Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Compression Socks and How I Dealt With My Plantar Fasciitis

Now that I've been running regularly I've decided to add shopping to make it even more enjoyable and to keep me interested in it.  My newest obsession are compression socks.  I love compression socks!  There's something so comforting about that pressure and slight squeeze.  I don't use them while running because I don't really believe they do anything during a run, but I use them after my long runs.  I already had a pair of CEP socks which are awesome but the foot is a little bit for my size (which is based on calf circumference - yes I have huge calves) and they are dark so they show a ton of pug fur.  And for some reason these socks trap pug fur like crazy!  The hairs get woven into the threads and are impossible to get out!  

Anyways, I loved my CEP socks and wanted more, but dang those CEP socks are expensive.  Well, I saw a discount code on Skinny Runner's blog that's $20 off and free shipping  for Pro Compression socks (post here) and so I decided to give this brand a try since the discount was too good!

These socks are pretty nice!  I got the light blue and the light blue argyle (so cute!).  These were much easier to put on than CEP but the compression is less strong than CEP.  They are also thinner than CEP which will be nice during the warmer months or if you want to run with them.  And the foot in these socks fits me way better than CEP.  If I were to ever try running in compression socks, I'd probably  use these, but for hard core recovery, I like CEP better.  If only the foot fit better!  But, with the discount you can get on Pro Compression socks until the end of April, the deal is too good to let it pass by.  These are pretty good socks and so definitely take advantage of the discount!  I tried to get my pug nearby to help model the socks but she wouldn't participate and since I was sore and tired and not going to move I used her "friend."
I did try my best to reach over to her, all while not getting up from the couch.
She was a bit confused as to why I was bothering her.
Part of the reason why I started trying out compression socks is because I used to have major calf and Achilles issues.  So I figured anything that might help I should give it a try even though I haven't been having any issues since I stopped using my Brooks Trance sneakers.  I had really bad Achilles issues several years ago when I was studying for the bar but I had a whole host of issues from sitting on my butt so long studying and then sporadically pushing myself too hard in random runs.  

But another issue I dealt with at the end of 2011 when I started running again was a bad flare up of plantar fasciitis.  I started running again in August 2011 and was increasing my mileage and speed pretty quickly at the same time (big mistake).  By the time I did a 6 mile run around the Mall in December I noticed a nagging slight pain in my left heel.  I just assumed it was a soreness that would pass in a couple days but it didn't.  Instead it got worse and weird.  It would disappear during my runs for the most part, but would be the worst in the mornings or after long periods of sitting.  

After some Dr. Google sessions and a chat with my runner sister, I realized I had plantar fasciitis.  Argh!  Instead of tempting fate, I decided to take a conservative approach and stopped running for a few weeks.  After several weeks of dealing with my pf, and a weird case of traveling pf (it switched over to my right foot), I finally am heel pain free (knock on wood).  What worked best for me was the following:

(1) Most important was REST.  Running is high impact, so once you have a pf flare-up, it's best to avoid any pounding on your feet.  I used the bike for exercise during those weeks off.

(2) Ice rolling.  My brother-in-law who gets pf sometimes will use frozen golf balls.  I used a frozen water bottle.  I would roll each foot for a couple minutes a couple times a day.  And once I resumed running I would roll my feet after a run just to be safe.  

(3) Wearing slippers around the house.  I am a barefoot person.  Not running-wise, just everyday living.  I grew up in a Korean home and we never wore shoes in the house.  Just the idea of wearing socks or shoes makes my toes twinkle with anxiety.  But during my pf flare-up, I wore cushioned slippers around the house and more cushioned shoes outside.  

(4) When you start running again, increase mileage or speed, very slowly.  I think I got pf because I was increasing my speed and mileage both too quickly.  My body fights running every step of the way (e.g., my feet, my calves, my overheating issues) so I have to take it slowly.  And I still roll my feet after my runs but instead of doing it with a frozen water bottle I use a nubby massage ball.  I love it - it rejuvenates my tired feet!  I don't know if it helps with pf but it seems to be helping so far.  I do keep a frozen water bottle in the fridge just in case.  

These are things that worked for me, but everybody is different and feet can be tricky.  So please note that this is just meant to be anecdotal and is not a substitute for any real medical advice.  

It sucks dealing with pf, but now I'm aware of it and am a more careful runner as a result of it.  Ok enough running talk, now here's a pic of my pug:
Look at her dancing for a baby carrot!  Oh and right next to my Brooks Green Silence shoes!  Full circle!  I love when I tie up a post like that even if it was by accident!


  1. I saw this on Buzzfeed and it is going VIRAL... very nice!! I kind of recognized the illustrations and then I saw "Bah Humpug" and I got all happy!