Ryan Zimmerman on DL with plantar fasciitis

I ran across an article a couple days ago that talks about Ryan Zimmerman, a professional baseball player, having to be put on the Disabled List because of plantar fasciitis pain in his left foot. What caught my eye was that he's only going to be on the DL for 15 days, and the coach's statement regarding his performance (which has been lacking lately, due to the injury): "I fully expect him to be, at the end of the year, where he normally is."

If you follow athletics and keep an eye on the time that it takes professional athletes to recover from injuries and conditions like plantar fascia pain, you might notice that, in most cases, they get better very quickly. Why is that? Well, professional athletes are young (Zimmerman is 30) and generally in great shape, and of course that helps. But they also have access to the absolute best medical professionals and trainers, as well as the latest in cutting-edge medical knowledge. When big money is on the line, like it is in professional baseball, teams don't want to have their players sitting on the bench any longer than necessary. So they make it their business to keep up with the latest research and know the absolute best and fastest techniques to rehabilitate their athletes.

Compare this to your average doctor, who is busy with his practice or working 12-hour shifts in a hospital. With medical knowledge literally doubling every year, the average doctor simply doesn't have the time to keep up with all the new developments. And there isn't much financial incentive to do so either. He's going make a perfectly good living just taking care of people using what he was taught in Med School. And for most people, whatever the doctor prescribes will be sufficient to make them feel better. So, no problem.

But if you've had a chronic condition, been the your neighborhood doc and not gotten better, it might be time to look around for more effective solutions. Medical knowledge is advancing at an incredible rate, and it's actually likely that you will be able to cure yourself in many cases...even if your local doctor doesn't know how to do it.

Reader Questions

Happy new year, everyone. I thought I'd start the year off with some information about my "Target" products. There are a few questions I get on a regular basis, so I'll try to answer them below.

Q: What is contained in the free mini-course that you give away on the right side of your blog?

A: The mini-course is basically a quick education on plantar fasciitis, plantar fasciosis, and why you should treat them differently. It has some tips on nutrition and treatment, and clears up a lot of the confusion that people have about the two conditions. (The information is also relevant to tendonitis/tendonosis.) If you sign up for it, you'll get an email every day or two for a couple of weeks, giving you various aspects of the issue. And yes, I'm selling something here, so you'll also get some information about my ebook+video package. But it's a pretty soft sell, and you certainly aren't obligated to buy anything.

Q: I heard that your ebooks have sold in something like thirty countries. Is that really true?

A: Actually, they have sold in more than forty countries worldwide. If you're interested, here's a list for just the past month:

The UK, the USA, Cyprus, Switzerland, Australia, Portugal, France, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Japan, South Africa, Hong Kong, Turkey and Ireland.

Q: I was looking for Target Plantar Fasciitis on Kindle. I thought I saw it listed, but now I can't find it.

A: I used to have both the Target Books (Target Plantar Fasciitis and Posterior Tibial Tendonitis, and Target Tendonitis) on Kindle, but I took them down. One reason, frankly, was that I was tired of paying Amazon two-thirds of the cover price, but the more important issue was that there wasn't any way of getting the videos bundled with the book on the Kindle platform, and without those a lot of people seemed to have a hard time understanding how to perform the exercises I recommend.

Q: I don't really like ebooks. Can I order a hard- or soft-cover version of TPF?

A: Sorry, but I don't offer anything other than the PDF version. The reason is the same as the answer to the last question: no way to include the video without adding a lot to the cost. Plus, 99% of the people who buy my books are in fairly severe pain and want to get rid of it as fast as possible. They don't want to wait 2-3 days (or longer in the case of international sales) for a regular paper book to be shipped.

Q: Do you offer your ebooks in languages other than English?

A: I'm working on it. The Japanese version of Target Tendonitis has been completed and is now on sale. Target Plantar Fasciitis has yet to be translated into another language, but if there is a demand for it, please let me know via the contact form on this website.

