For my EDS foot pain, small changes made a big difference

After ignoring plantar fasciitis pain, a columnist takes action

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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I’ve been fighting plantar fasciitis on and off for over a year. While I’ve tried to do some things to manage it, mostly I’ve just ignored it. That’s one of my frequent go-to, but not-so-great, coping mechanisms for physical pain. As a result, my foot pain worsened over the past few weeks, and I finally had to give in and give it some concerted attention.

Those of us with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) frequently deal with plantar fasciitis. I’m in the category of EDS patients who have very flat feet, as my arch is almost nonexistent. When I was in high school, prior to my EDS diagnosis, the suggested remedy for my foot pain was usually arch-support orthotics. I gave them a try several times but ended up discarding them a few days after each attempt, as they caused extreme pain.

After my diagnosis, I realized that the pain was likely because my feet simply weren’t designed for that much arch support. The orthotics were trying to force my feet into a shape they simply couldn’t handle. I usually sought out shoes that were padded but largely flat, which was most comfortable for my feet. Now, however, as my plantar fasciitis repeatedly flares, I’ve had to look for a different solution. It’s become clear to me that flat shoes are making the problem worse.

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Give it a try

On a particularly painful day, I was walking through a store and noticed some plantar fasciitis relief orthotics. They weren’t terribly expensive, and I was open to trying anything that might provide me with some relief. I bought them with hope but little expectation that they would help.

I tossed them in my barn boots before going out to do chores on my farm and hoped for the best. To my surprise and delight, they made a big difference. I found that they were heavily padded and had arch support, but it wasn’t extreme. Plus, the cushioning prevented the arch support from feeling like a golf ball under my foot.

With that piece of information, I decided to make a concerted effort to wear shoes that provide cushioning and support to see if it made a difference. I have a pair of clogs that offer just the right amount of support as well as a good pair of sneakers, so I’ve done my best to wear a combination of my clogs, boots, and sneakers over the past few weeks. Thankfully, this has made a difference.

It’s been a great reminder that I shouldn’t always be so dismissive of my EDS pain. While it’s true that I often can’t do much to ease it, I shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea that perhaps there are things that can help, especially if they are inexpensive and noninvasive. I’ve vowed to do better about trying them.


Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.

Comments

Liz Casale avatar

Liz Casale

I have the same situation, flat feet. I’ve had some bouts of p fasciitis; thankfully nothing too long lasting. I’ve only tried drugstore shoe supports so far with some success. Can you mention what store you found these orthotics in? Recently, I’ve been experiencing pain in my right foot that feels like a broken bone. Quite painful and affects my walking. Apparently, it’s a pinched nerve coming from the bones in the foot that are moving out of place. My chiropractor can bump it back in place but since I’m exercising it keeps happening over and over again. I’m guessing the flat feet are a factor here. I am grateful that I’m not in any worse shape! Thank you for the articles!

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Karen Del Vecchio avatar

Karen Del Vecchio

Hi Liz! Our comment feature is having some glitches, but this is Karen. I found them at a local store, but you should be able to find the ones I'm using on Amazon or another store. They're Dr. Scholls Plantar Fasciitis Orthotics for Women.

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Stan Guest,PT,OCS FAAOMPT avatar

Stan Guest,PT,OCS FAAOMPT

I frequently treat plantar fasciitis on myself and my patients with 1/4" heel lifts. Lifting the heel naturally reduces Pronation(flattening of the foot). I moved away from foot orthotic use as the arch support places excessive tension on the plantar fascia. Leuko tape support of the foot is also helpful. With my hypermobility, I can manage to self tape my foot. I have a video of this technique on our clinic you tube channel. Also correcting gait mechanics is helpful. Using this approach I was able to continue my running regiment while recovering from the plantar fasciitis.

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