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Posts Tagged ‘Pain’


I’ve long been an Asics girl when it came to running shoes.  I appreciate shoes that are lightweight and breathable. That being said, I wanted to keep an open mind and see what I could find to help my foot pain issues.

What I found surprised me. After significant research and despite not having a local store to go to and try on a pair, I took the plunge and ordered my next pair of running shoes online.

Vibram Five Fingers Bikila.  Hobbit Feet.  😆

A big selling point was getting back to a natural running strike pattern, which changes the way your feet land when you run.  Why is this a big deal? If you have plantar fasciitis like I have (in both feet, although one is worse than the other) and get tired of literally crawling on your hands and knees at times, getting relief is A Very Big Deal.

Another big selling point is that unlike traditional shoes, you don’t need to replace them after 300 miles.  These you can literally wear out.  And, you can throw them in the washing machine (air dry), which is another huge perk.

Not running has not been an acceptable solution, nor does it actually do anything for the problem.  I’ve taken extended breaks from running; I’ve had RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) up to my ears with no relief.  In fact, when the symptoms first appeared, I wasn’t doing any running (this was the onset debilitating illness symptoms) and assumed it was all disease related.  And it still may be.

I have moved on to treating symptoms, so finding a good running shoe for heel and foot pain was part of that natural progression. Throwing caution to the wind (it can’t get worse!), and discovering I don’t actually have a ruler in my house to measure my feet (using other methods to determine length), I ordered online, hoping that my feet and toes wouldn’t be too swollen to actually get into the shoes.

One of the things I noticed while researching was a lack of good (detailed) chronicling the transition to these shoes. I wanted to know what to expect, given the disclaimers that calf muscles would need time to adjust, and to take the transition slow.  Everyone said so, but there was scant information as to what someone could expect- really expect- when starting. If you’re still reading, feel free to check out here unless you want details.  😀 I’m going to periodically post updates on progress.

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Distance Summary: 10 days wearing shoes; 50 total miles. Total daily distance (changing shoes) : 5 miles

VFF miles: 19.25

Heel pain level: low- HUGE improvement

Other pain:  might have some extensor tendonitis; likely caused by pressure from the top of the shoe- read log to see when/how this cropped up. If this is extensor tendonitis, it’s not in the traditional place, but this is more likely something caused by where the shoe rests, even though I have not had a tight velcro strap.

Pain Summary: Shoe blister (ball of one foot) has resolved; heel pain minimal (best it’s been in years); watching top of foot pain which is relieved when foot cracks; stretching before, after, and throughout the day is hugely helpful; is marginally tender when pressing on that spot. Still need to do a lot of stretching before supta virasana is not painful; really have to ease into it with the one foot.

Conclusion: Go slow.  Really.  😆  Slower speeds are better when getting used to these. Pay attention to the recommendations.  I did significantly more than the recommeded 10%.  I also run more than one day in a row, but feel that compensating with slower speeds and shorter distances are adequate, given my propensity for being barefoot much of the time anyhow long in advance of getting these shoes.  Honor the way you feel.

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Tuesday; Day 1total 1.5 miles; walked ¼ to warm-up- felt good overall; could feel the pull in R calf around 1.25; although I’ve had knots in that calf off and on for thelast two weeks.  Felt strange changing back to shoes mid-stream. (Tuesday after Memorial Day; hoping for 4 days this week depending on how I feel after using these shoes.  Sensation getting on the treadmill was pretty bizarre, but then the weirdest was going back into the other shoes and finishing the workout.

Wednesday; Day 2– total 2 miles; walked ¼ and slower on additional ½ mile; R calf a bit sore as usual; L calf had the relatively normal shooting pain a little bit towards the end of the run; not prohibitive; both heels were pretty sore last night, but not as bad as they have been in the past; took Tylenol (for headache) but nothing else for pain.

Blister on bottom of right foot after run- think I may have had a sock wedged in there. Legs are getting sore when not moving around. Will probably take something at bedtime just to be safe.

Some archish/top foot pain while doing supta virasana.  

Thursday; Day 3- total 3 miles; walked ¼; speed better today.  Could feel blister on the bottom of foot, but not too bad; was MUCH worse in the regular shoe.  Dreaded putting regular shoes back on, and the R heel pain was noticeably worse in Asics.  REALLY looking forward to not having to change shoe.

When putting VFFs on this morning, outer toes were feeling a bit numb, particular toes 4 and 5 each foot- feet are a bit more swollen today, so that might be partly why.

Monday; Day 4- total 5 miles; walked 1; slower times.  Determined blister on ball of R foot was from the shoes; no issue with it today during run.  Top of L foot; however, is pretty sore; somewhere after mile 3.  Too much too soon? Will have to wait and see how it feels as the day progresses, and tomorrow.  Plan for tomorrow is to change shoes during if there is discomfort. 

From what I have read, the TOFP is a result of either doing too much too  soon OR from a ball strike only and not having contact with the heel.  I’m going to see if I can’t change to a mid strike tomorrow or at least try flat footed and see what happens.  I will say that I have not had this little heel pain in years, so that is encouraging.  Zero calf pain since Friday; some tightness on Thursday.

Afternoon- pain remains.  Seems to be a bruised /very sore spot on the top of my foot, more at the base of my leg.  I don’t know that this is a toe thing, since they feel fine.  Definitely taking it easy.  At this point, walking at all is painful, so I don’t know if I can do anything tomorrow.  Boo. 😦 Ice; stretch foot; ankle brace overnight; hurts even to wiggle my toes; extremely painful; have a really hard time walking in afternoon; completely unable to crack foot. Tuesday was better but still pretty painful. Also took Wednesday off due to pain. Foot was starting to crack again on Tuesday; more so on Wed. Stayed on ibuprofen for anti-inflammatory.

