A professional who is good at their job is worth their weight in gold!
I know lots of running friends who have been given many different diagnoses over the years with varying degrees of accuracy, whether it be tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, a stress fracture, a stress reaction, compartment syndrome, a muscle tear, or just the niggles caused by increased training. Some people are very keen for a "name" for what they are feeling, and so physios, sports therapists, doctors etc often oblige without really thinking of the consequences that such a label can cause. It may result in people paying for various expensive treatments (many of which are unnecessary), changing their training radically, resting completely, or even giving up their sport.
It is therefore really refreshing to be surprised by the knowledge and diagnostic ability that some professionals have, and even more so, when they admit to being slightly unsure of a precise cause/diagnosis and to wanting to see how things develop.
Taping to spread the strain across the plantar fascia
I'd been developing heel pain for a few days, and initially wanted to put my head in the sand about it, knowing how long I struggled with plantar fasciitis (PF) 18 months ago, and how sore it was. However, I had only just got over my knee problem and really wanted to get back to running pain-free, so after a week, I bit the bullet and went to see a physio to try to nip it in the bud as much as possible. He spent a long time assessing my feet, my ankles and my calves, and astonished me by picking up a severe ankle injury that I had when only 8 years old (as he could feel the residual abnormal movement in my ankle even now, years later).
A heel pad - so simple yet so effective!
I was dreading being told, "yes, that's the PF back......not much you can do about it now", but luckily I was given different news. Yes, there was some element of PF (as it was very gritty on palpation) but we could try to take some of the strain off it with some tape. There was also some inflammation of the heel fat pad/insertion, so I am trying a small cushion on my heel to take some of the pressure off it. My calf was also very tight, especially down one side, with some excruciating trigger points.
All in all, I'm glad I took the plunge in getting a proper assessment, and am impressed he took the time to look at all the different possible causes, rather than just giving me one significant diagnosis. The different modalities of treatments also gives me hope that I can continue to train without causing further more significant damage, and I would have paid him his weight in gold for that news,