Life at 43: Plantar fasciitis (ouch)

Hello and welcome to my Ted X talk on this delightful condition that pretty much every middle aged woman has or will go through at some stage. It’s based on my own experience only and of course anecdotal evidence and discussion with hundreds of women through social media. I’m no where near finished this experience, in fact I am only really at the beginning, but hopefully you find it helpful.

I remember being in my thirties and the only real issue I had with my body was the lack of sleep from small children. Now THAT is a special kind of fresh hell, but it seemed if I out on weight, I ate well and exercised and BAM! I’d lose weight. And then I hit the late thirties, had a geriatric pregnancy (their terms, not mine) and managed to get a little more sleep deprivation, some peri-oral dermatitis and now here I am in my mid forties with the delightful condition known as Plantar Fasciitis. As an aside, I have also started to realise that the deodorant I have ALWAYS used, and done the trick, no longer works. And I am smelling like a kebab at the end of most days, my friend Nikki tells me this is another joy of getting older, and we know need CLINICAL PROTECTION hard core, top shelf stuff. That’s done the trick for me, but sheesh, way to kick a girl. It’s like I am a smelly, pimply teenager all over again except angry and tired and sick of everyone’s shit WITH REASON.

But I digress on one condition, for another, back to the trotters.

I started getting this condition in about November last year. I spent from March to November wearing Supergra sneakers. They looked great but MAN they were not good. Heavy, platformed and no support and my right foot gave way in November with searing pain at the end of the day at the base of my heel and arch and after some google research I realised I had the condition known as plantar fasciitis. Of course, I did what I always do and asked social media and people I knew for advice, before speaking to a professional (Narrator: You should not do this) and got every tip under the sun:

  • Wear supportive shoes
  • Stretches for your legs
  • water bottle frozen that you roll over at night
  • icing
  • orthotics

And so on, and so forth. And then it was summer and I basically didn’t wear shoes very often and strangely enough (this should have done the opposite) it got better! Walking with no shoes on sand and hard ground should have aggravated it and yet it somehow made it better. Until I was back to school and work and packing and running around (which we did a LOT of as we moved office) and it got SO bad that I decided that I really did need to see a podiatrist, which I did. I think Rob would have divorced me if I didn’t shut up about the pain with literally not trying to seek advice to fix it. I’m special like that!

I have now had the mould made for my orthotics which I am waiting on. I have been stretching out my calf muscles a LOT (which is where I have SO MUCH TENSION and tightness I can’t even tell you) and wearing good supportive shoes all day, literally taking them off just before bed because the pain I get at night is unbearable. My mother in law who is a massage therapist tells me that a good and strong muscle release in the legs will make a huge difference too so I need to book that in.

Word on the street every time I post about it has shown lots of different things. On the extreme end: surgery that either works perfectly for some, or not at all. Acupuncture has helped LOTS of people as has massage or dry needling. Steroid injections are a bastard and hurt a LOT that seem to work, or not, depending on the person. One person was able to cure theirs with doing squats. Just squats over and over again. Icing over and over will help inflammation and that water bottle will be great to do with rolling your foot over it. See? It’s up to each individual whether things work or not – that’s why you should try and work out your own plan with a professional. One friend here was telling me that she tried everything, EVERYTHING and spent thousands of dollars on treatment and eventually one day she woke up AND IT WAS JUST GONE. What the fuck you bastard of a thing!

For me, so far I am having success with:

  • stretches (this makes the biggest difference to me) 3 times a day (at meal times as a reminder) stretching the calves.
  • Better footwear. Support is your friend, if you like thongs apparently Archies are great
  • Orthotics are coming in a week: will report back
  • Massage. I am going to book in for leg release
  • Acupuncture: will defo book this in too

So that’s me, hobbling about anytime after 7pm when I have literally been on my feet for 12 hours running around. I am hoping that the orthotics help and I am PRAYING that I don’t get this shit in my other foot. But because I know I am not alone in this hell, I thought I would share my experience and also find out from you, what helped you.