Q: Why doesn't stretching work to get rid of my plantar fascia pain?

A: Stretching is great for preventing pain, but not really effective for getting rid of a problem once you've got it. If you have either fasciitis (inflammation of the fascia) or fasciosis (degeneration of the fascia tissue), stretching won't help much. And in the case of fasciosis, too much stretching may actually cause further damage if the connective tissue has been weakened beyond a certain point.

Q: Is there a quick way to tell which condition I have, plantar fasciitis or plantar fasciosis?

A: Yes. The quickest and easiest way is to just take the test that I've put together here. It's free and only takes about a minute to complete.

Hope this helps. If you have a question that you'd like to have answered, either leave a comment below or use the contact page to get in touch.

A nice testimonial

I got a really nice email a few days back.  Here is the gist of it:
Hi Alex,
   I bought your e-book and video on Target Plantar Fasciitis, and it has helped me so much. I have had plantar fasciitis and anterior tibial tendon pain for quite some time. I am a distance runner, running up to 40 miles a week. For several months I had no pain while running (only sore after), but in June it became painful to run. Have spent the last three months trying all of the conservative treatments...night splint, icing, stretching calves several times a day, going to PT, massage therapy. I have been running at a reduced volume with no speedwork or trails, after taking off a few weeks. I started doing [the recommended exercises] 2 1/2 weeks ago, and taking [the recommended supplement], and the pain is gone!
- Sally Boyd

It's always nice to receive an email like the one above, because it shows just how effective a scientifically-based treatment protocol can be, compared to stuff that's done just because, well, it's always been done.  

For example, there is no good reason to ice a tendon that's been experiencing pain for more than a couple of weeks, because that tendon clearly does not have inflammation as its primary problem. Massage therapy is great for preventing tendon problems from occurring in the first place, but won't help much once you have chronic pain.  Same thing goes for stretching.  (Actions that prevent problems from happening are not necessarily the same ones that will cure it once the problem is there.)  And I don't know of any study that shows night splints to be effective for plantar fasciitis – although a lot of companies that make the splints insist that they are.

Yet doctors and other medical professionals continue to prescribe this sort of thing, not only for tendons and fascia but for other connective tissue as well. They'll even try to shoot your achilles tendon up with cortisone, despite studies that have shown that this will make the tendon more likely to rupture than if it's left alone.

It's really a mystery. My guess is that the doctors are just so busy that they simply don't have time to keep up with the latest research.

But the fact is, about ten years ago a Scandinavian team of scientists discovered that certain specific types of exercise were good for chronically painful tendons...and certain other types were very definitely not good for them.  Turns out that this same protocol can (and does) work for fascia as well.

This is why resting a tendon helps to alleviate the pain; you aren't doing any of the bad kind of movement.  But of course you can't just sit and rest forever, which is why you need a well-designed program of the good movements to actually heal the tendons, not just fail to injure them more.  And that's what the Target Plantar Fasciitis and Posterior Tibial Tendonitis ebook+video package delivers.

Of course, not every method of treatment works for everyone.  If you want to find out whether my product can help you or not, I invite you to take the free, one-minute tendon and fascia test that you can find on this page.  It will tell you very quickly what sort of tendon or fascia pain you have, and what you can do to help get rid of it once and for all.

Do-it-yourself foam-roller for fasciitis and tendonitis

Recently, I've seen some videos floating around that promote foam-rolling as a way to cure tendon and fascia pain.  While this isn't exactly true - foam-rolling can help prevent problems from happening in the first place, but won't cure anything once the problem has occurred - foam-rolling is still a great idea and should definitely be on everyone's list of body-work that they do on a regular basis.

