No, that title isn’t missing a “Changs” at the end of it, though to be honest, I’d actually prefer it did — despite the fact that I loathe PF Changs. Which isn’t fair, as I only went there once, and there was definitely a monkey from the Build-a-Bear factory who joined Tami, Ryan and I at our table, wearing a sweater vest and everything. So, it’s been a long time.
In runner speak, PF is Plantar Fasciitis. It’s so common/dreaded, it has its own acronym. And honestly, though I’ve heard tale of PF, I never thought much about it. Even when I worked at the running store in Orange County, and PF was this thing that was hush-hush whispered about, complete with special shoe inserts. By “didn’t think much about it” I mean, “I actually had no idea what it was.” It had to do with feet. And orthotics. And maybe older people? Maybe not.
A few months ago, I noticed that I occasionally had a light pain in my heel. Nothing crazy. Nothing I even bothered to pay attention to. Until it occurred to me that it wasn’t clearing up on its own. The dull, barely-there, practically indescribable feeling was just…usually there for the first few steps of my run, sometimes even hanging out on my walk to or from the office.
I’m not even sure what inspired me to Google “Plantar Fasciitis” (and I’m sure the devs at my job could show you my search history and prove to you I couldn’t even spell the damn thing) but during a moment when I needed a break from copywriting, I looked it up. And what do you know…symptoms include:
- The classic symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel pain when you take your first steps after getting out of bed or after sitting for a long period of time.
- Pain at the beginning of exercise that gets better or goes away as exercise continues but returns when exercise is completed.
Um. Crap. Heel pain – check. Pain that gets better during exercise but then comes back? Check. Regardless of what the good old internet said, I consulted with Dr. Dad, just to be sure. I emailed him my symptoms and asked what he thought. Dr. Dad’s response:
It does sound like plantar fasciitis. It could have arisen for no apparent reason. It could be short term, or it could last a long time. I had a recent experience that lasted for 6 months. Initially, I could hardly walk. It is not always that severe, however. The best medicine is rest and ibuprofen. I don’t think that you want to do a lot of resting, however. A heel lift in your shoe may help. I have some here, or sometimes, using some neoprene shaped to the heel of your shoe will work. I suggest that you try to switch to biking for awhile. I would not aggravate it too much. There is my quick, off the top answer.
Rest? Ibuprofen? Switching to biking?! Oy vey. Rest and recovery has never been my strong suit — and with the Oakland Half Marathon approaching, the last thing I want to do is take myself out of the running game.