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time to develop plantar fasciitis?
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Dont Wantto
(longhiker) - F
time to develop plantar fasciitis? on 07/21/2010 16:16:27 MDT Print View

Can someone tell how long and intense a hiking / training schedule can develop plantar fasciitis from completely healthy feet?

I've been training for about a month for my CT hike.. mostly hiking on a treadmill for 50 - 90 minutes, set to 15% slope with a 30 lb backpack on me. (That's a climb of 1800 - 2800 feet usually.. and about 3 - 4 miles). I've been doing this 4 - 5 times a week for about a month.

I've developed a mild discomfort / pain in some tissue underneath my left foot.. it is close to the outer lower edge of the arch. I've had this since the first week I started training but it didn't really bother me.. would take a day break and wouldn't feel it on my next workout until minute 70 or 80. Might feel it more when I'm at home or in the morning... (i know that's always metioned on every website about plantar fasciitis but I'm hoping many injuries can do that)

Could I really develop plantar fasciitis in a month? I am to leave on my hike in 5 days.. :(

Any particular relaxing pose to take for the next 5 days? I can lie in bed and stretch all day if that's what it takes.. been trying rolling the foot on a cylinder and such.. please help with any info if you can!

Edit: I'm 27, 5'11" and about 140 lbs.. not exactly overweight.

Edited by longhiker on 07/21/2010 16:18:21 MDT.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Plantar Fasciitis on 07/21/2010 16:25:28 MDT Print View

Hey, I have had Plantar Fasciitis since 96'--You need stretch the bottom of your feet alot---then ice for a minimum of 20 minutes(3x4 times a day)---Most importantly if you can get custom fitted orthotics for your feet!!!!ASAP Your feet only get worse-trust me!!! Make appointment tomorrow to see a foot DR....ASAP--You need ORTHOTICS in your shoes!!!!

Edited by Creachen on 07/21/2010 20:35:04 MDT.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Plantar Fascitis on 07/21/2010 16:58:56 MDT Print View

Wow. Sorry to hear about that, right before a trip too. +1 on the orthotics. I got them for my daughter and it helped her soccer game almost immediately. No pain during the very next game. Good luck!

Dont Wantto
(longhiker) - F
let's not give up yet on 07/21/2010 17:01:39 MDT Print View

I'm hoping it's just trip-induced hypochondria and this is just some other sore muscle under my foot.. it really hasn't been close to painful enough to ever stop any activity.

I've been using the green superfeet for a couple of months now. I have high arches and they feel so comfortable.. did a 22 mile day with them on the AT a month or so ago.

brent driggers
(cadyak) - MLife

Locale: southwest georgia
ice on 07/21/2010 20:18:12 MDT Print View

You can develop plantar fasciatis very quickly, a classic overuse injury. Youll need to take a few days off from that particular activity and rest it before you go.
freeze a soda bottle full of water and roll it under the arch of your foot as Jay has recommended and try a few days of ibuprofen. I had it for years but it has finally subsided.
Good luck and have a good trip.

Edited by cadyak on 07/21/2010 20:27:59 MDT.

Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Re: time to develop plantar fasciitis? on 07/21/2010 20:42:22 MDT Print View

Before you freak out too much, consider that real hiking/backpacking is different from working out on a treadmill. Each footfall in hiking is different, the terrain will vary in angle, surface conditions, etc. I find that I get sore feet from walking in the city, but sore legs not feet, when walking in the hills.

terry a thompson
(terry588) - MLife

Locale: West
Re: time to develop plantar fasciitis? on 07/21/2010 21:19:44 MDT Print View

I developed plantar fasciitis in 2005 while i was getting ready to hike the PCT in April of 2006. I tried all the stretching and icing and nothing worked. Finally got custom orthotics and went to a acupuncturist who was recommended to me by a long distance trail runner and that did the trick, I was ready for the PCT in less than 6 visits. I still do a lot of stretching to keep it as limber as i can. It is a chronic problem that supposedly never is really healed. It has come back with a vengeance periodically over the last few years and i increase my stretching and make a few trips back to my acupuncturist for a tuneup and it seems to keep it at bay.

good luck!!

