Help me heal my heel!
August 13, 2012 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Will my plantar fasciitis (plus heel spur/bursitis) keep me on the sidelines now that I finally get a shot at having my own life? How do I cope with this as an unemployed/uninsured overweight person who has no choice but to be on their feet all day?

I have read extensively about home treatments for plantar fasciitis. I know the first thing to do is stay off your feet. In my current situation (as caretaker) I have no choice but to be on my feet (off and on) for about 12 hours a day. I know the fact that I'm incredibly overweight caused the problem (along with wearing shoes that didn't provide proper support). I bought a better pair of shoes and I'm satisfied with how they feel, but the damage has already been done. I'm not seeing any improvement. I try to sit as much as possible, but every day the heel pain is there. It hasn't gotten worse, but it hasn't improved, either. I have been taking ibuprofin (and I've tried Aleve); I upgraded my shoes to a pair with better support; and I bought some Dr. Scholl's inserts.. As I said, the condition hasn't worsened, but it hasn't improved. I've been in pain for over a month now. I've tried modified gentle stretching and self-massage. I've considered getting athletic tape to tape up the sole. I don't know where else to go from here.. If my current living situation were going to stay the same, I would just continue suffering through it, however:

After a decade of taking care of my ailing parent who will be moving in a few weeks, I will finally be moving to my first apartment in the Real World soon after. I'm thrilled I will finally have the opportunity to be an adult with an apartment and a job, but I'm terrified that this plantar fasciitis (probably with a heel spur, possibly bursitis) is going to destroy my ability to do all the things that I want to do in life and have to do in the coming weeks for my parent (in preparation for our move) and the coming months (when I will be looking for my first job). As I said, I'm overweight and know I need to lose weight. I can't do this without some level of activity, though. Regardless, I won't be able to stay off my feet in the next several weeks as I will still be caring for my parent and arranging our respective moves (we're moving to the same area but we won't be living together). Besides my usual daily responsibilities, I will have to be packing and cleaning, so I will actually be on my feet MORE than usual, and it's really important that I contribute physically to the move. After my parent moves, I will be apartment hunting, and, since I don't drive, I will be looking at an area where I will be relying on my ability to walk and catch public transportation. I will rely on walking and public transport in going to my (hypothetical) job. After choosing an apartment, I will have to help with getting my parent's house in saleable condition and moving my own items to my new apartment. This will all happen in the next two to three months, TOPS. After our moves are successful and the house has been sold, I will need to find a job in my new city. So, as you can see, I need to be able to walk! And I really don't know how I'm going to get through the end of the month. Right now, I don't have the time or finances to go to a doctor [I WILL be able to see a doctor AFTER I move, but that's still a ways off and I'm worried about getting through everything before then]. As you can see, this is the worst time for such a problem. I'm worried enough about getting through the next few weeks of regular use on this foot, but since my activity level will actually be increasing steadily and I won't be able to opt out of my responsibilities regarding moving, packing, apartment hunting, and planning an eventual job search, I don't see how I'm going to be able to allow my feet to heal. At the very least, how can I treat my foot at home so I will be able to stand on the foot longer and walk, especially in city situations and up/down stairs)?

I'm worrying like crazy and I'm in near agony! Please help me heal my heel!
posted by Mael Oui to Health & Fitness (33 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Stopping by to suggest for this factor: As I said, I'm overweight and know I need to lose weight. I can't do this without some level of activity, though.

Swimming is the lowest impact activity and strongly recommended for overweight people dealing with foot issues; it may also help more immediately with your feet by allowing low impact stretching/movement and long-term would help via weight loss.
posted by vegartanipla at 9:18 PM on August 13, 2012

Response by poster: Actually, I'm going to add: The Dr. Scholl's insole I bought was a heel insert (NOT a full foot insole) and it was gel-based. I have wide feet and the insole doesn't cover the entire heel area. I thought this would give better support and feel like a mini-foot massage. After I chose this insole, I read that softer gel insoles aren't the best choice. If I'm pretty sure that I'm suffering from bursitis in addition to plantar fasciitis and the heel spur, would it be better to buy an insole that is specially for bursitis? I believe there are bursitis insoles for heels that have the heel removed (so the padding kind of goes AROUND the area where the stabbing pain originates.. sort of like a donut). Are they effective or comfortable to put weight and walk on? Would that have been the better investment than the variety I chose? As far as any insoles, I just want something that I can get from the drug store to tide me over for the next few weeks. I would consider searching out a place that deals with orthotics and better insoles (as well as consulting a podiatrist) after I move, but there's no time before, really.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:19 PM on August 13, 2012

Response by poster: Ahh, I have read that about swimming.. unfortunately.. I don't know how to swim! Basically, I'm afraid I'm going to shoot down everyone's answers here. I'm not trying to on purpose! Don't let that stop you from replying.. I DO appreciate every response.