So over to you guys, tell us all everything and make us all really confused.
And go see someone professionally, seriously.

Comments

  1. Kirsten Immens says

    I feel your pain…. literally! It took me at least 12 months to be completely pain free in my left foot, only to have my right foot start feeling that searing pain. At 44 I’ve never felt so old, so sore and so cranky. I can now imagine how chronic pain must feel. My husband is also not a fan… I don’t think he banked on PF joining our family. I have googled everything, tried physio, stretching, massage but end it just took time. Oh, and wearing my Frankie4s from the moment I get out of bed. So, as I brace myself for those first few steps of the day, I’ll think of you and all the other PF sufferers about to hobble their way through the day chasing kids, dogs, partners….

  2. Katrina Harvey says

    I call it Poor Sore Footy-it is …. at least it makes me laugh!
    I have a fortnightly massage on my legs, calves and feet as well as acupuncture and orthotics and good shoes (Frankie 4 or Bared only – I also keep their older worn out shoes as my house / garden shoes so I’m always wearing them). There are good days, there are bad days.

  3. I’ve done the whole orthotics, dry needling, shock wave, sensible shoes and stretches. It all helped but I think time and less stress helps. I still had this pain I’d get in my right calf when exercising started, reformer Pilates and it’s gone.

  4. I’m off to the podiatrist this morning for the first time. I just kept.putting it off.but it’s making me miserable. Crossing fingers they can help!

  5. Cheekie says

    I gave up and do whatever I want as no rhyme or reason. I hiked16km and knock back some nurofen or bed down for a day with feet on ice or get a facial. Honestly at 50plus I now go with my instincts

  6. Amanda G says

    So I had this happen to me a few years ago, spent heaps of $$ at podiatrist, had it strapped on and off, wore orthotics, was finally booked in for an injection, and then it just disappeared. Haven’t had a peep of it since. So weird!!! If it comes back though, I would try acupuncture for sure, thats worked for me with other things, so Id definitely give it a go.

  7. Wear Birkenstocks! Archies too uncomfortable and not as all-over supportive. Highly rec footlogics orthotics for fraction of price of custom made.

  8. Christy says

    A night split and birkenstocks are what saved me. A night split (bought cheaply from ebay etc) will let the micro-tears heal when foot/Achilles tendon are fully stretched. Stops the searing pain on walking first thing in the morning. Good luck!

  9. Feet are everything. My exercise instructor for oldies says we should all walk around with no shoes. She got us into those runner’s socks with all the toes in them.

  10. I developed this from walking around a hospital as part of my job. I iced it after work, had dry needling in my calf because the muscles tighten, and had custom orthotics made. I wore these in supportive shoes. You have to wear the orthotics in over a few days. It was the orthotics that cured mine withing a few months. The relief from pain was fantastic. Good luck.

  11. I went through this too. I used to dread putting my feet on the floor when I got out of bed in the morning. Then one day it just disappeared. Hope things improve soon.

  12. Hi. Custom made Orthotics definitely plus I love my Archies around the house. My physio told me not to be barefoot in the beginning. A small water bottle frozen and rolled under my foot in the active, painful phase helped so much with the pain. If I go on a long walk I still wear my orthotics but can wear normal shoes again now which I’m very happy about. Good luck with it all! 😊

  13. I haven’t had this, but I do have other chronic pain so understand how it gets you down and just leaves you feeling a bit shit… but what is it with the deodorant thing? I’ve been wondering why my has been letting me down, just assumed it was because of hot flushes etc. So glad to hear it’s not just me, but sorry this is happening to you, Ok so I’ll be brave and try the chemical overload version.
    cheers Kate

    • The deodorant thing is crazy. I’ve recently developed a reaction to any deodorant I use, including all the natural ones I’ve used for years. The skin blisters and reacts if I use it now. I’m just happy it’s autumn in regional Victoria and the BO factor is reduced.

    • Just another joy of older age!

