The most difficult thing for an athlete to admit is…
My right heal has been “of concern” for about a month or so… maybe longer. It’s funny b/c you almost go through the Kübler Ross stages – if it’s just a little ache, it’s easy to just power through and ignore it. The injuries that are completely debilitating are really the only ones that can be fessed up to, because it’s difficult to deny an injury that takes you out completely.
This one started on a descent through the woods from Council Crest. When I popped out of the woods at Marquam shelter I though I had stepped on a rock and my heal was bruised. I wrote it off – for months. Cutting to the chase – it’s called plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is the tendon/ligament/fascia that runs from the bottom of your toes to your heel on the bottom of your foot. It typically presents as a sore heel. It is in fact a distance running malady. I’ve been researching it for about a month and trying various fixes. I’m only writing because I found the one that worked. More on that in a moment.
First I want to talk about zero-drop shoes, calf injuries, plantar fasciitis and compression sleeves – because (imho) they’re all related. Most people don’t have the correct biomechanics or ligament / musculature to run in a zero drop shoe (the drop is measured in mm from the heel to toe). The closer to zero the drop, the closer to barefoot the shoe will feel. Not considering the barefoot / toe shoe lawsuit that a company settled this week (was it Merrell)? I was thinking on my run yesterday about cave men. That I am a caveman firstly, but also that all the paleo diets and caveman rock lifting workouts and barefoot running … that guess what? The average lifespan of a caveman was about 16 years (don’t quote me on that). Maybe that entire testosterone-fueled movement needs a re-think. The thing that just kills me is seeing really heavy guys wearing a backpack and barefoot running shoes..on concrete sidewalks. Dude; I’m crying for your knees and your feet. It’s painful to watch.
My particular issue is mostly around the carbon fiber orthotics that I don’t want to wear in my running shoes. Why? They slide in my shoe on descents b/c they’re only mid-foot to heel orthotics and not full length. As they slide, they burn through the shoe. For realz. That and my podiatrist said to just put them in on top of the insole that comes with the shoe. This is stupid advice (I didn’t tell him this) because it adds too much lift and increases the chance of a high ankle sprain in technical terrain. The past few months were mostly an experiment on my part to run a bit more natural – sans custom/aftermarket insoles. The experiment ended as of today.
I have 3 pairs of Superfeet insoles in various pairs of running shoes and I pulled a pair and ran with them today. No issues at all. They provided just enough arch support that my plantar fascia wasn’t over-flexing while ascending or descending. It was pure joy running with no little nagging ache in my heel. Super. I’ll keep them and maybe pick up a new pair.
Buff trails in Forest Park. So. Damn. Fun.
Good soul run today. Not fast – pretty mellow. I carried a single bottle w/water, but couldn’t find my handheld strap, so I just hung on to it (only dropped it once).