Saturday, May 1, 2010

Running Essentials: Strassburg Sock

Actually I hope this isn't a running essential for most of you because if it is, that means you've been stricken by plantar fasciitis which is no fun! I came down with a nasty case of it last fall - I could barely walk, let alone run. It was the absolute worst.

Luckily I have several running buddies (erm...princesses) who had recommendations for me: new insoles, frozen water bottles on my arches, and a Strassburg Sock (available here). After only a few weeks, I was all healed up and was able to run again!

What is plantar fasciitis?

According to WebMD, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk.

Plantar fasciitis is a really common running injury and it's a real pain to treat. Every step you take strains the plantar fasciitis more so obviously running is out of the question until you're healed, but even walking continues to do damage (and most of us don't have the luxury of just not walking for a few weeks!)

Enter the Strassburg Sock. You wear it to bed and it keeps your foot parallel to your leg. This allows the plantar fascia to heal while stretched out and taut rather than limp and loose. After several nights of wearing the sock, your plantar fascia begins to strengthen and soon it's back to normal! Of course, you have to be careful in your first few runs coming back from plantar fasciitis - going too far too soon can lead to reinjury. I ran on my treadmill for those first few weeks so I could immediately stop at any twinge of pain.

The Strassburg Sock is really easy to use: just put it on like a regular sock, pull it up to your knee, and then string the long strap through the loop at your knee and use the velcro to attach the strap to itself. It definitely feels weird the first time you wear it. Put it on as you are getting into bed - do not try to walk around in this thing! The sock has a bit of compression to it so that's another unusual sensation you'll have to adjust to and I would have to play with the tightness of the strap a few times before I'd get it right. Once you have the Strassburg Sock properly adjusted, just go to sleep and let the sock work its magic!

I've been lucky and not had a reoccurrence of plantar fasciitis, but if I ever do, I'll have my Strassburg Sock ready!

*Disclaimer* I'm not a doctor or a podiatrist. This is not medical advice or diagnosis of any kind. This product worked for me, but may not work for everyone. Consult your doctor or podiatrist if you are experiencing any pain while running.

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