14 pounds, since starting to post on this, and I believe that that is helpful--because it's noticable to me that when I carry heavy bags my feet hurt worse. I'm betting that continued weight loss, which I need to do anyway for other reasons, will clear this up once and for all. Anyway, that's my hope!

 

The pain level now with these preventative measures in place is low enough that if I overdo it one day I can clear it with just OTC aspirin. However, I'm not taking that aspirin usually, because of the GERD, and even without it it's generally bearable now--which was definitely not the case before.

 

Doing so much better, I can hardly believe it! But I'm pushing on because I want to get all the way to 'well'.

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Any thoughts on how ballet steps and stretches would help or hinder this problem? I'm not talking about being all the way up on your toes.... just the basic barre exercises, stretching, and pointing.

 

if I remember correctly from my many years or ballet, a dancer is trained to get that foot into a firm point just about any time it's not flat on the floor (exceptions perhaps for modern dance). That is a foot position which locks that muscle underfoot into a short position. I think the regular exercise is great but I imagine that ballet sessions would need to be followed by serious stretching of the feet and calves. JMO.

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if I remember correctly from my many years or ballet, a dancer is trained to get that foot into a firm point just about any time it's not flat on the floor (exceptions perhaps for modern dance). That is a foot position which locks that muscle underfoot into a short position. I think the regular exercise is great but I imagine that ballet sessions would need to be followed by serious stretching of the feet and calves. JMO.

 

Thank you. Your explanation helps.

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  • 4 months later...

Status: So I exercised and lost a little more weight, not very much, and the PF subsided quite a bit, what a difference from a year ago!

 

But I started to have severe bursitis. Consulted a doctor and an acupuncturist, both of whom said to rest my legs until this gets better for fear of stress fractures. Rested up, had a bad allergy recurrence, had to take 5 days of prednisone, got better from all of it, the allergies, the bursitis, and the PF.

 

Now I'm looking to start exercising again. Went hiking last week, about 3 miles, hilly terrain. Did great. Liking being healthier! It's slow, though.

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I bought a set of cushy inserts and turned the opposite foot one upside down and wore 2 in my shoe of the bad foot :tongue_smilie:

 

At night I would roll a golf ball on the floor with my bad foot from the ball of the foot through the arch - putting pressure on the ball. OUCH!! But, it seemed to loosen things up a bit.

 

Unfortunately, losing weight helped too.

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Stretching calf muscles as soon as I get out of bed; wearing a night splint on the worse foot to keep from pointing my toes when asleep; best possible RUNNING shoes (more arch support) with firmest $20 insoles (I rip out the ones that some with the shoes and put in the inserts) from sporting goods store; NEVER going barefoot except in the shower.

 

Took a few months of the above to get better - I still wear those shoes/inserts and never go barefoot to keep p.f. at bay. I still slip on the night splint if I start to feel pain.

 

A foot doctor wanted to sell me a $300 custom-made arch support - the knowledgeable shoe guy at the sporting goods store helped me find the shoes/inserts I needed at 1/3 the cost!

Edited by JFSinILnewme
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then started glucosamine chrondroitin...from Trader Joe's. That helped a lot!

Then started wearing Crocs RX...also helped. But things seriously improved when I started wearing Merrell sandals. I really think they stretched my foot. I was able to wear normal shoes and go barefoot. My foot still hurts from time to time, but I go back to those Merrells and it stops. I'm not even taking the glucosamine chrondroitin now. I really thought I'd have to wear Crocs for the rest of my life.

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My doc says motrin as a regimen plus ice scrubs twice daily are the cure. My experience has been that that is not a cure, just a mitigation. I want to get BETTER!

 

What I have found is that stretching my toes back considerably before standing, and wearing shoes with a slight heel rather than flats, and walking more on the balls of my feet than heel to toe are really helping me.

 

What else has helped you?

 

 

My dh has this. The 2 things that have had the most impact are the stretching exercises http://orthopedics.about.com/od/treatments/ss/stretch.htm

 

and always, always, always wearing shoe inserts with proper support. The exercises are to be done as soon as you wake every day, but also the heel stretch should be done frequently throughout the day. Whenever you think of it actually. It keeps the muscles from going tight.

 

Dh says it's the shoe inserts that cured him. He has not had pain for over 2 years since he started wearing them ALL THE TIME. He does not walk around barefoot ever. He even has them in his barn boots.

 

That said, my dh also has flat feet. People with flat feet are very prone to plantar fascitis. I would say to try the inserts, even if you don't have flat feet, because they certainly will not hurt you. Plantar fascitis doesn't ever really go away. You can get the pain again any time, so keeping your feet properly supported and properly stretched is a preventative measure.

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Dh says it's the shoe inserts that cured him. He has not had pain for over 2 years since he started wearing them ALL THE TIME. He does not walk around barefoot ever. He even has them in his barn boots.

 

 

Yes,. I like Birkies because I don't need inserts in them. In every other shoe I do. Oh, I had a pair of Dansko, and those were okay, too. Need a STIFF sole, not the ultra-soft bendable kind, a la Tevas.

