Hey, I noticed this post is a little old, but I just wanted to give my personal experience as someone who suffered/s plantar fasciitis.
About two years ago, after completing BCT and starting AIT with the army, I developed a really really bad case of plantar fasciitis and maybe a little fallen arches. After five months of not being able to run (and almost crying just walking up and down the hill to work, my mom bought me some Good Feet arch supports, the custom $400 ones. They said I would have to wear them for the rest of my life because of my weakened arches. I said f*** that.
So what I ended up doing, was I wore the supports religiously for about a year, or until walking around barefoot didn't hurt and my arches had pretty much raised and repaired. It still took about another five monthes after first wearing them to start running again. After that first year, I started weaning myself off of the supports. I only wore them in my boots and for long runs on pavement.
Around then, I was doing a lot of research on my condition, and a lot of people have already suggested some great things like stretching and small exercises, and I would recommend those too. Some thing that worked for me well were stretching my calves (because the calf muscle pulls on the foot muscles I guess) and flexing a stretching exercises. Also I started doing more minimalist exercises, though still wearing the softest inserts for long run.
Now, I only wear the inserts in my boots and all of my workouts are in minimalist shoes. I hope eventually to take the inserts out of my boots and maybe only wear them for heavy ruck marches. My favorite shoes are the Vibram (Bikrims??) which are made to help correct step technique. They are awesome. My PT shoes are NB Minimus, which are nice and snug to the foot, but dont have toes. Personally I find the toes help me get the best grip and balance, but the army is afraid of monkey feet, so I wear the NB most often. I personally feel the minimalist running style is the best for my feet, and I haven't had foot pain for many months.
I was previously diagnosed with PF in 1993, and after a time, I used stretches and strengthening and have had little or no problems for several years. I was recently (Sept 2013) diagnosed with several back problems including a cyst that presses on my sciatic nerve. I LOVE my vibram shores and would not want to be without them. I like to go barefooted at home in the warm weather, but in the winter they vibrams keep my feet warm indoors and out. I especially like them for balance and strength work, they are great for yoga and piltes, and I think I am going to also start using them for TRX. It took me no time to get use to them, but that might have been because I was use to going barefoot.
I do think some of the balance work is easier with them, but overall I just find that they are bore comfortable. Not sure that it matters, but I have also been told that I pronate and that I have high arches. Not sure how that matters, but my most comfortable shoes are indeed my Vibrams. Wish I could wear them at work.
Last edited by katlane; 03-14-2013 at 10:23 PM.
I had plantar fasciitis for a few years in my teens (I know, wtf). Against doctors orders, I started doing calf raises, rolling the bottom of the foot on a tennis ball, and and icing them. Within a month, I was wearing shoes without inserts. Not long after, I was wearing converses. Since then, I've been mostly hooked on the minimalist type of shoe.
I have super-painful heel pain and pad-of-foot pain and have tried tons of stuff. I have to agree that the "rocker" shoes are the only thing that ever worked. When I use them, the pain goes away entirely. When I go barefoot, even around the house, the pain comes back fiercely in about two days. I'd love to embrace the barefoot/Vibram way and used to be barefoot for years (I lived in the Caribbean), but things change and unfortunately, this is one of them. The idea that going through excruciating pain by walking barefoot until my foot muscles "toughen up" just doesn't sit well with me.
I wanted to add a link to a video that has made a big difference for me. This is from the Sock Doc website and it works great. As with many ailments, your calves are the real culprit. This trigger point work has helped and is easy enough to do whether you're at home or work. I wear Vivobarefoot shoes to work and Luna Sandals most of the rest of the time. I don't believe more supportive shoes or orthotics will do anything but weaken your feet and legs.