Scott McCain
(Highlander366) - F - M

Locale: Idaho
Try tape too. on 07/22/2010 10:33:34 MDT Print View

P.F. seems to be a common problem. I had problems with my feet for several years before one day while sprinting I ruptured the fascia in my right foot. That was March 09, had a huge trip planned in June. Spent time in a walking cast and several weeks at a PT but I was able to "tough" out the trip.

Custom orthotics are a must, I also keep around several pairs of high quality non-customs just in case.

Stretching your calf muscles is very important, for me more so then my actual feet.

I also swear by KT Tape. It is basically precut athletic tape that is stretchy. Videos on their site on how to apply it yourself. The great thing for us backpackers is that you can wear one application for several days even if the tape gets wet. Even though my feet are much better I still tape up my feet for long trips or runs.

Hope this helps.

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
time to develop plantar fasciitis? on 07/22/2010 15:58:09 MDT Print View

In my experience, you can easily develop PF within a week. Repetitive work such as that on a treadmill can make it worse quickly but if you already have it, you will most likely notice it on the trail.

I did a 100 mile, seven day trip last summer and had a case of PF in my right foot the day I left home. I finished the trip w/o trouble but did have heel pain most of the time.

I found that 600 mg of Ibuprofen about every six hours helped a lot. I wear Powerstride arch supports in my running shoes; these also help a lot. So does taping--before it starts hurting. See
for a heavy duty taping procedure. I find that just running a piece of 1.5" tape from the base of my big toe along my arch and around my heel about 2" and another from the base of my little toe along the arch and around the heel helps almost as much as the more elaborate taping. I also use a piece of tape across my arch and around to the top of my foot. It helps to anchor the longitudinal tape and it also provides extra support.

Edited by Rincon on 07/22/2010 15:59:29 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: time to develop plantar fasciitis? on 07/22/2010 17:27:19 MDT Print View

> mostly hiking on a treadmill for 50 - 90 minutes, set to 15% slope with a 30 lb backpack on me.

That's very hard - brutally repetitive. Treadmills, and fast asphalt road bashes, are very rough on feet. Try real walking on trails, and check the width of your shoes.


Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: time to develop plantar fasciitis? on 07/22/2010 17:53:55 MDT Print View

“Any particular relaxing pose to take for the next 5 days?”

When it starts hurting, point your toes straight up until the pain dims.

Some other pointers:
Make sure your shoe arch is smack right on. Some arches don’t fit and thus orthotics is needed.

What I learned from my chiro:
Don’t put the treadmill at an incline. This aggravates ‘plantar fasciitis’ and the heal.

When you get up in the morning, and while still lying on the bed, point your toes to your head (bend them back).

Just some ideas to try.

Good luck on the trip.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
A good stretch on 07/22/2010 18:45:31 MDT Print View

Before you shell out big bucks for custom orthotics (though I highly recommend them--mine are lifesavers), try this stretch:

It's worked well for me the few times I've had minor pf issues.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: A good stretch on 07/22/2010 18:57:37 MDT Print View

A hiker friend of mine cured his PF using a golf ball.

Another person who posts a lot on another forum cured his PF by wearing only the most minimal shoes. No arch support, raised heel, cushioning etc.

You should get diagnosed if you think it's that serious. Otherwise, just get out there and enjoy your hike!

Ez Dav
(ezrida) - F
Re: time to develop plantar fasciitis? on 07/22/2010 22:07:41 MDT Print View

I have plantar fasciitis for more than a year. Investigating and searching I finally understood that treatment is very individual. It is possible that something works for one and it does not work for the other. The same is with the time it takes to develop and the effort needed to cause the injury.
There are many treatment techniques that you can try although healing takes time here. I found a very informative website with many good ideas in:

Did you try Taping? I have found it very useful. There are a few Taping techniques you can find in YouTube - just type "Plantar Fasciitis Taping" in YouTube search.
Take care & Good luck

Edited by ezrida on 07/22/2010 22:09:41 MDT.

Dont Wantto
(longhiker) - F
firmer shoe shank? on 07/23/2010 08:53:20 MDT Print View

Does anyone know if a hiking boot with a firmer shank (i.e the base doesn't flex as easily from toe to heel) than a trail runner with a softer shank that bends more easily near the balls of the feet?

I have both options available, broken in well and comfortable.. I was planning to take the trail runner on the CT with green Superfeet but I'm wondering if I should go back to the bulkier hiking boots with a firmer base.

thanks for all the suggestions. I'm not training any more, taping my foot, stretching calves and the plantar fascia many times a day and rolling a cylinder under the affected foot..