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If your calves are really, really tight, buy a roller. I got mine for $20 from my physical therapy place. It looks like this:

http://www.amazon.com/36-Inch-Extra-Durable-Hi-Density-Roller/dp/B0028KDC82/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1304175257&sr=8-13

 

 

After I used it every time I sat down for about a week and a half, my foot pain was gone and I was able to walk without pain for the first time in MONTHS! You just roll your calves on it to stretch them out.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm so much better now that the Fit Flops are working as everyday wear. (I had not thought that they were quite supportive enough, and that they were too flat, but they do have some arch support and a slight heel area lift.) This is great for the summer, as the Dansko's are not really great for bumming around.

 

Also, during the winter I bought a pair of waterproof Merrill hiking boots, and they have great arch support. I can use them for 3 seasons a year--since they are waterproof I can hike comfortably in the muck. They are very lightweight and have proved really comfortable.

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And maybe it's time I enter the 21st century, already in progress, and invest in a Wii.

 

Didn't read past this post but using the Wii barefoot (which is really the only way to do it) started mine. :glare: I can wear one pair of Nike's w/inserts. Birkies don't work for me. My arch is so high that the top of my foot rubs on most of the shoes I tried especially with inserts in.

 

Otherwise stretching, alternating ice and heat have reduced it like 50%. I am going to try the splint/boot at night. I really think that will help because it is sooo much worse in the am.

 

hth,

Georgia

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  • 2 months later...
Yes,. I like Birkies because I don't need inserts in them. In every other shoe I do. Oh, I had a pair of Dansko, and those were okay, too. Need a STIFF sole, not the ultra-soft bendable kind, a la Tevas.

 

You might find, as I did, that as you improve the softer soles actually work better. When I bought the Dansko sandals and the Fit Flops, the Danskos felt so much better that I almost took the Fit Flops back. But now that I am almost symptom-free, but still susceptible, the Fit Flops are far more helpful and comfortable than the stiff Danskos.

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  • 3 months later...

The key is to let that part of your foot heal and not continue to injure it by walking barefoot or wearing unsupported shoes. I had it for almost a year after my ds19months was born. I swell so much that I can only wear flip-flops, but they do not support well at all. Flip-flops, plus weight gain in pregnancy was my problem, I think. I put up with far too long and finally went to the podiatrist. She put an adhesive spray on the arch of my foot and then attached a stick-on pad and then wrapped it around with stretchy, sticky athletic tape and I wore it all the time for a week, even in the shower, I just wrapped in plastic bags and duct tape. My pain went away within 24-48 hours. Her point was that if the pad/wrap helped, then my problem would be helped with inserts. I got inserts, wore better supportive shoes and bought some supportive house shoes (got them through Foot Smart) and never went barefoot. You have to let it heal by wrapping it to take the stress off and wear supportive shoes so that it can heal. I've since been able to wear flip-flops here and there, but I don't overdo it. I never tried the nighttime splints, but that will probably help greatly! If I start hurting ever again, I'm going to do the wrap method myself. I've been told to never do the shots. I've heard the frozen water bottle method of rolling your foot helps, but I never tried it.

Edited by Dianne-TX
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  • 9 months later...

Dansko clogs helped when the problem was mild. Fitflops did not work at all. Horrid things. Crocs were awful too.

 

Professional inserts helped me the most. That and yoga and stretches. Ice. I am a good wi

Weight and have major problems with it, so while losing weight can't hurt, it won't necessarily help either.

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My doc says motrin as a regimen plus ice scrubs twice daily are the cure. My experience has been that that is not a cure, just a mitigation. I want to get BETTER!

 

What I have found is that stretching my toes back considerably before standing, and wearing shoes with a slight heel rather than flats, and walking more on the balls of my feet than heel to toe are really helping me.

 

What else has helped you?

Losing weight.

 

Most of all, getting a good quality shoe insert that is shaped to hold the foot the proper way. My feet are kind of flat. It helped a lot!

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  • 5 months later...

orthoheel shoes. I would kiss the man who invented them if I could. I had TERRIBLE PF, in both feet, with my last pregnancy. And I was working on my feet all day. I was in tears by the end of the day, and having to go home early. Orthoheel shoes saved me. I have worn them ever since and have never had a problem. I LOVE the flip flops, and have a closed style too. I've had other people swear by them as well. They are made specifically for plantar fasciitis.

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I've been using Sofft shoes for most of my dressy shoes for several years now, and they are great.

Salomon trail runners are my sneakers of choice.

And I scored some Fit Flops at Nordstrom's Rack last year, which is good, because they are up to $100 (!) per pair retail now. Unbelievable.

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I suffered for years! During a really bad flair up I would cry when I walked. I got rid of it and have been pain free for 2 years now. Here is what I did:

 

1. physical therapy for a month (did all the homework and the ice, motrin, etc for the month)

2. bought a pair of orthoheels and wore them religiously for 9 months until they broke.