If you're not familiar with foam-rolling, here's a brief explanation:

Basically, a foam-roller is, well, a tube of fairly dense styrofoam.  That's it.  Rollers come in various sizes and lengths, but the most common ones are about three feet long and six inches or so in diameter.  Most gyms have them now, and they're generally encased in blue vinyl covers for ease of washing and so on. The idea is that as you exercise, age, go about your daily activities (okay, as you live), you develop small areas of pain here and there in your body.  The pain comes from something called adhesions, which are places where the fibers in your muscles don't slide smoothly alongside each other like they're supposed to, but instead get stuck together, thus creating pain when you try to move in certain ways.  A good physiotherapist can massage these away for you, but with a foam-roller you can do it yourself by placing the affected bodypart on the roller and rolling back and forth a few times with a bit of pressure to break up the adhesion.

Amazon sells foam-rollers, although most of them are a little less rigid than the usual gym version.  This is actually good for people who are new to foam-rolling, as the practice tends to hurt quite a bit in the beginning, and a softer roller can limit the pain.  But once you're used to it, a soft roller won't do you as much good as a hard one.

On the other end of the scale is this monster.  It is not for the faint of heart.  It looks - and can feel - like something out of Torquemada's dungeon, but it will absolutely destroy any adhesions you might have.  If you can stand the pain, that is.

RumbleRoller The RumbleRoller is specifically optimized for myofascial release.  And pain.

In-between are the regular gym rollers.  But if you want something that you can use around the house...as well as pack into your gym bag...as well as easily store away...as well as use for other purposes, then investing in a pair of FatGripz might be the way to go.  I realize that readers of this blog are generally runners, but many of you work out in the gym as well, and Fatgripz are one of the best ways to do great things for your arms.  Not to mention the fact that if you've developed tendon or fascia pain in your feet or ankles, there's a good chance that you might end up with it in your arms and shoulders as well.  (Some people are genetically more predisposed to developing connective tissue pain than others.)  Fatgripz can virtually eliminate this possibility by changing the thickness of the typical gym barbell so that your hands don't always close to exactly the same degree each time.

It's kind of hard to roll a small tendon like the peroneal or post tibial, but for the plantar fascia or achilles tendon, foam rolling can be just the ticket to prevent injuries before they happen.  If you've already had an injury and have completely recovered, foam rolling can also go a long way toward making sure that injury doesn't come back again.

But you don't need a six-foot long roller to get at the soles of your feet or your ankles.  And if you do buy a regular foam roller, you really can't use it for anything other than, well, foam rolling. FatGripz, on the other hand, are much more versatile.

FatGripz come in sets of two, and they are 2.25" thick plastic attachments that you can put on a regular barbell to make it into a "fat bar".  Why would anyone do this?  According to the company using FatGripz will increase both the strength and the size of your arms.  (It's harder to grip a fat bar than a regular one, causing the arm muscles to work harder even if you're doing the same exercises.)  For tendon purposes, having a choice of widths for your barbells is an excellent way to prevent repetitive stress injuries – especially in your forearms – if you spend much time in a gym,.

But here's the other advantage.  You can take one FatGrip, slide a broomstick through it, and make your very own "foam" roller.  While it won't really do for large areas like the back, the small size makes it ideal for rolling the major tendons and fascia of the ankles and feet.  And it's a bit harder than your usual foam roller, which is nice.  (If you want a softer version, just wrap a towel around the FatGrip.)

Here's a picture:

Stick through Fatgrip to make a foam-roller

Use your Fatgripz as a foam-roller.

The smaller diameter of Fatgripz doesn't make much difference when you're rolling, and unlike a lot of regular foam rollers, they come with a 60-day money-back guarantee. So if for whatever reason you don't like the things, you can return them for a full refund.

But honestly speaking, I don't know anyone who's returned them. They work great for their intended purpose (in fact, they were named "Training Tool of the Decade") and – as described above – they also can serve double-duty as a localized foam roller for smaller bodyparts like the soles of the feet. Check out the website here. You won't be disappointed.

A different kind of testimonial

Hello my name is Alex Saadat and im a believer!  Your book has been of great help. I have recommended it to several people. Whether a disc golfer in golden gate park a checkout clerk at the supermarket and my self absorbed weightlifting older brother. Your system works...

