Tag Archives: Plantar Fasciitis

What a Month

This has been a rough month.  I really, really want to run.  Biking and swimming are great, but runners want to run.  The latest report from my doctor is that I tested negative for Lyme disease (which doesn’t mean it isn’t still inside of me), but my knee is still swollen slightly.  She drained fluid off of my knee and it looked normal for awhile.  The last few times I’ve tried running it has swelled up.  Ugh.

Here is my mileage for the month:

Running – 4.7 miles (over 3 runs)

Biking – 257 miles (as of last night)

Swimming – 1.6 miles

Aqua Jogging – 3 sessions

Here is a look at the goals I set at the beginning of the year.

Run Around All Named Bodies of Water in Minneapolis


Read the Entire Bible in a Year

Staying on track to complete it in a year.  Half -way!

Read a Book a Month

I finished an amazing retelling of the battle for the first 4-minute mile.  The Perfect Mile chronicles the journeys of Landy, Santee, and of course Bannister as they try to be the first one to crack the 4 minute barrier.  It also includes some bonus coverage of the lead up to the “Mile of the Century”.

Blog Regularly

Well as you’ve noticed this hasn’t been going too well.  It has been hard to think or write much about running when I can’t run.  It has helped to read The Perfect Mile and relish in the delight of being an athlete and the reminder of my college days.

Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis has stayed at the number one spot, however this month Minnesota Marathons has moved into a close second. (too bad I won’t be able to run one)

This week’s ONE POST is a tie.  Relieving IT Band Pain and a story from 2008 about sportsmanship at the high school level.

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Book Review: Born to Run

Born to Run Cover

If you’ve not heard of the best-selling book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen you might be want to double check that you are a runner with a network of runners.  It seems every runner on the web has written or talked about Born to Run, so why not me?

Well I haven’t really wanted to spend the money and who wants to be part of a fad? That all changed a few weeks ago.  We had some time to kill and decided to go to a book store.  We were already in Uptown so we checked out Magers & Quinn, a great Minneapolis treasure. I walked out with four books, all purchased below their market price.  Born to Run was the only new book, the rest were used.

I was getting bored by the other book I was reading and wasn’t sure if I’d make it through the 282 pages with only 2 weeks left in the month.  Well, I was pleasantly surprised that the book was a super-easy read and I finished it with time to spare in March.  I was prepared for a book like Bill Bryson’s Walk in the Woods where it was story mixed in with a lot of random facts/rabbit trails/personal issues.  McDougall’s is almost all story.  Much of what I had heard about the book led me to believe it would be a treatise on barefoot running and a lot of research to back up that perspective.

It is actually pretty late (chapter 25 page 168) in the book before McDougall really starts to present any heavy research and opinions on barefoot running.  And it does make you think.  For obvious reasons I really liked this quote on pg 201:

Once PF [plantar fasciitis] sinks its fangs into your heels, you’re in danger of being infected for life. Check any running-related message board, and you’re guaranteed to find a bunch of beseeching threads from PF sufferers begging for a cure. Everyone is quick to suggest the same remedies – night splints, elastic socks, ultrasounds, electroshock, cortisone, orthodics – but the messages keep coming because none of them really seems to work.

Isn’t that great! Most of the book is about the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico and how they run for days eating only pinole and wearing thin pieces of rubber (known as Huaraches) and never seem to get hurt.  In fact when some of them receive and start wearing running shoes they ended up getting hurt shortly thereafter.  The main emphasis of the book is a race held in Mexico in which Scott Jurek, Barefoot Ted, and a few not so famous runners take on the adventure and challenge of a 50 mile trail race against the Tarahumara’s best runners.  I won’t tell you the ending!  The book spends a lot of time providing the back story for each of the runners and how the Tarahumara became known in the US running world.

