The dreaded Plantar Fasciitis got me

I was 5 miles into the Great North Run last year when my foot gave out on me. I thought I had maybe cracked a metatarsal, and managed to walk/jog/run/limp my way to the end. 

I've not ran since. I've been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis and it's thought to have been caused by a pulled calf muscle that I didn't look after properly causing all the rest of my leg to tighten up. 

I've had months of (private) physio which has included stretching, taping, massage, ultrasound and even acupuncture. I've seen people from biomechanics, and had orthotics put in my shoes. I'm now seeing a consultant who initially did a cortisone injection (owwwwww) and then did a procedure called GPS where they remove blood from your arm, spin it fast to separate the plasma, then inject that back into your foot, followed by weeks in a moonboot, this hasn't worked and I now also have slight nerve damage in two of my toes through it. My GP has also prescribed me Tramadol and Naproxen. 

there is no way I'm running any time soon, I can't walk without being in pain. It's keeping me awake at night, and causing me to become depressed. 11 months of pain and not being able to run will do that to a person. 

So what do I do now? I'm back at the specialist in 2 weeks, and I feel so down. I don't know what the next step is. I want to be pain free and running again. Can anyone give me any beacon of hope? 


  • Blef.....

    initially reading the post I thought this was a wind up.......have any of these peopel been through the NHS or are you seeing a lot of private peopel.they seem to taking an awful lot of your money trying different procedures....

    If it was Plantar fascilitis orr achillies.then rest and gentle specific exercises would have cleared it by least to the point where no pain in daily life......

    those pain killers are very strong........has anyone checked out your spine...

  • Only the physio is private. And we both agreed after a couple of months of treatment that we didn't feel that things were improving, so I've not seen her for a couple of months. I initially left it for 16 weeks to clear up with rest, frozen water bottle, gentle stretching. Biomechanics and the specialist has agreed it's plantar fasciitis. 

    It's not a joke. I'm really fed up with not being able to run. I can't walk comfortably never mind run. And it is devastating me. I'd love to be able to run again. I'd love to be pain free. 

  • Have you ad any imaging done? 

    You old ask about ESWT which I thinks NICE approved in some situations - though only cautiously but in your case maybe worth a try?


    I sympathise...

  • Thank you x 

  • You said they put you in a moonboot - was that overnight? Did the above ever include doing something (whether taping or a brace) to keep the foot in a right angle to the leg while you sleep? Many apologies, btw, if the answer is YES AND THAT DIDN'T HELP EITHER. It's just that a bit of duck (or physio) tape keeping my foot flexed overnight has helped me a bit.

  • I have had plantar fasciitis in the past for which I have orthotics, but I fell on my bottom while ski-ing this March and then in April  while digging, caused an injury to my tibial tendon, connecting calf to mid foot on the inside of the leg.  I have not run since.  I am now waiting for new orthotics, but have been told to keep exercising, and the tendon problem is at last easing.  I swim and cycle, in order to keep things moving, but no way can I run, so I sympathise.  I am also finding that, as a person with short hamstrings, it helps after exercise to stretch the hamstrings, but I cannot do it in the way I could when I was able to run.  I am determined to run again.  I wish you luck

  • As a lay person I read your initial post and my thoughts are that no one has addressed the cause ..  no one has spoken about rehab and strengthenning and conditioning? Did the physio address this?
    I have a small collection of strengthenning exercises that I (forget to) do on numerous occaisions
    I had a pulled calf, achilles tear and tendonitis and a heel bursar ..  only strengthenning and condtioning has made the difference

  • Hi Blef,

    I agree with M..eldy - it does sound like no one has addressed the cause of the problem. By the sound of the combination of your symptoms this could infact be a problem higher up the chain.  Has anyone assessed you lower back or your neurodynamics? Straight leg raise etc?

    It is now thought that achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis might all orginiate or start due to poor nerve health/immunity and this is usually due to lots of poor loading to the lower back.  If a good nerve signal is not been sent to the tendons and fascia then they start to break down. Long periods of sustained poor posture is a common cause as this irritates the lower back and where the nerve originates to serve the legs..  I frequently see patients with achilles, calf and PF issues having lower back pain and stiffness on the same side and tight neurodynamics.  Often without experiening or reporting low back pain- hence a lot of therapist and consultants never even explore this area.

    The fact you are also getting night pain - this can be a common nerve related symptom and should at least be excluded.  The other problem with nerve symptoms is that they are often latent in there response to it is hard to work out what aggravates them- they don't hurt at the time and only a problem when you load your system like when running - hence you stop doing it! 

    I'd look at getting some good physio treatment to your lower back if this has not been explored.

    Try really watching your lower back postures- get a workstation assessment if you sit at a desk, care using laptops, sitting with your feet up on coffee tables etc- where your nerve is put on a full stretch.

    You then need to strengthen up at the core and trunk to stop irritating that kinetic chain.  This will help your biomechanics too so you don't keep loading the achilles and Plantar fasciitis badly. A good physio should guide you with these exercises.

    Don't get worried and stressed about it though- it unfortunately just makes everything 10 times worse (easier said than done i know!) 

    Just make sure you see a good physio somewhere that is experienced with treating runners, and will look at the whole kinetic chain and you should be back to full fitness soon.

    Not sure if you have tried one but cross trainers are usually great at allowing you to move your body forwards and backwards (what we are designed to do to keep healthy) without loading.  Will keep your CVS going and may also help to reduce some frustrations!

    Good luck.





  • Maybe you could have a read of matt barnes blogs/training diaries for the past few months over at runnerslife - to me imaging sounds like a must if none has been done to check plantar fascia thickness and working on loading the tendons themselves as well as mobilising the neural system and strengthening the core.

    Goof luck.
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