Also, just to say, I don't know how to ride a bike, either. And, yes, I am pretty useless overall! I'm not pleased with what I've done/haven't done physically, I assure you.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:27 PM on August 13, 2012

Sleeping with a night splint can help keep it stretched out so that's it's not as painful in the morning. Wearing shoes with very good arch support can help. No going barefoot even around the house. Can you borrow a wheelchair? You can use one part time for walking around tasks. You may find you get more exercise since running around in the chair makes it less painful to get around. Gentle stretching and rolling your foot on a frozen juice can are good too.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:31 PM on August 13, 2012

No worries, shoot down whatever doesn't work! But... if you do have access to a pool and it's only the can't-swim bit that's holding you back, you could A) invest in lessons (somewhat obvious), or more cheaply until you can get lessons B) invest in some floaties/tubes/various pieces of float equipment that will keep your head above water but still allow you to paddle/exercise and move your feet.
posted by vegartanipla at 9:40 PM on August 13, 2012

PF can get better. I had a bad case 7 years ago that went away after proper treatment and never came back. You're facing some real disadvantages right now, but here are some things you can do to help until you can see a doctor (better yet, a sports doctor and physiotherapist).

1) Keep up the NSAIDS. Make sure you take them with food so you don't irritate your stomach.

2) Stretching is good. Try achilles stretches as well as calf stretches, as well as some of these PF foot stretches. This one is good to use after you've been sitting for a while. If you or someone else can massage your affected calf, that would be awesome. You have a lot of tension and tightness there, probably, so a more flexible calf = happier foot.

3) Go to the dollar store and get a plastic pencil eraser, something like this. A rounded pink pearl eraser is also good. If the eraser has very sharp edges, you can rub on paper and wear them down a little. This little piece of hard material with some give will be used to work out the adhesions in your heels/arches/soles by gently, progressively pressing and stroking along the long axis of your foot. This will hurt to start, so work up to longer sessions. My physiotherapist used a rubber reflex hammer, and I bought one of my own to use at home between sessions. This was the amazing thing that actually made the difference: I needed that painful massage to get better.

Try this one day, skip a day, then try it again. Do it for just one or two minutes to start.

4) Ice after the stretching/exercises/adhesions work, and ice after you sit down after your 12 hour day. A baggie with some ice cubes in it, separated from your skin by a light cloth, or a commercial cold pack or even a bag of peas are good. Just don't apply a source of cold directly to skin: always have a barrier.

Taping and supportive shoes, as mentioned above, can also help. Good luck!
posted by maudlin at 9:41 PM on August 13, 2012 [8 favorites]

And, yes, I am pretty useless overall! I'm not pleased with what I've done/haven't done physically You are not useless. You have been very useful as a caregiver and now you need to give yourself care
First thing is to take one step at a time. Literally. Get any insert that feels comfortable for you until you can get to a podiatrist. Look up stretching exercises online , but also start on the weight loss, even if it is sitting exercises combined with a healthy diet and lots of water. I say this from experience-losing the excess weight will help nearly all of your problems. Good luck- you have a wonderful future ahead of you.
posted by Isadorady at 9:47 PM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I've seen the night splints, but I didn't know if that would be a good investment. Oddly, at first, my feet would hurt so much when I'd first get out of bed (or take the first few steps after sitting for a while), but now my foot doesn't hurt when I first start to walk. It's actually the more that I walk or STAND! that it becomes more agonizing (in a localized sort of way). That's why I think there's the heel spur/bursitis in addition to the plantar fasciitis. And then my lower back starts to hurt after I'm propping myself up.. I kind of wonder if the plantar fasciitis started the problem and led to the spur and bursitis, and then the plantar fasciitis improved but left the other problems behind.

I stopped going barefoot (although it usually felt better walking barefoot). Now I wear shoes all day. I'm not sure about the wheelchair, but that is an idea I hadn't considered. Definitely not ideal, but if the situation gets worse, I would definitely look into that. I've been trying to figure out what frozen thing I could use to roll under my foot. I'll have to pick up a can of something the next time I go to the market!
posted by Mael Oui at 9:52 PM on August 13, 2012

One suggestion: a few years ago, I thought I had PF but it turned out the pain was caused by a Vitamin D deficiency. Anyway, I'm not saying you don't have it, but Vitamin D deficiencies are very common and can exacerbate inflammation of all kinds, possibly making the PF more painful.