It's always nice to hear when someone uses my techniques to help rid themselves of tendon or fascia pain, but it's doubly nice to find out that they got such fast and effective relief that they start recommending it to check-out clerks at the local supermarket!  That's when they've gone from being a customer to a proselytizer, someone who's so convinced that they've found something new and great that they'll go out on a limb to tell others about it.

My two ebooks, Target Tendonitis (for the knees up) and Target Plantar Fasciitis (for the ankles and feet), have now sold over a thousand copies in more than forty different countries – and I haven't paid a cent for advertising.  The program is effective enough that once people try it they start telling others, and word of mouth is always the best advertising.  Why spend money when people like Alex Sadaat are out there spreading the word for me?

If you're reading this page, odds are that you've been diagnosed with either tendonitis or fasciitis. But let me give you something to think about: If you've had tendon or fascia pain for more than two weeks, the fact is that the chances of your condition really being tendonitis or fasciitis are less that five percent.  No matter what you've been told by a doctor or physical therapist, it's much more likely that you have tendonosis or fasciosis – conditions that are (1) much more serious than an "~itis" and (2) will not respond to treatment that tries to combat inflammation.

I've written about this in more detail here (for tendons) and here (for fascia), so I won't go through it again.  Just be aware that the reason my programs get such good word-of-mouth is that they are designed to treat the condition you really have, not the one everybody is telling you you have.  If you want to find out more about what your problem really is, take the test that you can find on this page.  It's free, will only take a minute, and there's absolutely nothing that you have to buy, opt into or anything else.  Just good information that you should have in order to make a good decision about your body.

A new video

I've just put together a new video that explains the difference between plantar fasciitis and plantar fasciosis. It's less than ten minutes long, and – while I'm not the most charismatic guy on camera – the information may save you a lot of time and money if you're trying to treat your feet for the wrong condition.

Author: Alex Nordach

A lot of bad advice out there…

A silly video

I ran across a video the other day and thought I'd write a post about it because it gives a good example of just how much bad advice there is out there among "certified" physical therapists and so on.

Before I start, I want to say that I know (and have used) some excellent PTs, and I certainly do not want to say that everyone in the field is a quack or anything like that. There are definitely some good people out there, and if you have access to a really competent PT, he or she can often work miracles. But on the other side of the coin, just having a certification (of any sort) doesn't necessarily make you competent in your job. And a lot of people get fooled by labcoats.

Personally speaking, I've received enough bad advice from "body professionals" over the years that nowadays when I have to see one I always try to assume that they know what they're talking about...but I also always ask some pointed questions, just to make sure. I hope that this blog post will make you think about things a little, and encourage you not to blindly accept what you're hearing the next time you go in for some "body work".

I'm not going to link the video here, but you can find it on YouTube. Just go to the YouTube site and type in /watch?v=pn6i-_dTX0g after the www.youtube.com part of the URL. The video's less than two minutes long, but if you don't want to watch the whole thing I'll give a brief summary below.

Strengthening a tendon

The video shows a PT who tells you how to "strengthen" an apparently healthy woman's achilles tendon by using a stretch band. The woman is sitting on a therapy bed and takes the band, loops it around her foot, and then proceeds to exercise the foot against the band by pointing and relaxing her toes.

All this is fine, and the PT makes sure to cover some good points about getting in a full range of motion and so on. The problem is that the band only provides about five or ten pounds of resistance, and the woman in the video who uses the band has got to weigh at least a hundred and twenty.

This may not seem relevant, but think about it for a second. If she weighs 120lbs, that means that every step she takes she is putting 120lbs of pressure on her achilles tendon. How is a band with ten pounds of resistance going to strengthen a tendon when that tendon has far more stress put on it just when the woman walks? (We won't even talk about how much more than 120lbs each step really is because of acceleration/deceleration forces.) If you can bench press 200lbs without any problem at all, you're not going to develop more strength by working out with 20lbs.

What's the point?