McDougall also takes a section of his book to look at the evolution of man and how we evolved into runners.  This quote made me laugh (pg 243):

To be fair, our brain knew what it was talking about for 99 percent of our history; sitting around was a luxury, so when you had the chance to rest and recover, you grabbed it. Only recently have we come up with technology to turn lazing around into a way of life; we’ve taken our sinewy, durable, hunter-gather bodies and plunked them into an artificial world of leisure.
So with that I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Born to Run, it alone may not convince or me to go barefoot but it is an excellent story about “A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen”
If you’ve read the book what are your thoughts on it?  Would you rather borrow mine instead of purchasing it?
[tags] book review, Born to Run, barefoot, barefoot running [/tags]
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Very Crazy Idea – I need YOUR Help

Dear friend who may or may not occasionally run,

I decided to do something a little crazy, especially since I’ve been suffering from Plantar Fasciitis and my knee randomly swelled up on me recently.

I signed up a team for the Ragnar Relay – Great River edition. On August 20 and 21 this race goes from Winona, WI to Minneapolis, MN and traverses 193 miles in the process. With 12 people running out of 2 vans the average distance any one runner runs is 16.1 miles. Over three runs and two days that isn’t too scary of an idea. Throw in the fun of running together and 15 passenger vans and it is a piece of cake.

I signed up for four reasons, 1 – we saved a good chunk of money on registration fees 2 – I got two free Ragnar headlamps, which will come in handy during the night-time legs of the race 3 – Ragnar posts a fairly easy training plan that starts April 9 and 4 – children are still dying for lack of healthy water.

To make the race even more exciting I and (ideally) the whole team will be raising money for Team World Vision. All money raised this year for Team World Vision will support water projects in Kenya and other African countries. World Vision is an amazing organization and I’m sure you’ve heard of it, if you haven’t I’ll direct you to this series that I wrote on my blog. My goal is to raise $2,000 again this year, which averages out to about $10.37 per mile of the relay.

So what I need from you is two things. First, I need you to e-mail and say that you are excited to join Team Run the River for Africa. I actually have to add you to the team on Ragnar’s site, we’ll then make arrangements for you to get me your $85 registration fee and a signed waiver. Secondly, assuming you want to help support water projects in Kenya you’ll need to visit Team World Vision’s site and signup under our team.  (This isn’t a requirement but I’d like the entire team to be wearing Team World Vision jerseys.)

What do you think? Are you up to the challenge? I’m sure you are! We’ll iron out more of the logistical details over the next few months.

I’m pretty excited about this and look forward to running with you.


PS. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, Team World Vision is hosting a 13.1 mile race in Minneapolis on August 22. This is one of their big national events and a portion of all proceeds goes towards their water programs. Additionally, there will be a ton of World Vision focused stuff going on with hopefully 1,000’s of runners sporting TWV Orange. When I first came up with this idea, I was planning on doing the relay and finishing with the 13.1 mile event on Sunday. I’m taking a more cautious wait & see approach on that right now, but if you do it, I’ll probably do it too! If you were a little bit of a chicken and wanted to only commit to running the 13.1 that’s fine too, I suppose. You can still join my Team World Vision team!

PPS. Ragnar Relay rules require us to provide 3 volunteers to help throughout the weekend at aid stations, etc. We may also enjoy having additional drivers and nighttime bike riders/pacers. So let me know if your interested in that too!

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Curing Plantar Fasciitis

After a year suffering through the dreaded Plantar Fasciitis I can say that there is only two certain ways to get rid of it.

1) Never walk on it, i.e. don’t leave your bed.

2) Cut off the ailing foot.

I looked through my running log and it was a year ago today that I first mentioned foot pain and took a day off. I have tried a lot of things in the past year, all to no avail.  I’ve done physical therapy and spent a lot of time at the doctor’s office listening in as the doctor and therapists share with the residents about Plantar Fasciitis.

I’ve broken this post into three segments – immediate actions, intermediate actions, and last ditch/extreme measures.


1) Stop running.  Take a few days (weeks) off immediately to give your foot a chance to heal. I recommend swimming to keep the cardio strong.  Everyone says it is ok to bike, but I’d be really cautious.

2) Stop walking around barefoot.  Nothing is nicer than kicking off your shoes and letting the old dogs relax.  However, walking around barefoot can exacerbate Plantar Fasciitis.  I’d recommend some nice Crocs or slippers with about an inch of padding to protect your heel.