Also, you're being so hard on yourself! That doesn't help anything.
posted by lunasol at 10:02 PM on August 13, 2012

I use a couple of plastic water bottles that are kept in the freezer, less potential of a sticky mess. Shoving a pillow down at the foot of the bed and untucking the covers help keep my feet from flexing down all night.
posted by jamaro at 10:03 PM on August 13, 2012

I have PF related to an immune condition and the thing that was most useful for me was rolling my foot over a tennis ball. It allowed me to stretch the muscles while I was sitting idle at my computer, and after a couple of weeks the problem is mostly resolved. When I slack on it I notice it come back a bit, which is enough to get me back into the routine.
posted by gilsonal at 10:06 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I should mention that I'm overweight as well and wear flip flops too often, and still found relief after being persistent. Not bad for something I already had in the house!
posted by gilsonal at 10:07 PM on August 13, 2012

Sorry, I'm clearly not all with it. My last suggestion: stretch your foot by flexing and pointing it a bit before you get out of bed in the morning. It cuts down on my OMGpain when I first get up and start walking.
posted by gilsonal at 10:08 PM on August 13, 2012

You don't have to know how to swim. You could go to a pool, and in order of comfort level in the water:
- hang on to the edge and kick your feet (build up leg muscles, get your feet moving and stretching. Light arm workout pushing yourself back from the wall as you kick towards it)
- do water aerobics. This is just like regular aerobics except less weight bearing so might not hurt your feet as much, you should be standing in water about up to your ribs or neck, not out of your depth.
- get a kickboard and hold it like it was the edge of the pool in option 1, to swim around in the pool. Lets you kick harder than if you're holding onto the edge, so more tiring.
posted by jacalata at 10:08 PM on August 13, 2012

My husband who had PF, tried off the shelf inserts for years without success, and then finally bit the bullet and had custom inserts made. Totally changed his life and got rid of the pain. He's not on his feet everyday, but he has days where he is on his feet for 12+ hours on concrete floors. He also wears hiking boots to work and replaced them fairly regularly.

My mother, who was a elementary school librarian, on her feet all day and had PF, swears that water aerobics saved her feet. The classes she does are in the deep end though, you don't have to know how to swim, but you wear various floatation devices. I've done the shallow versions of the class and personally prefer the one she does, but it's not as common to find at gyms, community centers...probably any time in the water is going to help.
posted by snowymorninblues at 10:22 PM on August 13, 2012

Response by poster: Generally, I would suffer through this.. because I do believe it will probably go away eventually, but I'm stressing so much over the next few months and whether I will collapse under the weight (figuratively and literally) of it all!

As far as swimming, I wish I could! I don't have access to a pool (well.. a bath tub?), but I would consider joining a YMCA after I relocate, so, even if I wouldn't swim, I'd be able to do low-impact exercising in the water, which I know is supposed to be a great place to do aerobics (like jacalata says).

Thank you maudlin and gilsonal, for the support! Reading about how other people actually were successful in overcoming this is making me more hopeful. Those WebMD-type websites are all doom and gloom! Thank you especially maudlin for your list! I've read a few of the hints, but it's overwhelming knowing where to start when you read a list of treatments. Do you recommend any particular brand of NSAIDS? Did one help you over others? I had been taking a generic that was supposed to be 'Motrin', but I took one of my Mom's Aleves and couldn't decide if it felt better. I haven't seen the eraser as a massage aid trick, but that sounds really easy. I actually will buy one tomorrow. I read about needing a deeper massage (deeper than I've been doing, at least) so that might do the trick. I've been on the fence about taping, but if it really might help, I'll give it a go, too (I wondered if that was more beneficial for runners).