Thursday; Day 5- total only ½ in VFFs due to top of foot injury L foot; moderate pain throughout; wondering now if it could be where the top of the shoe ends on foot; pain was less intense in regular shoe, but R heel was starting to hurt since I was putting more pressure on R side. 

Friday; Day 6- total 1 mile in VFFs; still moderate pain in top of  L foot; taking it slower in the feet; R heel was more painful. I have to think this is some sort of muscle thing in the top of the foot, or where the shoe edge is putting pressure. Have been doing a lot of stretching on the top of foot, and it is sore and painful initially until it stretches. 

Monday; Day 7- total ran 1.5 miles in VFFs; still moderate pain in top of  L foot, although the top of foot was able to crack a few times during run; went slower so as not to delay recovery; still needing to stretch foot quite a bit all throughout the day; continue trying to go barefoot as much as possible.

Tuesday; Day 8 – total ran all 1.25 in VFFs very slowly; stopped short because of the pain in foot and transferred to other shoes; ended up with quite a considerable bit of pain and spent a good bit of time in the evening icing; R heel was also quite sore today. Ibuprofen at bedtime to help with the throbbing.

Wednesday; Day 9 – total 1.5 in VFFs; walked first ¼; had decided yesterday not to use them today, so I started slowly to see how my foot was feeling. LOTS and lots of foot cracking while running; and boy, does that feel good!  My foot has not been cracking when getting up in morning and after long periods of time off of it as it usually does, so this always feel sooooo much better when it cracks and settles. 

Thursday; Day 10- total 2 in VFFs, pushed a wee little bit more today, so we’ll see how I end up feeling- 50 miles total since I got the VFFs; 19.25 miles in them; foot did a bit of cracking during run, which always feels so much better; working on my stride so I can build on time and distance; still doing *a lot* of stretching the top of the L foot; also calf stretches; more hip pain after run yesterday, so back to doing more hip exercises before running; feeling encouraged and can’t wait to cut loose in VFFs without having pain; having to hold back and concentrate on each strike bites and I am *really* looking forward to just running and not constantly having to think about it the entire time. Both feet felt good enough to get back to a 4 day running week; contemplated a fifth, but don’t want my quads to revolt.

I will give updates every 50 miles or so. Please share your experience with me, and stay tuned!

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I wish I had one.  Since I don’t, I keep track of my pain in other ways.

You may recall that I added more exercises specific to the hips as a means of hopefully combatting the chronic pain I’ve had there.  This has given me mixed results.  Initially, I was very optimistic.  I even had a whole day without the pain!  What I will say is that the hip pain overall has been better.  I don’t have the amount of intense hip pain when running.  Some days, I can feel the ache, but don’t have a lot of hip pain.  This is encouraging.

Foot pain, on the other hand, has long been an issue.  I’ve been paying more attention to this, since some days I can barely walk.  We have long considered this pain to be of the plantar fasciitis variety.  To date, this seems to be the most likely, although there are parts of this pain that don’t fit the profile.  I seem to have more problems in the winter when it’s colder. The high heels seem to help, sort of. I stretch every few hours during the day, etc etc.  This is not a constant pain, but has been sporadic for at least the last 5 years. 

Unlike typical plantar fasciitis, this pain *does not* go away after getting up and walking around a bit.  This can be a near constant, throbbing pain, regardless of whether I’m sitting down or standing up.  And, there are times when heel cushions in my shoes *do* help.  While I can press on the middle of the bottom of the heel and have sharper pain some of the time, what gets me the pain of the back of the heel.  Massage and compression alternately feel painful and good, but massage of the back of the heel can relieve some of the throbbing on occasion.  Basically, that whole area is bad.

What nearly brought me to knees, literally, on Tuesday was the pain in my leg.  While in many regards, this feels like run-of-the-mill shin splints, the sharp, shooting nerve kind of pain in the leg nearly rendered me non-weight bearing several times during my run.  I took it easier; I didn’t run as hard or as fast, and did more walking, which was still painful, but bearable.  I wrapped and elevated until evening, when the throbbing and shooting pain was too much, and I took some ibuprofen.  Twice.  This allowed me to sleep, and the pain in my leg and feet was not as bad.  Normally, I wake up and before getting out of bed, the feet are throbbing. I do several minutes of feet stretches in bed, knowing it’s going to bite when I put my feet on the floor.

I’m keeping my eye on this.  My debate is whether to exercise at all tomorrow, or, given another snow day, to just keep my feet up and knit.  I am leaning towards knitting. 😀 At the very least, I’ll just walk unless things feel really good, and I’ll wrap and wear my ankle brace.  I am not ruling out an issue with my Achilles tendon. In many ways, given the leg pain, this seems to be something that could be likely in the heel, if not the calf, since my pain is more the front of the leg.  If an issue with my Achilles tendon is the problem, the help (wearing heels) for plantar fasciitis is contraindicated, so what to do with that?

In the back of my mind, since I have had the feet pain for so many years, I have to wonder if it’s related to the whole body issue, and is a symptom of that?

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of pain!  When you have issues with pain, it is hard not to have it consume you.  Pain is physically and emotionally draining, to say the least.  Maybe I don’t need a painometer – maybe I just need consistent relief!  I had really hoped the heavy-duty anti-inflammatory I am taking now would have helped something. 

If anyone reading has experience with this kind of pain, feel free to share!

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