So what's the point of using a very weak stretch-band for this? Basically, unless the woman was injured and spent so much time off her feet that her achilles tendons atrophied to the point that they can no longer support any weight (which would mean that she couldn't even stand up), there is none. Maybe a polio victim would qualify, but exercising an achilles tendon in any realistic scenario will involve using a decent amount of weight, one that equals a significant percentage of the exerciser's bodyweight.

Yes, if the woman was injured or is recovering from surgery it makes sense to monitor her level of pain and start out using a lighter weight. But not this light. Using a weak band like that reminds me of the housewives who walk into gyms, start using the one- and two-pound dumbbells, and then wonder why their bodies don't change. It's not hard to understand when you realize that the average bag of groceries weighs more than the "workout" weights! They're not using enough resistance to have any effect on the muscles.

One other point about the video is that the PT says that the stretch band provides "constant resistance" so long as the hands holding the other end of the band remain stable, but this isn't really true. If you stretch a rubber band out, there is going to be more and more resistance the further you stretch it (until it breaks, anyway). The resistance at the beginning is light, and gets progressively heavier the more you pull.

Admittedly, this is pretty minor. The range of motion that a foot has isn't very great, and so there won't be a lot of difference in resistance between the beginning and the end of the motion. But it's disturbing that a trained and certified PT would say something like this in the first place, when a simple, "Be sure to keep your hands in the same place" would be fine. I think that a lot of times people in positions of authority like doctors and physical therapists have a need to justify what they're saying to their patients, and sometimes this can lead to a little trouble.

Think for yourself!

In any case, please, if you have a problem with your achilles tendon, plantar fascia or anything else, don't just blindly trust what someone in a labcoat tells you. Use your common sense and try to think critically about what's being said.

Author: Alex Nordach

The Real Cost of Plantar Fascia Pain

Ever wonder what the actual cost of an ongoing condition like plantar fasciitis is? There are some studies that have attempted to estimate it, but those numbers are probably low. For a better, more visceral idea of what the continued search for relief can cost, check out this post from someone who still hasn't found the answer:

You ask what people have tried and the cost and effectiveness of those treatments. I've taken prescription NSAIDs ($10 per month, thanks to insurance). I've tried inexpensive shoe inserts from the store, which didn't work. The thing that helped most was PT exercises which I found online (free). Unfortunately, that only lasted six months, then things got worse and I talked to my doctor ($20) who ordered an MRI (my share was $315, since I'd already met my insurance deductible). The doctor then referred me to a podiatrist ($20). The podiatrist had me get $50 orthotics and follow up in two months ($20). Those orthotics didn't help, so the doctor measured me for $400 custom-made orthotics (not covered by insurance) and had me follow-up in another two months ($20), and again a year later ($30). Another four months later ($30). Along with the custom orthotics, I bought three pair of good-quality shoes that the orthotics will fit into ($170, $145, $110). I'd rate the effectiveness of orthotics about 80%, so long as I wear shoes all day every day. This requires extra carpet shampooing since we don't typically wear shoes in our house. Add to that all the time and fuel required to go to all those appointments, the time to do the exercises, and ongoing pain. Recently the pain has increased, so I have another appt with the podiatrist scheduled, and might be told to try another expensive, ineffective treatment.

The page that the quote comes from is here (the second "reply" down from the top). Note that this person (a) has what appears to be some pretty good insurance and that (b) even though this list still isn't exhaustive, it totals up to more than twelve hundred dollars (none of which, I'll bet, came with a money-back guarantee). And the condition still isn't healed.

Why? Well, I can't say for sure, but I think I have a pretty good idea. Let me use a completely different example to make a point. Imagine that you have a toothache, and that the only remedy is to pull the tooth. You go to a dentist, lie back in the chair, get shot up with novocain and have your left bicuspid extracted. Now, if the problem was really with your left bicuspid, you're golden. But if it was really the incisor that was causing the pain, you're going to be in for an unpleasant surprise when you get home and the novocain wears off.

