Plantar fasciitis and hiking

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Plantar fasciitis and hiking

Post by Lekilei253 » August 25th, 2015, 10:23 am

I hear it pretty common and usually heals over time but I am missing the trails this year due to plantar fasciitis.

Anyone experience this and have any thing that really helped them? I really want to get hiking, but some days it is just too painful.

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Re: Plantar fasciitis and hiking

Post by sprengers4jc » August 25th, 2015, 11:37 am

I have suffered with this for years and it took me that long to get down a routine that minimizes the likelihood of a flare.

• The thing that helps me most is stretching (and always wearing shoes, even in the house. Tile floors are a killer on PF!). Hurdler stretches at least twice a day, more when I have hiked that day. Most of the tight muscles come from your back, glutes, hamstrings and calves and pull on the plantar fascia so stretching them out is key. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I stretch then, too, or it is extremely painful in the morning. Legs out in front, pointing the toes, also helps tremendously.

• Also, I have no arches in my feet for the most part so I switched to Merrell Moab Ventilators because they don't have an aggressive arch support like Keens, Danners and other brands. Buy at REI so you can return them if they don't work. Some people will say SuperFeet inserts but they killed my feet. Your feet may have really high arches, and they could be collapsing a bit, causing the aggravation. Either way, find shoes that support your feet as they are right now (not ones that force it into positions that are not your natural one).

• Magnesium supplements and NSAIDS can also help with relaxing the muscles. Your doctor could also prescribe something like Robaxin if it's extreme tightness.

• Avoid walking or standing on concrete or pavement, as I find this really bothers even a tiny flare.

• Choose hikes that start out gentle so your muscles can warm up before the elevation starts. This minimizes the pull of tight muscles.

I have managed to hike every weekend this year following these guidelines. Best of luck to you!
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Re: Plantar fasciitis and hiking

Post by miah66 » August 25th, 2015, 11:57 am

I had a mild issue a few weeks ago for the first time, even after hiking thousands of miles in the past few years. I wore ill-fitting shoes and I bruised the bottom of my foot wearing thin sandals on rocky terrain. After that I had serious pain in my heel that just wouldn't stop. I couldn't even put weight on it for about a week. I took a couple weeks off hiking, and I'm still limping a bit, but I was able to hike Opal Creek 9 days ago w/ no probs. I used a squishy ball to roll under my foot while i laid on the couch. It seems to be improving, but now I'm afraid of a recurring issue now that it has happened once.
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Re: Plantar fasciitis and hiking

Post by justpeachy » August 25th, 2015, 4:16 pm

PF can be an annoying problem that is difficult to self-treat It's a good idea to see a podiatrist and get fitted for orthotics.

For general foot health, not just PF, there are several things you can do. First off, put all your flip-flops in the trash. Those things are just awful for your feet. For summertime invest in sandals that actually support your feet, and never hike in sandals. Also, make sure you have plenty of toe room in all your shoes, including your hiking boots. The vast majority of people are wearing shoes that are too small for them. If the tips of your toes are touching the inside of your shoe, your shoe is too small.

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Re: Plantar fasciitis and hiking

Post by kepPNW » August 26th, 2015, 5:51 am

The two things that helped me the most were losing weight and finding shoe brands that provided "proper" arch support. I'm sure the latter is different for everyone, as Keri suggested when saying find one that fits your foot as-is. I've lucked out in having a couple reliable choices (Merrell and New Balance). Fwiw, I also have phenomenal comfort in Nike flip flops! I could live/hike full-time in these, even though I never could wear their shoes...
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Re: Plantar fasciitis and hiking

Post by BurnsideBob » August 26th, 2015, 7:06 am

I had a problem with plantar fasciitis, so I'm susceptible to a re-occurrence. I've also had problems with chronic inflammation of other tendons in my feet.