3. I never, ever go barefoot now. I have an ugly pair of crocs for wearing around the house

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Ultrasound! Worked miracles for me. The pain was gone for years. My chiropractor did ultrasound on my heel area over the course of several weeks. Wonderful!

 

I recently had plantar fascitis again, but did not have the opportunity to go for the ultrasounds since we were moving. I do regular exercises before getting out of bed each morning (the abcs with my feet) and then quickly massaging them to get the blood flowing, and arching my toes back towards me to stretch those calf muscles. When it was super bad, I tried not to sleep my feet stretched down (I'm a stomach sleeper and that's where my feet tend to position themselves). It apparently shortens the muscles that affect the plantar fascitis by doing that. I also wear my comfy, though big ugly crocs around the house which are a necessity for me.

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Definitely the night splint! I also stopped going barefoot for a bit and bought another pair of supportive New Balance shoes just for inside the house. I over-pronate so I'm more susceptible.

 

My good friend who is a hair stylist had it and I loaned her the splint and told her about the shoes and she is good now. :)

 

Brenda

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My doc says motrin as a regimen plus ice scrubs twice daily are the cure. My experience has been that that is not a cure, just a mitigation. I want to get BETTER!

 

What I have found is that stretching my toes back considerably before standing, and wearing shoes with a slight heel rather than flats, and walking more on the balls of my feet than heel to toe are really helping me.

 

What else has helped you?

 

I had it for a year once. I went to an expensive shoe store and bought orthotics. Maybe 50 bucks. They really, really helped.

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I also got the splint to wear at night, and no more bare feet - I even have arch supports in my slippers! I use the show salesperson at the sporting goods store to help every six months when I go in to get another pair of running shoes - they have explained to me that running shoes have more arch support than the walking shoes I'd been using! I rip out the thin insole of the shoe and replace it with the max. arch support insole ($20) that the store sells.

 

I have a pair of Keen leather shoes for wet days when running shoes just won't do. If I had a job I'd invest in either a set of custom arch supports to use in dress shoes, or a couple pairs of Keen or other quality shoes designed for folks with painful arches. Lucky for me, I can get by with my running shoes (Astcics? can't spell it - used to use New Balance - depends which is on sale!)Have lost weight, too. Almost 40 lbs. It took a good six months using the splint etc. before my feet felt better!

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A good, sturdy pair of tennis shoes with added arch support. I just used some Dr Scholl's from Walmart. Flip flips actually agravate and can be a cause of the problem. Your feet might feel better in a sturdy pair, but it can't heal because you abuse the injured/damaged tissue when your foot flips the shoe up as you walk.

 

I wore my tennis shoes for a year, I taught ballet, tap, and jazz in the shoes. I did not go barefoot unless I was in the shower. I already stretched a lot, but I really focused on my calves and heels.

 

Mine was really bad. It hurt before I stood up in the morning and I hobbled around for 10 minutes every morning. Every step hurt all day. After 6 months, it seemed to be better, but I stuck with the tennis shoes because I wanted full recovery. It has been 5 years and another baby (it developed with the weight of pregnancy combined with a lot of dancing) and I am still pain free. I wear my flip flops and go barefoot a lot. I do keep a good pair of walking shoes. If my feet ever hurt at all, I wear tennos shoes for a few days. I also like to walk outside when it is cold. The cement feels great. I even walked out in the snow barefoot :)

 

I did tale Motion for pain relief and aid in healing.

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I did physical therapy for a summer to help with this problem and (at doc's recommendation) bought a night splint and inserts for my shoes. The inserts are fabulous! I use to wear them all the time, inside and outside, but over time (along with regular stretches and other exercises learned in PT, I've been able to get away from the inside wear. However, I'm now going back to inside wear because I can feel that it's beginning to act up again. HIGHLY recommend the inserts for all day wear.

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I did everything mentioned in this thread. Plus, my husband is a physical therapist. ;) After many cortizone injections, ibprofin, tons of PT (since my hubby is one) and streching, shoe inserts, foot splints, weight loss, it was so bad I could hardly walk at all. So after years of dealing with pain, I gave in and had surgery. The pain has never returned. It's been 8.5 years since then. I did not want to do it, but I'm so glad I did it. My pediatrist said 95% of patients or more get better without surgery. He said it is rare to need surgery for it. Lucky me!

 

Now, I have it in the other foot. However, as long as I stretch daily and wear shoes most of the time, I can keep it manageable. My husband does some random massage every now and again too.

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After trying the Dr Scholl type inserts, I was still in quite a bit of pain and my Dr sent me to the PT for custom orthotics. Glad the insurance covered some of it, but I would pay full price if I had to. I was pain free in a few days!

 

This foot rocker/stretcher from amazon http://www.amazon.com/North-American-Healthcare-Foot-Rocker/dp/B002PT52WK has also helped alot. And the Easy Spirit brand shoes seem to be more comfortable than other brands for me. I can wear them without the custom orthotic and not have problems.

 

I also no longer go barefoot in the house. My problems began shortly after moving to a house with quite a bit of tile and I think being barefoot on it contributed to the plantar fascitis.

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