I've said it before, but since the Mayans were wrong and the world is still here I'll say it again: The reason so many people fail to find relief from "plantar fasciitis" is that they don't have plantar fasciitis in the first place. If you're calling a condition by a name that suggests one problem but in fact you actually have a different problem, it stands to reason that no matter how many "cures" you try, you're not going to get any better.

Here's the deal: Any kind of "~itis" indicates inflammation, and inflammation by itself is usually pretty short-lived. A week or two at the most. If you've had plantar fascia pain for longer than that, the chances are very good (like, 95%) that your condition is plantar fasciosis, not plantar fasciitis. (Of course, you could have both at the same time. But in that case it's the ~osis that's causing the ~itis to flare up for so long.)

This is the main question for most people with persistent PF pain, so I created a quick and easy (and free!) plantar fascia test to help them make a more informed judgement on the matter. The test only takes a minute, and as you can see from the above, it might just save you a lot of time and money.

About the author:
Alex Nordach has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 30 years.  His ebooks, Target Tendonitis and Target Plantar Fasciitis have sold thousands of copies world-wide and been translated into other languages.  If you have had tendonitis or plantar fasciitis for more than two weeks, chances are that your problem isn't an "itis" but an "osis" – as in tendonosis or plantar fasciosis.  Check out the links above to learn more.

Author: Alex Nordach

Quoted by Business Insider

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to share that one of my articles got quoted on Business Insider. One of the leading websites on pretty much everything related to business.

Why would a business website feature information on tendonitis?

Well, users of my eBook and video products range from professional bodybuilders to housewives to business executives. The fact is, tendon pain can affect literally anyone. And one of the most frequent problems people encounter nowadays is thumb tendon pain from using Blackberries, smart phones and the like. I know, this doesn't have anything to do with foot or ankle tendon/fascia problems. Sorry! 🙂 But tendons are tendons no matter what part of the body they're in, so the principles are the same. Check out the article here:




Author: Alex Nordach


I just received a new testimonial for achilles tendon pain in the mail.  Here's the full, unedited text:

I found your e-book incredibly helpful!  The videos were great-- I don't think I would have been able to do the exercises properly [without them].  They have been a lifesaver.  I was diagnosed with achilles tendonosis back in 2010 and the doctor had basically told me to just rest it for awhile and then use an anti-inflammatory and ice it after I run.  (I do sprint distance triathlons and 10k runs.)  But it wasn't helping at all.  I took a year off running and still didn't get any relief.  In fact, sometimes it hurt horribly just to walk.  I was pretty desperate for some kind of help, anything, because I wanted to be able to run again.  Within two weeks of using your exercises I was completely pain free while walking.  I took up running again (though doing shorter distances) and I continue to use your exercises as "maintenance."  I still have some pain, especially during and shortly after a run, but the exercises do help me to keep participating in my races, something I was afraid I would never be able to do again.

Thank you!!

Heidi Johnson

I get stories like this all the time.  A person starts to feel tendon pain, and they try to ignore it.  Eventually it gets so bad that they go to a doctor, and 99% of the time the prescription is the same: ice, rest, and some kind of anti-inflammatory medicine.  (In Heidi's case, this was in spite of the fact that the diagnosis was tendonosis, not tendonitis.  Why use anti-inflammatories if there's no inflammation?) Although I don't consider myself an expert at internet marketing or anything like that, I have sold thousands of copies of my ebooks at this point. It's for one reason: they work.

While no therapy is going to be 100% effective for every single person, the techniques given in Target Plantar Fasciitis and Posterior Tibial Tendonitis have a huge amount of both scientific and anecdotal evidence behind them.  Simply put, if you have long-term tendon or fascia pain that has not responded to conventional treatment, they are your best bet short of surgery.  I have also created a test that is free and will take you less than a minute to complete.  If you're experiencing tendon or fascia pain that won't go away, take a moment and fill it out.  It may just save you a lot of time and frustration.

Author: Alex Nordach