This crap is not okay. I have been trying to rationalise the course of action I have taken to fix my PF as 4 months after it started I do not feel I am any better. Race to the King. It all felt fine. Race to the Stones. 100K and 19 hours of “fun” spread across three counties with super unicorn Jenni Morris and it was absolutely fine. But a fortnight later and at the Saxon Viking Norman 6 hour lap ultra the Punk Run with the lovely Lisa Freeman and even lovelier James Surname, as I ran on the mixed terrain surface, my right foot along the bottom and to the heel started hurting and it could really only be one thing.
I have had PF before, mild cases brought on by marathon training. Stretches fixed that, ice cold beer bottles rolled or a spiked massage ball, under the foot that, when combined with a few weeks rest and some ibuprofen, disappeared.
This, however, was something different, a different level of pain. It was okay to run on, for a while, but then it would be like running with a drawing pin in my shoe that had embedded itself in my heel. I am a big fan of K-Taping and often put on the PF taping configuration. Does it help? Does taping ever help?
And I had a lot of running to do for the rest of the year – Chester Metric Marathon, Beachy Head Marathon and Athens Marathon to name but three.
So I needed something to be done about it and so spoke to my trusted few and soon found myself at a osteopath on the Southbank for Kinesio Laser, or K Laser.
Ok. Now one of my dearest friends, who I respect very much on this matter, recommended this treatment and so I thought I would give it a go. £120 for the first assessment and session, and then either 5 or 10 15 minute sessions (5 mins of laser and 10 of taping and foot bending) for a hundred or two with the Kinesio Laser.
Now, I am not denying this works for everyone. I was sold on the idea that this would help by those that have benefited from it and so I gave it a go. I had races coming up after all and was desperate. I had the initial double session and then signed up for 5 more, which would be 15 mins every second day excluding the weekend.
And so what did one of the sessions consist of?
In shorts and tee, laying on a massage tab, with your face in the hole, bad foot raised on a folded towel the Kinesio Laser session takes about 5 minutes. During this time the osteopath will wear “laser” proof goggles akin to the henchmen at a Bond Villain lair, or the new Willy Wonka.
You cannot see what happens next, but you feel it. Or rather you hear it. The osteo will move the K Laser over the injured area, in my case my right heel. The K Laser is moved constantly, which doesn’t make sense to me as I pinpointed the spot where the pain was, but the osteo will try to release the tension in the plantar fascia to fix the issue and therefore move over the area.
What did it feel like? It does warm the area. But that is about it. In the end I would describe it as having someone moving a pocket torch over your foot whilst making beep noises. Those beeping noises could either be made by the device or the osteo. Given I could not turn around and see, so it could well be the guy going beep every few minutes.
But this was not helping me (and TBH I thought it was hokum or snake oil) and so I stopped the treatment, bought a PF bandage that I wore constantly, given a session every day for a week did zip. So what next? Shockwave Therapy.
Over to the Barbican now and I was seeing my physiotherapist for a therapy that involves a terrible vibrating machine being jammed into the soft tissue on the bottom of my foot to somehow shake the PF out.
Did it hurt? Oh, this one did for sure. I didn’t have my physio beeping off camera whilst moving a Dr Who electronic screwdriver over my foot, not this time. This H-U-R-T! Also the physio massaged the hell out of my calves and Achilles to release tension that had built up in the area.
But these expensive treatments aside, I was trying other things too. There were heel cups. Major annoyance? You purchase and get 2, even though I only needed one. The right one.
And my own portable shockwave therapy tool, the Heelease, which is basically a small vibrator in a casing. I have had two of the them. The first broke in the space of a couple of weeks and eats up battery power. Neither of which seem to be working.
And what next? Let me check the book.
Cortisone injections right into the area would be advised by your doctor. My physio talked about dry needling. Although that doesn’t sound too appealing.
And then the good people at CEP, one of the main compression wear manufactures in the world, brought out their own PF Sleeve. I am wearing one as I write this.
They are expensive at £45, the heel cups are £5-£10 and the Heelease is £35. So with £40 physio sessions and what felt like a fleecing from the osteo this is turning into an expensive experiment and one that, after 4 months is still no nearer conclusion.
Still, I managed to run the BBC Running Club 10K and didn’t limp until near the end, RAF Museum 10K, although that was a run/walk with the ladies, Bacchus Half marathon my heel felt fine as I was K-Taped up (and dressed as a unicorn), and then came the marathons. Metric I made it all the way around ok. Beachy Head was a bit traily at times, and at mile 20 my foot really started hurting.
Athens a fortnight later hurt badly from mile 20 as well, maybe a bit before. I can’t remember anymore. What I do know is that I can run on it, in pain. I am just slow. I have to walk. And I am concerned I am doing more damage to it. And with 2017’s race calendar having me going long and uphill (for Zermatt and Comrades) I need to heal, or find something that works re limiting the pain as I run or helps me recover quicker. I would settle for stopping the pain whilst running personally and I wish this injury would just PFuck off.
“Wish me luck”, he says, as he sleeps in a boot, wears a CEP sleeve, or KTape in the day and hasn’t run for a month, praying at least one, or a combination of a few of these things will work.