When I first felt that stabbing pain in my heels, I had no idea what it was. I even ran the next day, unsure as to what the problem was and just being stubborn, as usual. One quick internet search and I found my ailment. Something called Plantar fasciitis. I was to immediately stop all running, never walk barefoot again in my life (WHAT?!?!?) and get some arch supports for my feet. These directions I followed for quite a few months, on top of icing, rolling tennis balls and all sorts of special stretches.
The pain got slowly better, but too slow. Summer arrived and I wasn't supposed to wear my favorite flip flops and keep my feet in supportive shoes at all times. This had to be some kind of torture. I cannot wear SHOES all summer!! So, being the stubborn princess that I am, I wore my flip flops anyway. Teva Mush to be precise.
I didn't notice my feet getting any worse, in fact, they still slowly seemed to be getting better? Every day I continued my calf stretches and eventually I was able to run again without the stabbing pain. It still lingered there though and any amount of soreness scared me. I didn't want that pain coming back!
I was still wearing inserts and taping my feet/arches during runs
but for the most part I had cut my runs down to nearly nothing and I was cross training, afraid to aggravate them running and have the PF come back. Then I came across a book...Born To Run. Interestingly enough, the author of the book had running injuries and was searching for answers as well. I was pulled into a world of information and have found myself reading many books on barefoot running and heel striking since then. It might be that never going barefoot and putting inserts in my shoes was weakening my feet, not strengthening them! The huge stabilizing shoes with massive heels were causing me to heel strike when running. No wonder my heels hurt!
Here is a shot from my 5K, see how my heels are hitting the ground first? OUCH!
The search led me through quite a few pairs of shoes, settling on my minimal shoes, Brooks Pure Flow, and some Vibram Five Fingers for real foot strengthening. I ran in them for the first time ever when there was snow on the ground. I didn't go far as you have to transition slowly when your muscles are weak. It felt fantastic to just run down the street in these puppies. I can feel the different muscles in my feet that I'm using when wearing these. I took a nice 2 1/2 mile walk in them as well to help strengthen my feet.
Less heel helps me keep from heel striking and being barefoot or in Vibrams actually BUILDS those muscles in the arch so they are stronger...not encased in shoes that immobilize them. Think about when you are in a cast for weeks and how those muscles are weak when you get out of it. That is what massive shoes were doing to my feet and arches!
My calves hurt on those first few runs, they weren't used to stretching so much. No heel pain though! I'm overjoyed! Rey has been teasing me because I have more shoes now than I think I ever have had. I loved my Brooks Pure Flow, so I bought them in 2 different colors. I also got another Brooks shoe, the Cadence, and I like it, but it's actually too much shoe for running, so I just wear them everyday. My shoe stash...
So, although I'm sure a whole post on shoes isn't everyone's cup of tea, it has been important enough in my journey to warrant a whole post. Chucking the glass slippers and running in less has made all the difference in my running and seems to be curing me of these injuries that have plagued my running!