  14. Ok, I JUST like about the suddenly smelling thing this morning on my Insta stories!!! It’s been going on for a while but I thought it was a hot weather thing. But no. It’s cool here now & I still have BO for the first time in my life!! Man, getting older is a TRIP!

    And I bought Archies this summer. They are better than havis but no miracle worker. I feel like years of wearing cons, saltwater sandals & havis have ruined my feet.

    Can I ask, when you wake up in the morning does it take a little while for your feet to stretch out & feel normal to walk on? Mine feel almost too tender & cramped up so I hobble for the first minute or two then I’m ok. Should I go to a podiatrist? Do you think it’s worth it?

    • I used to have that for and able stiffness in the morning for a minute or so until they kind of ‘warmed up, it stopped when I started HRT ( estrogen has anti inflammatory effects, and that stiffness and other joint pains are on the list of 6942 symptoms of menopause😆 oh joy!!!!)

      • Reannon says

        Oh yay 😂😂😂😂
        I’ve had my bloods done a few times & my hormone levels are all ok but I am starting oestrogen this month to help with hormonal headaches so I’ll see if it helps with the feet thing too!

        • andrea stuart says

          Oh, I would be really interested to know if the oestrogen helps!!! It made a difference to me within days, but they say can take a ffew months to have effect. Best of luck!!!

    • Oh this was so me! Actually it was all me! I dreaded waking up and putting my feet on the ground. I started taking pain medication from gp, rolled the ball of my foot on a tennis ball alllll the time and stretched my foot. Lost a few kgs (no idea if that’s related), woke up one day and it was gone!!! Cannot wear sws or converse etc, I need better support but it’s stayed away for over 5 years. Awful pain, awful

    • A definite hobble but I know its to do with this condition.

  15. Yep been there done that and depending on footwear or lack of, still there! Done it all over the years…steroid injections aaaagh 😩😩. Podiatrist recommended never going barefoot for long periods ….has really helped. Stretching and rolling the foot over a golf ball, really helps. But the big one was footwear….I had on my Frankie4’s and was told they just aren’t stable or supportive enough! I have found out that is correct….if I wear them…back it comes 😥. Glam has gone out the window for pain free feet.

  16. Hi Beth, podiatrist here! Sounds like you are doing everything you can. There’s no one magical cure. It takes a number of interventions and it all works together. My one bit of advice is you need to absolutely avoid any kind of slippers. I know it’s tempting. But they are just no good at all! No support. Too sloppy. Wear sneakers at home, and pop them on from very moment you get out of bed. If you are going to be on your feet 12 hrs a day you need to be in the most supportive shoes you can. Good luck!

  17. Oh the agony!!! I’ve been there over the years and there’s only one answer. TIME! It’s just like tennis elbow and one day it’s suddenly gone. I had tried everything too. Acupuncture is a waste of money. Had cortisone injections which were sooo painful but bearable if you think they might help, orthotics which I still wear on the off chance they’ll prevent a recurrence. Everyone told me it would get better with time but some days when the pain is really bad you can’t imagine it’s true but 18 months later – gone! Hang in there!

  18. I feel your pain. I had it for about 6 months then someone recommended getting the fasciitis fighter and I did off eBay. Did it twice a day and was all good in a month or so!

  19. Its the absolute pits. Woke up 1st of Feb with it, and now it’s always there. Some days there’s some relief, but not much. It’s in both feet. It hurts during the night, and is worst at either ends of the day. Ive followed podiatrist advice – reduced my walking (can only walk with minimal discomfort for 15-20mins, I was walking 5-8km per day 6 days a week), never bare foot, new comfy runners, only wear Frankie4, stretches, rest, ice, taping, anti inflammatory creams, massage, and acupuncture of calf. Yesterday had my first shockwave treatment – oh that was PAINFUL. I’m hopeful it will help. It’s getting me down not being able to walk without pain. Walking is how I manage stress and keep active. I started swimming this week, pain free and gets me out of my sad head. I’m going to keep it up. Good luck to you, we are all in the painy-feet club, where membership just sucks.