Plantar fasciitis
Image via Wikipedia

3) Take ibuprofen.  I’m not a doctor.  My doctor recommended taking 800mg (4 tablets) 3x’s a day with food for 2 weeks.  This will help take down the inflammation.  The consistency builds up the amount of medicine in the body which helps it work faster.

4) Check & Change Shoes.  All of them.  Even if they are brand new I would recommend buying new running shoes, maybe switching brands or styles.  Go to a running specialty store and have them analyze your running (after resting for a few days).  Then check all of your other shoes for wear.  If they show a little excessive wear – get rid of them.  I know its expensive but it is better to be healed or buy new shoes?

5) Roll out the foot.  I used a can of soup for a long time before buying a more advanced roller. In a fluid motion roll the jar under your foot from heel to the ball back and forth for a minute or so. Really dig into the heel. Do this two times a day.  One of the times you should soak the foot in warm water first.

6) Stretch the arch.  Place your foot on the opposite knee.  Taking the 5 toes bend them towards the same knee.  This will stretch the fascia. Hold for 30 seconds.

7) Ice. At the minimum put ice on the heel. The best option is to take a frozen dixie cup of ice and massage the affected area.  I just rub an ice cube into it until it melts.  Another option which combines step 5 and 7 is to roll out your foot with a frozen water bottle.

8) Night Splint. I’ve used both the Strassburg Sock (my review or Amazon) and the Dorsi-Wedge.  Obviously, neither worked.  I felt the Strassburg Sock was easier to wear.  My sports doc (who works at the University of MN) felt like the sock allowed too much room for “cheating”, etting the foot move around or not wearing it properly. Other night splints on Amazon.

9) Stretch. Obviously stretching the entire body is always an important part of the routine.  It is important to stretch out the calves, achilles, and hamstrings.  I’ve used both the foam roller and the stick to do this.


10) Massage.  Especially the calves and foot. This actually feels really good, I should go get one again.

11) Hot Tub.  Sitting in the hot tub really can feel great and helps relax the muscles.  I need to do this again too!



1) Physical Therapy. This encompasses a wide variety of tactics and exercises.  Most of mine focused on hip, core, and ankle strength.  It is important to have a strong core to help hold your body together and in proper alignment.  This Running Times article covers a lot of the hip work that I was doing.

Physical Therapy
Image by crossn81 via Flickr

2) Iontophoresis (wikipedia). Actually a part of physical therapy, but this takes a steroid like dexamethasone and electrically injects into the skin.  This works well for a lot of people, but loses effectiveness after 8 treatments.


3) Taping.  I had mixed success with taping my foot while running and walking around.   I used this method. The idea is that this helps reduce the load that your fascia is forced to carry.

4) Inserts/Orthodics. I’m not really sure where to put this. I’ve heard of people having success with it, but I haven’t with inserts.  Also, with orthodics you’ll become dependent on them.  It might “fix” the problem but not change the body issues creating the problem. Treating the symptoms, not the problem.

5) Active Release Technique. ART, as it is called, releases the fasciia and other “tight” areas the cause Plantar Fasciitis.  I’ve heard that it works well and the Ironman offers ART Certifications, but my sports doc wasn’t aware of this non-traditional treatment.  It is often offered by chiropractors.  More information can be found here. Locally, some of my friends recommend Dr. Folske.



I’m sure there are more than these 2 but I don’t know of them.

1) Cortisone shot. Or other steroid injection. This injects a steroid into the fascia which speeds healing.  This is not a long term fix and masks the pain – quite well I’ve heard.  It has at least 2 major drawbacks:  tearing the fascia and atrophying the fat pad in the heel.  My sports doc really doesn’t like to use this option.  She thinks the long-term risks often outweigh the short-term gains.

2) Surgery. Yuck, who wants to go under the knife.  Basically they cut the fascia and it heals itself and is stronger.  This is the ultimate last resort. My thought is that if I just put my foot in a cast for 6 weeks I’d probably get the same results.


Have you had success with any other treatments?