Thank you, Isadorady! I know, if I could just lose a little weight, but it's not coming off! The worst thing is, I thought that being on my feet more would help me lose weight, not hurt my feet! And, I haven't lost any extra weight by standing and moving more!

lunasol -- I wonder! I was taking Vitamin D, but when I finished the last bottle, I never bought another one.. That was earlier this year.. Another thing to add to my shopping list tomorrow!

jamaro -- Plastic water bottles! Okay!

gilsonal -- I've read about the tennis balls (also some sites say golf balls), and I've been meaning to check the dollar store for them. That's the one stretch I do every day, and I have to say, that really has helped with morning pains which were really bad for a while. Now, it seems to be standing for a long time or walking that is really causing the problem.. even just walking down the stairs at home or going into a store for less than five minutes.. I start out fine and I come out limping.
posted by Mael Oui at 10:46 PM on August 13, 2012

I worked my sore foot out on a ball and my pain went away in a couple of weeks. Any time I was sitting down I was rolling my foot on the ball. I used a bigger ball than a tennis ball (a weighted exercise ball about the size of a softball) and really stretched my foot and ankle in both directions - stretch it out long over the top of the ball, and angle the foot way up when you roll back towards you. This stretches out your Achilles tendon which seems to help.

Nthing exercising with a kick board in the pool. Kicking my feet in the water really felt good and seemed to help overall.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:58 PM on August 13, 2012

Re: weight loss, exercise is good for improving your overall health (cardiovascular, insulin sensitivity, building muscle, etc) but pretty terrible to rely on as a weight loss method since your body likes to ramp up your appetite in proportion to how much exercise you do. Weight loss is 80-90% diet--improve food quality, counting calories--and that's something you can start right now.

Have you tried a Strassburg Sock? They are recommended by all the physical therapists I talk to. My training partner gets bad PF and when she wears it she immediately notices the difference the next day. Not just in immediate pain, but long-term, throughout the day pain. Think of it this way: it's the benefits of stretching your foot--but you're able to do it for eight hours at a time instead of little bursts when you're conscious. That's a lot of stretching!

Stopping going barefoot could be counterproductive as PF and a lot of foot disorders have their root in biomechanical (such as gait) issues brought about by weak foot muscles. Not that it's a good idea for you to go run out and buy Vibrams and start using them all day! But while you're using orthotics spend time every day doing foot strengthening exercises, walking around barefoot more and more, and just working on getting the musculature of your feet in better shape. Those exercises are intended for people getting into barefoot running, but they're appropriate for anyone looking to correct weak feet.
posted by Anonymous at 11:50 PM on August 13, 2012


Instant relief. Honestly, it's the only thing that enabled me and everyone else I know with PF to survive. Out of ten people, only two of us were told to tape by doctors, and all of us agreed that the one thing that made the biggest difference was taping. After that ice, and then strengthen exercises. For me, even losing five pounds made a big difference.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:14 AM on August 14, 2012

Taping is amaaaaaaaaazing. I highly recommend that.

Also, something that my physiotherapist recommended - stand at the edge of a stair, with your heel over the edge.

Then slooooowly alternate between lowering and lifting your heels, stretching them out. It'll hurt a bit at first, but it gets better the more you do it. And when you're able to do it easily, do it just on one leg.

And easy-going exercise, just move about all the time. Dance while cooking dinner, kick your legs while sitting on the couch, if you're leaning against the wall, do a few push ups against it.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:24 AM on August 14, 2012

Seconding custom orthotics if you're on your feet all day. Stretching is crucial, but what really gave me a "boost" when my pain was at its worst was deep tissue massage of my achilles tendon and calf muscles from my physiotherapist. I was so sad when she determined I was "cured" - those massages were awesome!
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 4:07 AM on August 14, 2012

You need to step it up from the Dr. Scholls. Dr. Scholls didn't do anything for me, but when I switched to PowerStep Pinnacle insoles--available on Amazon--my PF improved after a few days and cleared up entirely in about 6 weeks. I know a lot of people also recommend Super Feet insoles as a bridge between useless Dr. Scholls and custom orthotics, but I think the PowerStep ones offer similar benefits at a lower price point.
posted by drlith at 4:47 AM on August 14, 2012

As I said, I'm overweight and know I need to lose weight. I can't do this without some level of activity, though.

The NY Times just had a fascinating wrap-up on new research on the complicated intersection of diet and exercise in weight loss. The tl;dr of it is pretty much what was said above, that exercise is a great thing for your health, but is not the short path to weight loss.

