Monday, April 19, 2010

5 Steps to heal plantar fasciitis: "cloud care" from running Twitter friends

I'm still hopping around on one foot. After more than a year of painful plantar fasciitis heel pain in my left foot (since December 2009) and months of not running (since June 2009) and medical care, this cursed injury has still not gone away.

It's hard to have an identity of "Runner" and not be able to run. Having a cheerful and fit ultra runner girl friend who moved in across the street recently just put salt in the would.

Me: "How did your 50K training run go in San Diego last weekend?"
Ms. Ultra Runner: "Oh fine. I'm really not very sore at all. *laughs * It was a tough run though. The wheels came off at about mile 20 but I managed to get it together and finish..."

Dang! I so wanted to be her. Dang! She's so happy and looks so fit...Dang! I want to run again...Dang! Dang! Dang! (Can you tell I'm missing my daily running fix? :/ )

So, out of frustration (and desperation) I looked for some sports injury advice from my @MultisportMama followers on Twitter. Here's their advice in a nutshell:

5 Steps to Get Rid of Plantar Fasciitis That Worked
  1. Stretch (gastrosoleus/calves/hamstrings), wear night splint to take load off foot tendons/fascia
  2. Strength train (heal raises, towel pulling with toes, core workouts, etc)
  3. Increase circulation with deep tissue massage, ultrasound or rolling foot on tennis ball
  4. Wear custom orthotics (I'm waiting for a pair to get finished now)
  5. Swim or bike (Don't run and cross-train instead)
How is that for some open source "cloud care"? It was free. It actually worked for other runners. It's based on first person evidence. It's current (meaning it is not based on some study done 20 years ago or a book). And, there is no financial incentive for them to sell me over-priced products and services that don't work.

To give credit where credit is due, here are some of running Twitter friends who kindly gave me the advice (and agreed to share their tweet names in time for this post):


Do you remember those $700 toilet seats from back in the 90s? That's how I feel about the insurance-inflated prices for stuff I have in my medical system. The $250 co-pay for the MRI, the $40 co-pay ($150-$212 cost to insurance) for "therapeutic exercises and ultrasound therapy" twice a week, the $20 ($53 cost to insurance) felt heel pad shoe inserts, and waiting 10 weeks for Anthem to approve the MRI so I was getting the wrong kind of treatment for months (getting PT for plantar fasciitis and not a stress fracture).  I think our medical system has some inherent conflicts of interest. I mean when my orthopedic surgeon foot specialist is part-owner of the medical and physical therapy clinic providing me with advice, products and physical therapy, it benefits him financially when I buy as much care as my insurance will approve. So, for example, the stress fracture in my heel-- the "calcaneal contusion"--that didn't show up in my X-Ray-- went untreated for three months before the doctor requested an MRI. Then it took 10 more weeks for the MRI to get approved (thanks Anthem). In the meantime I'm continuing with the same regime of physical therapy for plantar fasciitis and asked to walk on my foot--even though I had a stress fracture.

The current medical system is a game based on wrangling profit from the patients by both the care providers and the insurance companies.  In this system I only get as much care as my insurance company allows my doctor to proscribe. My doctor only proscribes as much care that the insurance company will approve to pay. That care is not based on needs of my running injury. It's based on what each side can get away with. That is not good outcome-orientated care. That is not good medical care. That is crappy care.

At this stage of the game, I'm sticking with my running Twitter friends' advice (see above). As far as I'm concerned, it's outcome-orientated care devoid from any profit incentive or conflict or interest.  I will do another blog post about their collective "5 Tips to Get Ride of Plantar Fasciitis That Worked" in mid-May. It will be a status report on how my new social media/sports injury "cloud care" system is working. If those "5 Tips..." actually worked for me.

Hopefully, by then I won't have to hop on one foot anymore.

Happy Trails!

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    I have plantar fasciitis myself for a few months now. My podiatrist prescribed me with Custom made orthotics which did not work at all. I understood that treatment efficiency is very individual. If something works for one it may not work for the other. There are many treatment techniques that you can try. There are Taping techniques that I find very useful. There are a few more self care techniques that I got from this informative website-


Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
:) A