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TCM 2009

TCM Expo
TCM Expo

I finished my second marathon. Pretty worse for the wear, but I finished. I had pretty modest expectations going into the race based on my training over the last year. I felt that 3:30 was pretty reasonable since most of my longer runs had been at 8 minute pace.

A friend from college, Pez, was debuting this year and he’s a pretty smart guy and decided to run with me for the first 3 miles around 8 minute pace and slowly build up. He had an excellent race finishing in 3:19. I felt really good during the first 5k, I did stop for a quick bathroom break and had to force myself to not try to catch back up.

I passed fellow classmate Kevin on the north side of Lake of the Isles. Staying pretty consistent at 8 minute pace. The 3:30 pace group was pretty far ahead now, because of my potty break – but they did take it out fairly fast from the start. I passed Deb on the north side of Lake Calhoun and the ran with Anne and her friend for awhile on the south side of the lake. I probably should have stayed with any of them and continued running at an easier pace. But I was hitting my splits pretty accurately.

At some point early on the Minnehaha Parkway part of the course I started catching up to the 3:30 pace group. At which point it got really crowded. Marty was towards the front of the group and we slowly came together as we went through the rolling hills stretch. I was taking it easy and hitting 8 minute pace. Marty and I ran together for a couple of miles. He said he was struggling and right before Cedar he said he would see me at the finish and dropped off.

I maintained my pace through 13 but started to hurt around 12. It started in my hips and throughout the race slowly worked its way down my legs. Mostly on the left side (where I have plantar fasciitis). I got through the half in 1:44 so pretty much right where I wanted to be. I slowed down a bit and I think I stopped to stretch it out before leaving Nokomis. From here my splits slowly slowed down as I struggled with trying to loosen up my legs, staying mentally tough, and not bonking.

As my paces show I quickly deteriorated and never really recovered. Part of me wanted to quit, part of me wanted to walk, part of me knew I had to fight to the finish. I made a mental decision that I would finish, even if I had to walk the rest of the way, but also made the decision that I would run for at least a mile in between walk breaks. I started just trying to walk through water stops, but then gave up on that and just started walking when I didn’t feel like going any farther.

I saw my wife and friend at mile 16 and gave them the thumbs down. I think they knew I was off pace but the thumbs down was a clear sign that I was struggling. I heard a couple of my students cheer for me and a former student gave me a needed/welcome Gu pack around mile 17.

Blood Filled Blister!

Blood Filled Blister!

The rest of the race is a blur of struggle and pain but I finished. And I was running at the finish. I finished in 3:56:00 officially. Deb and I passed each other back and forth throughout the last 8 miles. She served as much needed motivation to keep on pushing. A first time marathoner chatted with me a bit as we were getting ready to go up the St Thomas hill. I told him I was doing terrible but he kept talking. As we started up the hill he asked, “Is this the big hill.” I replied, “One of them.” He was caught of guard by that, and I felt a little bad, but I was out of it and didn’t really want to chit chat about the intricacies of the last 6 miles.

One high point of the final stretch was my wife and friend were just in front of the Target Cheer Zone. Summit Ave is already pretty packed with people and can be very encouraging. So I passed them and they were really cheering and the whole block or two was extremely uplifting, especially as you pass through the Cheer Zone. I got a boost in my step, which didn’t last near as long as I was hoping!

Seeing the cathedral top made me happy because I knew it was almost over. Then slowly making the turn and seeing the capital. I dug deep and found something and pushed hard. The crowd roared and I finished. Then I shuffled through the chute getting water, fruit, chips, a banana, a heat sheet, vegetable broth, and finally a finisher’s shirt. Marty and I hobbled and talked for a bit before I tried to find my wife and friends to go home.

It is amazing how much pain you can be in after running that far. My body hurt during the run, but hurt even worse right after it was over and for the rest of the day! When I peeled off my sock I found a nice blood filled blister pictured above!

Thank you to the thousands of people who cheered!! Those who knew my name, those who cheered for “MDRA” (my jersey), my race number, and even those who yelled for “MORA” (because evidently the D looks like an O). Each and every one of you and all of the volunteers helped make this race successful.













































































































































[tags] Twin Cities Marathon, TCM, Marathon [/tags]

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