In other words, if your main goal is weight loss (and I bolded the "if" because weight loss not always a realistic or healthy approach, and often there might be more value in health at any size, which has been frequently discussed on MetaFilter), it kind of sounds like you are setting up unrealistic criteria for starting (eg finding a gym after your move) rather than starting now with the main part that you control.
posted by Forktine at 4:48 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

Get a pair of Danskos and wear nothing else until your foot feels better. Worked for mrs slkinsey after years of pain.
posted by slkinsey at 5:30 AM on August 14, 2012

I started to develop a touch of pf. I'm currently using super feet insoles and dr scholls (not together-have them in different shoes because I'm lazy) and they both with like a charm, even when I'm having to deal with daily hill climbs. I still use a golf ball to roll out my get and a tennis ball to roll out the calves to be on the safe side

Also sent you a memail with some more info that may be helpful
posted by astapasta24 at 6:02 AM on August 14, 2012

Work like a charm*
posted by astapasta24 at 6:03 AM on August 14, 2012

When you relocate, join the Y. Water aerobics is great and many Ys have shallow poool aerobics or use flotation devices for deeper water.

Also, the first time I ever did strength training it was on the weight machines at the Y. And while many weight lifting types may tell you (and probably correctly) that free weights are better, we all have to start somewhere. I trimmed up a lot on water aerobics and machines before I ever tried free weights. That trimming up helped a LOT of my issues including a bit of PF.
posted by pointystick at 6:12 AM on August 14, 2012

I've had success with many of the things mentioned, but two other things are: Don't spend any time barefoot or in unsupportive footwear (even slippers) until you're better and take your ibuprofen before bed.
posted by cecic at 6:15 AM on August 14, 2012

I've been dealing with plantar fasciitis as well. My PA says it can take six months or more to heal, but I am doing well and am able to be reasonably active. As others have said, what has helped me have been:

The night splint. I don't even take a nap without it! This has eliminated that excruciating first-step-of-the-morning pain.

Orthaheel shoes. I am sure there are other brands, but a pair of these have been invaluable. Right now, I can't wear any other shoes, but as long as I wear my orthaheels, I am in pretty good shape. They sell insoles as well but I haven't tried them.

The farthest I walk barefoot is from my bedroom to the bathroom, and if I had a pair of Orthaheel slippers I wouldn't even do that.

With these steps, I am able to walk quite a bit and be relatively pain-free.
posted by not that girl at 6:56 AM on August 14, 2012

I suffered from plantar fasciitis for many years (to the point where I was on crutches for a while) and now I'm able to go on half-day hikes with my kids. This is after years of concentrated work, custom orthotics, PT, taping, night splints, ice, and so on. So there is definitely hope!

A couple of things I still do, fifteen years later. First, every morning when I wake up, I spend ten minutes rubbing my foot on a golf ball, a foot roller, or even the edge of a table before I spend any time on my feet. And second, I'm still wearing custom orthotics and high-end shoes. Well worth the money.

Hey listen, I stopped using my night splints years ago, but they're still sitting in my closet. I've been meaning to throw them out, but if you're interested, I can send you a photo and then if you like 'em, then I'll just send them to you in the mail. For free. Because I'm not going to use them, and maybe you can. They kind of look like these although I don't have the velcro straps anymore (and I just used an old necktie to tie them onto my feet). Send me a private message if you're interested.
posted by math at 10:59 AM on August 14, 2012

I had a comparatively mild case but it still took me a good 12 months to get rid of it, and now I only get twinges if I wear crappy shoes. Buy good supportive shoes with an arch support to keep all the tendons stretched, I have had good luck with birkenstocks and crocs were a good send for comfort if not looks (though they have some styles that are OK for working in not just those clogs). You may have to try several brands of shoes and to find ones that work I can also recommend the Orthaheel ones and found SpringStep to be good too. Crocs are the cheapest by far if money is a concern, but don't be surprised if you need to spend a bit of money to find shoes that work and accept the fact that wearing cheap flip flops is a thing of the past now.

I did stretching exercises 3 times a day, the ones recommended maudlin and I swear I could hear the tendons cracking and stretching as I did them but they really helped. I took NSAIDs all the time not just when I was in pain to keep the inflammation down, make sure to not overdose and follow directions I just used generic ibuprofen from the supermarket. Taping and icing also helped as did supportive socks, very much like the ones you would use on and airplane to travel, these had a tight elastic section around the middle of the foot which helped to support my arch and helped a lot the times I had to be on my feet. Oh if you can get to a beach of some sort walking on sand barefoot is amazing for strengthening your feet.