Actually the cylinder has helped identify a spot midway along the plantar fascia, right in the arch, which is a bit tender. Hopefully this is just tenderness that'll go away in a couple of days with taped feet.

Jason Lande
(jtlande) - F
Salomon Fastpacker? on 07/23/2010 09:28:33 MDT Print View


Take a look at the Salomon 3D Fastpackers. I haven't tried them myself but when I was recently looking into trail runners they caught my eye b/c they're supposed to be a little stiffer an beefier than the XA Pro 3D's without being as big/bulky as full-on hiking shoes. No idea how stiff they are relative to other brands' trail runners/hikers though.


Dont Wantto
(longhiker) - F
plantar update from the trail on 07/30/2010 18:51:47 MDT Print View

Here I am 50 miles into my Colorado Trail hike. The plantar fascia pain was consistent everyday of the hike, hurting in different places (though rarely the heel) along the plantar fascia.

And yet, I managed 15 mile days without any real problem. But after 50 miles, I decided a doctor has to look at it and just saw one in Breckenridge. He diagnosed it as plantar fasciitis based on my reported symptoms but said I would probably be able to continue my remaining 400 miles if I continue doing what I'm doing..

and these are things that are really helping me on the trail:

1. Solid firm shoe base -- at the last minute, I left behind the trail runners and brought my Vasque Breeze boots. THANK GOD! Walking barefoot around camp really hurts my foot and the firm shank of the shoe is such a blessing.

2. Taping -- another blessing. Been using athletic tape to tape the bottom of my foot. Holds up the plantar fascia and makes it hurt a lot less.

3. Freezing my foot in streams -- at every chance, I remove my shoe and put my foot in a waterproof bag and dip it in a cold mountain stream. It lets me hike the next hour almost painfree.

4. Pulled back toes during sleep -- I use my bandana, a string, athletic tape or some elastic Ace bandage (I've been cycling through these options) to pull my toes towards the shin and keep the ankle bent that way while I sleep. According to the doctor and the internet, this prevents the plantar fascia from contracting during sleep and getting injured when you wake up and stress it.

5. Ibuprofen - was taking 200 mg before sleep every night btu the doctor says I can take it twice a day (and I think he means 400 mg). Think the idea is that it reduces inflammation and speeds up healing.

6. Stretches -- a. directly stretching the PF by pulling toes towards shin before getting up b. stretching calf and ankle muscles by doing the lean-forward-against-tree/wall stretch..

Anyway, all this has helped me so far.. but I still have 400 miles to go!

Most of the above techniques were suggested by the doctor but I also had read about them on almost every website on plantas fascia online before leaving on the hike.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: plantar update from the trail on 07/30/2010 20:12:46 MDT Print View

Interesting results ... I've been bothered by plantar fasciitis for about the last 9 months and about 500 miles of walking.

Many mornings the first 20 feet of walking are painful to the point of needing 5-10 seconds to fully load my left foot on every step. Stretching brings decent relief.

July 10 I hit the trail for a 75 mile Philmont trek wearing trail runners (Inov8 Roclite 285 with stock insoles). About the third day I realized that I had no heel pain. Go figure.

Now that I'm back home the pain is back but not as severe. Baffling! (to me anyway)

Jay Campbell
(gohawks) - F

Locale: SE Iowa
PF on 07/30/2010 20:22:34 MDT Print View

I've been battling PF myself. Its gotten progressively better, and better.

My regimine includes stretching the calf muscles regularly. Taking some ibuprofen if I have a flare up.

The biggest help I got was from rolling a ball (baseball is what I used) under my foot. It made my foot hurt like heck the next day, but since then I've seen tremendous improvement.

I've actually increased my physical activity and its gotten better. When I was completely sedentary is when my PF was at its absolute worst.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
RE P.F. on 07/31/2010 23:02:24 MDT Print View

Check out this video on how to tape your feet by Dr. Dave Hannaford, he's a marrathon runner and backpacker, he knows feet, and really helped mine with custom orthotics. These are not cheap, but how can you put a price on being able to walk again, and enjoy this great thing we call backpacking. I am forever grateful for his services and my orthotics, without them I would not be able to hike. I have been to other Dr's and have tried many types of orthotics, these are the only ones that have worked for me.