  20. On my feet most of the day and cheap shoes was not a good mix. Invested in some Bared sneakers and I have a new pair of feet!

  21. Anne Skippington says

    Yes. Definitely agree with always wearing supportive shoes and orthotics. Not glamorous, but pain free!!!

  22. Hey Beth – try Andrew Forbes in Bowral. Made a shoe mould for me and my Plantar Fasciitis is under control again .. relief 😀

  23. Vicki M says

    PF is so darn painful and debilitating, I remember oh so well! Look into Shock Treatment which has proven to be a very successful treatment for PF … I know my Physio Matthew Ott at Mittagong Physio and Pilates claims he’s had trendies success treating PF with this method. I’ve had shock treatment for gluteal tendonitis (another common middle aged condition to look forward to) with great success. Hope you get some relief soon!

  24. Hi Beth, I feel your pain literally. I’ve tried all the same things as you have with the addition of FS6 socks. They have been a life saver, I wear them year round even with sandals they come in a flesh colour. Good luck

  25. Stretch your calves by standing heel off the back of a step, or foot up an incline.

    PF is painful until you get the middle aged woman condition of frozen shoulder .., woozers. And it’s the same, it just disappears after a long period of time

  26. I feel so seen! Yes to all of this! (even the kebab, lol). The tight calves, morning dread of putting your feet to the floor. The years of wearing flat unsupportive shoes – cons, salties, havis etc. I have orthotics (don’t like them though, they gave me knee pain so haven’t persisted with them). Best thing I’ve done is get a Physioworx Stretch Board. The first time I used it I had an emotional release, the tears just flowed! I now use it morning and night and if needed through the day (have it at the end of my bed to remind me). Also a super spikey ball to roll all the knots out of my feet at the end of the day. I LOVE my Archies and wear them instead of slippers- gifted them to all my flat footed family too. But it’s Bared that have changed my world! I can wear a real shoe, not just a sneaker (although their sneakers are the best). And lastly to banish those kebab pits, Woohoo has you covered- go Wild! X

  27. Kirstyn says

    Experienced my first delightful bout of PF after a week traipsing the streets of Bali in Havis (yep, serves me right). After suffering the joys of PF for a couple of months, I spent a busy social weekend wearing a wedge sandal and I was cured! CURED!! Considered myself VERY lucky…. until ‘Frozen Shoulder’ kicked in! Still dealing with that little gift (cortisone helps!). Apparently I still have Gallstones to look forward to….Fun times….

  28. Hi Beth,
    PF sounds awful! Thank you for sharing your experience and tips which will no don’t be helpful for a lot of people and a great reference for any future experience of it🤞
    If it’s not too personal I’m interested in what industrial strength deodorant you use and could recommend? Or at least what to look for?

    • Ha! I just use DOVE clinical protection which is in the supermarket where the other ones are just slightly above. They say like 3 X or something on them!

  29. I used to be a runner and then I developed PF in my right foot at age 41, and the piling on of weight began… I had physio including dry needling (which helped), podiatry and orthotics (also helped), and replaced all my shoes with Frankie4 and Bared. I also tried many things that didn’t help, including shockwave therapy. The natural history of PF is that it resolves with time, which eventually is what happened after about 18 months. It flared up from time to time but was manageable. Before I had the chance to celebrate, I developed a Morton’s neuroma (bursal neuromal complex) in my left forefoot – it feels like I’m stepping on a marble and it’s a weird deep nervy pain. VERY difficult to treat. I got new orthotics, which helped, but then I developed PF in the left heel – so the front AND back of my left foot were stuffed. More podiatry and more physio – about 18 months later the PF has resolved and the neuroma is smaller but still there. I’ve managed to avoid cortisone injections and surgery – for now. And then, delightfully, in January I got a stress fracture in my left foot, in the bone that overlies the neuroma. Thankfully I don’t have osteoporosis but I can’t explain the fracture. I’m still recovering after several weeks in a boot. SO incredibly frustrating, and I just cannot shift the weight, which doesn’t help with recovery. I hope you can avoid all of my dramas!!

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