Loosing weight will help, but I am now painfree and never lost a pound.
posted by wwax at 12:01 PM on August 14, 2012

Response by poster: I'm back!

schroedinger and Forktine - That's a great point about weight loss not relying solely on exercise! I suppose I was emphasizing exercise because it seems like I am gaining weight (or, just not losing anything) even when I am trying to change my diet.. so I guess I thought that exercise would get the ball rolling, so to speak. My diet has improved, but I struggle with sugars and pairing down caloric intake. Those are some small changes I can start with immediately. I had never seen the Strassburg Sock, but it reminds me a lot of the night splint.. which I find intimidating. Although, if it's likened to (and more effective than) stretching, I might be consider it. I'd have to check if they have a size that could fit my chunky legs, though! Also a great point about barefoot strengthening because, ultimately, I would like to prevent this from happening again. I would add barefoot exercises after eliminating the current pain to prevent a reoccurance (I've had PF and other foot problems before, but I had the luxury to stay off my feet to allow them to heal in between injuries. I've also gained much more weight since I last had the problem, so that doesn't help!)

BlueHorse and Katemonkey - OKAY!! :-D I hurt a knee and an ankle years ago (separate injuries) and the only thing that allowed me to put any weight on either was using a bandage. I know that's slightly different from taping, but it seems to be the same concept. When I read about taping, I was very interested, but found it curious that not every website recommended it. I'm definitely going to try this out!

I'll check out all the brands for shoes and insoles. Thank you for every recommendation with shoe and insole information! I know I looked at some of the websites (like PowerStep and Superfeet), but didn't know where to start. Also, I'm very interested in the shoe recommendations. I don't have many pairs of shoes, so I will want to choose some new ones. I'm definitely willing to spend more for a better shoe and, while I wasn't actually wearing flip flops, I was wearing these K-Mart shoes that had zero arch support.

astapasta24 - Ahh, tennis AND golf balls! I'll see if that's a winning combination! Also, I'll respond to your private message tomorrow. It sounds like we're getting a thunder storm here, so I want to get off the computer asap! But thank you for your message! :-D

math - What a relief to know that this can be overcome! Once it gets so bad that it's hurting with every step, it's hard to remember a time free of pain.. and the longer it drags on, it's hard to believe that it will go away! So, a lot of these stretches and treatments just become part of your daily routine long after the pain goes away? That's a small price to pay to be pain-free. Thank you so much for your offer! That's so generous of you! I've got to get off the computer (thunder storm?!), but I'll private message you tomorrow, I think. I'm thinking.. I know that, despite the fact that night splints are recommended, I probably would not invest in them myself unless nothing else helps before that point. But, I am still kind of intimidated by them. So, let me sleep on it (ha!) because I wouldn't want you to send them if I'm not positive I would use them. Well, no, obviously I would try them out.. Anyway, thank you for being so thoughtful. I will message you tomorrow and maybe I can reimburse you for shipping or something. I wouldn't let you just send them, I mean!

This reminds me (for anyone who actually reads this far down) I've seen advertisements for Strutz arch supports. Has anyone tried these or any other arch supports? Would commercial arch supports or gel wraps like these be helpful?

And, knowing how excruciating PF is, I'm really happy to read that so many of you conquered this! Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and hints with me. The dry Web MD style sites are sometimes very vague, and your responses were far more helpful! Thank you again and I'll be back tomorrow because I'm kind of going offline in a hurry! (and not editing my massive response here)
posted by Mael Oui at 10:53 PM on August 14, 2012

Response by poster: I've tried a few of the home treatments so far, but, of course, it will take some time to see improvement. The stretches and massages (I've tried the eraser technique and I like how that feels. Using something that I can press harder into the heel area feels like it's doing more good than the soft massaging I would do with my hand). I got a tennis ball, as well, and have been working with that when I'm sitting. I think, overall, this would be enough but I am really nervous about whether I'll make it through being on feet more for the extra packing and walking. I can't really opt out of that, and I don't feel like I have family sympathy enough to try..

I bought a big bottle of Aleve and I've already starting taking extra Vitamin D (can't hurt!). I haven't taped yet. I'm still looking at YouTube videos trying to decide on the best technique, but I did buy a roll of tape and plan on using it. I hope that helps with heel spurs, too.

I'm going to be deciding between new shoes and/or insoles, but I'm going to have to research that a bit before I decide. Thank you for all the brand recommendations! It's hard to know where to start with supportive shoes since many brands claim to have PF-beneficial footwear!

Thank you once again to everyone who responded! Every one was very helpful, and I will mark best answers in a few days (since I'm not totally sure what are the best answers.. and, what - hopefully - ends up working for me may not work for other people. I encourage everyone who looks at this post afterwards to read through all the responses for different ideas!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:45 PM on August 16, 2012

« Older How to buikld an improv troupe - yes, and?   |   Adult dog going to the bathroom inside the house Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.