The previous comments and suggestions are excellent and well worth following. Some other things that have helped me are:

Slowing down. I like loop hikes where I can do the steep uphill hard for cardio and then coast along slow on an extended downhill return. The energy your body needs to dissipate with each stride doesn't double when you double your speed, it quadruples.

Avoiding impact. I've learned not to jump, or do explosive type exercise, especially on hard surfaces. The energy your body needs to dissipate has to be dissipated over a time interval. With a hard impact, the time to dissipate that energy is reduced, increasing stress.

Not hyper extending irritated tissue. Exercises commonly recommended for hikers/back packers like squats, lunges can aggravate joint issues. Very easy for me to not do these!

Massaging the tendon insertion points. Hard to do for the heel insertion point of the plantar fascia, but really helpful for my other problem spots.

Doing toe curls and ankle extension and dorsiflexion before I get out of bed. When on a back pack,doing these range-of-motion exercises at night (if I'm not sleeping) helps.

Wearing footwear that reduces ankle and foot flex when things are bad. I used my old-school full shank, cramponable mountaineering boots several years ago when I was having problems. I had the frankenstein thing going, but I was able to keep going and my plantar fasciitis actually improved on a 9 day back pack in Idaho's Sawtooths.

Losing weight. I have been a miserable failure on this one!! Curse you, VooDoo Donuts!

Consistency. The worst thing I've done recently is stop walking entirely (pinched nerve root L1/L2). So even when stuff hurts, I do something, just more slowly for less time.

These suggestions have worked for me. I hope you find them helpful. Good luck!
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Re: Plantar fasciitis and hiking

Post by Double Tree » September 10th, 2015, 7:34 pm

I did self-treat when I got symptoms of pf. If I hadn't seen immediate improvement, I'd have been at the doctor over it. Got the stiff heals that would loosen up after walking a few steps, and pain of course. Came down with it several months after starting a new job that required walking on concrete routinely.

The biggest thing I did was start stretching my calves routinely. Place one leg back, plant the heal firmly into the ground, and lean forward, and hold for 20+ seconds. Switch sides. Switch sides again. Did this several times each day. I saw significant improvement (probably 80% better) within a month. I think I was lucky. Had (improving slowly) symptoms for around a year but I've been fine since then (7 years now?)

Maintenance to avoid recurrence is, do the same stretches daily no matter what. So far, it's worked.


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Re: Plantar fasciitis and hiking

Post by leiavoia » September 19th, 2015, 12:07 pm

Calf stretch is the single best thing you can do immediately. Especially first thing in the morning after you get up.

For hiking boots or sport shoes: spend the money and get a quality orthodic insert. Superfeet are okay but tend to be hard. Sole and PolySorb brands are much better. Be sure to try them on in person before buying anything.

For home: especially if you have hard floors: Birkenstock Arizona sandals. Worth every penny. I've been wearing mine every day for at least 12 years now.

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Re: Plantar fasciitis and hiking

Post by vibramhead » September 22nd, 2015, 3:01 pm

leiavoia wrote:Calf stretch is the single best thing you can do immediately. Especially first thing in the morning after you get up.
This is what worked for me when I had a mild case of it. Per doc's advice, I just spent a few minutes a day standing on a step, with my heels hanging off the edge, which did a nice job of stretching out the calves. It was gone within a week.
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Re: Plantar fasciitis and hiking

Post by pablo » October 1st, 2015, 3:19 pm

Lekilei253 wrote:I hear it pretty common and usually heals over time but I am missing the trails this year due to plantar fasciitis.

Anyone experience this and have any thing that really helped them? I really want to get hiking, but some days it is just too painful.
justpeachy speaks with great wisdom - 1) go see a podiatrist and 2) get a custom orthotic if that's what the Dr. recommends. I wasted a bunch of money on inserts that never worked and for a while I thought I was finished as far as hiking was concerned. Took about 2-3 weeks after I started with the custom orthotic and it all went away and has never returned - this was maybe 5-6 years ago.

About the best $900 (minus insurance) I've ever spent.

Good luck,

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