The Strategies That Are Helping to Relieve My Plantar Fasciitis Pain

How columnist Karen Del Vecchio is reducing her soreness and tension

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by Karen Del Vecchio |

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I swear, every year that I’m a teacher, it seems like the school days go by faster. It’s hard to believe students have been back in school for more than three weeks!

When I realized last week that I had the beginnings of plantar fasciitis — an inflammation in the tissue of the arches of the feet that can cause heel pain — I found out that it’s actually not uncommon for those of us with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) to develop it. I also recognized that I’d need to try some different strategies and make some adjustments to find the best ways to maximize comfort and reduce inflammation. Since I stand on my feet a lot during the day while I’m teaching, my work shoes were one thing to consider.

I have a personal rule that no matter how cute a pair of shoes looks, if they’re not comfortable, I’m not buying them. With that said, just because my shoes are comfortable doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best for plantar fasciitis. Thanks to my EDS, my superflat feet have always made it difficult to find shoes I like. I’ve found that I often do best with little to no arch in my shoes, as too much causes my feet to cramp terribly; they can’t handle the forced shape.

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Taking Time to Heal Isn’t the Same as Giving Up

With plantar fasciitis, however, I’ve had to try for more of an in-between approach, as a little bit of arch support seems to help relieve my symptoms. I’ve tried to wear shoes that have a more structured foot bed but still plenty of padding. That definitely seems to help, and I’ve accepted that I may need to get another pair or two that fit this model. Hopefully, I can do that soon. It can be so hard for me to find comfortable shoes, between the arches and my tendency to blister easily, that ordering shoes online is usually pointless. Stores are the way to go!

Thankfully, during my last massage, my awesome therapist, Kim, really focused on my feet and the structures that support them. Apparently, tight hamstrings and calves can make plantar fasciitis worse, so Kim made sure to spend time on those areas as well. Since my back and shoulder are so damaged, my legs often get neglected, but this time they really needed some focused attention, and I could tell the difference afterward!

I also began putting a heating pad under my foot at Kim’s suggestion. Articles I read online were split as to whether heat or ice is better, but knowing me, Kim said to give heat a try. She was right! I can definitely tell the difference when I take 10 to 15 minutes before bed to use my heating pad. I can feel the tension in my foot loosen as the heat soaks in.

While I realize that my journey toward healing has only begun, I’m glad to have found at least a few ways to help keep the pain at a manageable level and, at the same time, encourage the healing process to begin. It’ll take a while, but at least I’ve gotten started!

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 other 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.


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