Saturday, November 09, 2013

Healing The Heel

I've noted here now and then that I'm having problems with my right heel.  It's swollen up on occasion and I stopped running about eight weeks ago and decided it was time to go to the doctor.  He sent me to a podiatrist.  (The referral system through Providence didn't work well at all.  It took three weeks and three follow up calls on my part just to get an appointment and I'm not sure I actually got to one of the four doctors that my doctor said he would recommend.)

The doctor said it was my tendon and that the minimalist shoes don't help.  Like the NYTimes article I posted about recently, he said that landing on the balls of your feet put more pressure on the tendons than other shoes
Image from Marathon Rookie
  He offered a whole array of possible actions.  I chose physical therapy.  This time I was able to get an appointment quickly - the day before we left for LA.

She set up a program of exercises that will strengthen the

The physical therapist gave me a set of exercises to strengthen the muscles in my calf to take pressure off of the tendon.

There are a lot of things to do.

I think I understand these exercises - and there are a few more - but I need to check one more time on how often I have to do them.  I know at least twice a day, but four lengths of the room (that only makes sense if you are in that room, which I was when she showed me what to do, but feet would also be helpful) four times for the heal raise and then there are three more where I have to walk on my heel - straight, on the outside of my heel, and on the inside of my heel.

There's also a protocol for getting back into running.  Starting with walking for 40 minutes for two days, then alternately walking for 4.5 minutes and jogging 30 seconds.  Then each day shorten the walking parts a bit and adding to the jogging.  All the while doing the exercises.  She said I could do the exercises during the walking parts.

This is the second time I've gone to a physical therapist.  The first time was when I dislocated a finger.  I was very impressed with her knowledge and my finger is almost completely normal.  It's not quite as straight as the other fingers, but barely noticeable.

And this time, her knowledge of the how the muscles interacted and what motions I needed to do to work particular muscles was eye-opening.

I think everyone should probably go to a physical therapist every now and then to make sure we aren't slipping into patterns that are causing damage. 

1 comment:


    I was there, Podiatrists, braces, orthopedists, Strasburg sock ( helped some).

    I was damn near on crutches. I tried these and in two weeks I was walking normally and after five years now the plantar fasciaitis has not returned. Just wear them and walk naturally.

    John Schroeder, Anchorage AK


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