Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy and in passing I was talking with somebody who asked me if plantar fasciitis would just go away on its own. Apparently this poor woman has been suffering from having her feet hurt for several months going into some years. She, like many people with plantar fasciitis, has her ups and downs. Sometimes it's just like a mild ache every day. And then some days it feels so sharp she can't walk on her own feet. She has a lot of problems walking in the morning. Those first couple steps really feel like she's walking on eggshells but then she starts to get a rhythm going and she's okay after that for a few hours. When she sits for long periods at her desk, it feels like she has to start all over again, since those couple of steps are painful before she can get things moving again.
She has been to her doctor who sent her to a podiatrist, and they gave her cortisone injections that helped for a while. Then slowly over time that plantar fasciitis came back. So then she tried some really expensive orthotics and that was annoying because they only fit in sneakers. After doing some research, she found another place that has really nice inserts that fits in any shoe you choose. So she was a little bit happier, but she still has this pain that just keeps coming back over time. She was wondering how you get rid of it. She'd done physical therapy before where they had her do towel crunches and some ankle motion. But She said “I didn't really see a point, and so I didn't keep going.” She said “I do all the stretches they tell me. I’ve tried really hard to get rid of this, but it's just not going away. And I just want to know if eventually it will finally just work itself out.”
I was sitting at a park one day and started chatting with this mom, whom I’d seen before but never really talked to before. When Donna found out I was a physical therapist she stood up quickly and asked me “Do I walk like a duck?” Then she did a runway walk so that I could see how she walked.
Donna went on to tell me that she’s been super paranoid about how she walks since her oldest son told her she walks like a duck. “I’m not really sure why it bothered me so much. He said it several weeks ago and I’m still thinking about it.”
I told her of course that hurt your feelings. But why did he say that to you? Was he pointing out that you walk with your feet pointed out? She said “yes, that and he told me I waddle side to side.” (Aren’t kids great 🤦♀️)
I told her many people walk with their feet turned out is this new for you? Have you been having pain in your feet or your knees? After the second question she gave me an odd look like how did you know that? So I told her many people with foot or knee pain will change how they walk to avoid the pain. At the end of the day my feet are achy. I’ve noticed that I don’t like to sit for longer than 30 minutes because my feet start to really hurt. My knees have kind of always been an issue but they don’t stop me from doing anything. So, I just ignore them.
Walking with your feet turned out isn’t necessarily a problem. However, when you have knee pain and foot pain that you notice every day and it's changing how you do things, that means that there’s something going on in your joints. That pain means that there is some uneven wearing in your joints which is what causes arthritis. So I think what your son is noticing is that you’re changing how you walk to avoid pain.
Several weeks after that conversation Donna ended up calling me and scheduling an evaluation just to see what might be possible to do. She was still more concerned about the waddling than anything else.
When she came for the evaluation I was able to show her how her hips, knees and ankles all worked together. She was able to feel how some muscles and ligaments were tight which caused her to change how she had to walk. After just a few weeks, Donna was shocked that she was able to sit for longer than 30 minutes without her feet hurting. Her knees didn’t hurt as much walking up and down the stairs. She was shocked because she had just been living with these mild aches and pains for years thinking it was just part of being her age.
Donna told me that she has more energy throughout the day to play with her kids; even her oldest son.
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I have 3 big vacations I want to take when my kids are a little older. First, I have wanted to see the beaches and wildlife in Australia since I was in high school. Second, I've dreamed of seeing a Hawian beach sunrise ever since my cousin showed my pictures from her vacation. Third, I’ve loved the idea of staying in an Ireland castle since a friend of mine told me you could rent one for a week!
Of course with COVID and a 2 year old traveling long distances doesn't sound relaxing at this time. But we did live 😬 through the 4 or 5 hour drive to Fredericksburg. We found a cute little cabin at a winery. Fredericksburg is a beautiful town with lots of trees and hills. We found places to hike with the kids and there is great window shopping on the main street in town. As I was talking about our little trip to Nancy she started to make weird faces as though she is in pain. So I stopped my story and asked her what was wrong. She apologized but she was just thinking about how painful all that walking would be for her.
I didn't know Nancy suffered for years with pain in the bottom of her feet. She was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis which got bad enough that she had cortisone shots in both of her feet. Thankfully the shots did stop her pain for a while but over time the pain slowly came back. She tried everything! She bought special shoes, she had every type of device that was supposed to stretch the bottom of her foot and rubbed her feet daily if not hourly. Unfortunately, nothing seems to stop the pain. So while I was talking about walking, hiking and shopping all Nancy could imagine was the pain she’d have during and after those things.
Shin splints are miserable! Every step you take is painful. But why do they happen?
Shin splints cause pain at the front of your lower leg by the bone that connects your knee to your ankle.
Typically shin splints happen when you start a running or walking program. They can also start when you increase your miles or speed.
In short, that burning achy sensation is from your ankles being “overworked’.
This can be such a frustrating set back. I was talking to Trish the other day. She started a walking program at the start of the lock down just to get out of the house. Then she was able to get into a good rhythm of working out at night after work. She was feeling good making positive changes: weight loss, increased energy, and feeling more calm over all. She was doing so well she decided to start a running program. Everything was going great. She found her rhythm, getting more miles without stopping. THEN BAM! She started to have pain at the front of her lower leg.
Most people that come to see me are looking for answers about a pain that is stopping them from their favorite activities. Many people are putting off seeing a Physical Therapist or another medical professional because they are afraid of being told they will need a surgery, or they will simply be given medication then dismissed, or they will be told the pain is just from being old and nothing can resolve the discomfort.
Are you worried that wearing amazing fashionable high heels will cause foot pain? knee pain? hip pain? or lower back pain?
Did your mom tell you that if you wear heels you will get bunions?
Dr. Molly discusses how wearing high heels changes the way you stand and walk. She will give you several tips on how to manage these changes to help reduce the stress on your body that is caused by wearing heels.
My Poor Aching Feet
Have you stopped running? Have you stopped working out? Are you tired of constantly being reminded that you have feet with every move you make from waking up in the morning to standing up from a chair throughout the day?
You're in the right place! Dr. Molly's video discusses what plantar fasciitis is and how to get back to all the fun things in life you have had to put on hold.
I'm out of the boot, now what?
I've worked with several people recently that were told to wear a walking boot for a variety of issues: chronic ankle sprains, acute ankle sprains, and a foot fracture. They all had one thing in common when they were finally allowed out of that walking boot they were screaming YAY! The boot was hot, uncomfortable and is so heavy....basically it was miserable having to use it to walk However, then they quickly realized they had no direction on what to do next. They each had so many unanswered questions like: Why should I slowly start wearing my normal shoes versus just getting out of the boot all together? Why is my ankle swelling? Why is my ankle so stiff? Dr. Molly discusses this and more in the video below....
Are you tired of dreading your first steps in the morning? Are you starting to think nothing will ever stop the stabbing pain in your foot with each step? Eliminating foot pain from your life is just a few tips away. Take just a few minutes to listen to Dr. Molly's 5 tips to Beat foot pain!
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald