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Stationary Bike Seems to Help

Posted by mary finley on 8/27/98 at 19:20 (001477)

I have had PF for about 1 year and have tried all the typical therapy (anti-inflammatory medication, icing, staying off my feet, stretching, wearing only Birkenstocks) with mediocre results.

I couldn't stand being inactive any longer, so I went out on a limb and started riding a stationary bike for 1/2 hour, 3 times a week and it actually seems to be helping, It seems to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons in my feet and has made the PF much less painful.

I wear Birkenstock inserts in my tennis shoes for extra arch support and also ice my feet immediately after biking. I have not noticed any increased pain due to this activity - the inserts and icing may be a factor in this. Has anyone else experienced these results from stationary biking?

I also want to note that before I stand up first thing in the morning, I roll my feet on tennis balls. I have found this to be the best way to reduce (but not eliminate) that extreme pain that we all experience when we take our first steps in the morning.

Re: Stationary Bike Seems to Help

Sue on 8/27/98 at 22:20 (001479)

I had been riding a stationary bike for 2 years before I developed PF.

I tend to blame the bike for at least being partially responsible for my developing the PF. However, I rode the bike in my BARE feet
I cringe now when I think of what I must have been doing to my feet. If anyone wants to ride the bike my guess is that it is important to wear good supporting shoes when you do it.

I had never heard of PF and thought my feet were indestructible.


Re: Stationary Bike Seems to Help

Mary in Colorado on 8/28/98 at 10:35 (001484)


I got my PF from hiking in the mountains in inappropriate shoes. I, too , thought my feet were indestructable and thought I was just out of shape when my feet starting hurting from the hiking. I also have gone barefoot when riding bikes and doing the Stairmaster - back in the old days before I knew that something called PF even existed. I cringe at the thought now.

This condition is so frustrating and so depressing. My whole life has changed and it is very hard to keep things in a positive perspective. But, this site has given me hope that time and patience may eventually result in having 'normal' feet again.

Re: Stationary Bike Seems to Help

Cindy on 8/28/98 at 17:51 (001489)

The stationary bike is what caused my big flare-up 16 months ago; I was riding Without any resistance, and I still got into trouble. I am still not anywhere near recovered from this episode, and would just advise to be very careful with the bikes. When I rode for 1/2 hour three times weekly, no problem. So I increased to 45 minutes 6 or 7 days a week, and pow! So, don't overdo it.

Re: Stationary Bike?

Bobie on 12/27/98 at 00:00 (002862)

I was considering using a stationary bike but wasn't sure if it would aggravate the PF or not. I know the tread mill is out of the question. So far, the only time I am not in pain is when I am sitting in my recliner or in bed. I would like to be able to excersise but I don't want to irritate my poor feet. Also thought about swimming but it is difficult to get to a pool. Any good ideas on what types of excersice are appropriate and will not aggrvate the PF?

Re: Stationary Bike?

Robin on 12/27/98 at 00:00 (002863)

Hi Bobbie. I used to use a stationary bike but quit when I ripped a ligament in my knee. Also, I had a little heel pain after riding.

Now I am in PT for the knee and the therapist has assigned me stationary biking 5-7 minutes each morning and night. He told me to wear athletic shoes with the best arch support and sole stability I could find and by trial and error to position my foot in the pedals so I don't irritate the plantar fascia or unnecessarily flex my foot. I've been doing it for a week now and so far, so good. My feet are no worse, and my knee is actually better. The bike I use at the therapy center has fairly long pedals and that seems to help support my whole foot too. I'd much rather be outside walking, but I think a good quality stationary bike may be part of my future.

Re: Stationary Bike?

Alicia on 12/27/98 at 00:00 (002865)

Robin: I used to do low impact step and regular aerobics 3-4 times a week - also teach step and other classes. At this point, with the PF, I have had to decrease my teaching to one class per week (it kills me, but I'm trying to keep my foot in the door at the 'Y'). I tried spinning, but found it boring so now I have a recumbent stationary bike at home. If I concentrate on letting my quadriceps do the work and not pressing on the pedals, my feet do not get any worse. It looks like you just may have to experiment with it. Believe me, I sympathize with those who can't exercise like they want to. I'm grateful the bike is working for me. Let me know if you find a way to do it. Good luck.

Re: Stationary Bike?

Barbara on 12/28/98 at 00:00 (002890)

I have had pf about 2 years now and I also have a recumbent stationary bike which works fine for me. All the doctors I have seen recommend swimming but I can't get to a pool conveniently. I ride the bike at least every other day for 30 minutes to help me lose weight and I have lost 16 pounds in 16 weeks. (This is along with weight watchers which is also working for me.) However, I have not found 'the' cure for my pf... I do not seem to be as stressed about the pf pain lately so maybe the pain is lessening. I love sharing on this website and have received much emotional support here just by reading the messages. Best to all, Barbara

Re: Stationary Bike?

Bobbie on 12/28/98 at 00:00 (002907)

Barbara I would be interested to know if losing weight and exercising help the PF. Have you noticed any relief? I know I need to do both but was hoping that it would help the PF problem too.

Re: Stationary Bike?

Barbara on 12/29/98 at 00:00 (002920)

Dear Bobbie: Losing weight and exercising has not helped my pf. It has, however, helped my disposition and ability to cope with pain--at least I am having some success in my life! The orthopedist I have been seeing says that even though weight gain can be a cause of pf, losing weight may not make as much difference as one would think. I still have about 40 more pounds to lose before I get back to my 'normal' weight. This doctor also had pf for about 3 years before he cured himself by strengthening his feet through a series of exercises. I did these a couple of weeks and have since not been doing them regularly. He says it may take up to six months of doing them but that it will be a cure. I plan to start doing them regularly again but so far have not made the commitment. The New Year is coming though... Best, Barbara

Re: Stationary Bike?

Bobbie on 12/29/98 at 00:00 (002940)

I have tried and continue to do the stretching exercises, rotating my foot, massage, rolling my foot over a bottle, etc. So far nothing really helps. I have no pain when sitting or laying in bed but the more I am on my feet the more pain I experience. Today was a bad day because I had to be on my feet a lot at work. It's just so darn frustrating and I am wondering how much longer I can continue working. I wish everyone the very best and hope we can all find a cure in 1999.

Re: Stationary Bike?

debbie on 12/30/98 at 00:00 (002948)

I swam and lifted weights. I missed my aerobics and had to do something. YOu can lift weights sitting down. eventually I used a stationary bike. Of course now I am back to Jazzercise and can even use the treadmill, thanks to acupuncture. Debbie

Re: Stationary Bike?

Mary D on 12/31/98 at 00:00 (002961)

Hi new kid in town here. I have been suffering with PF for over 6 years! I had a 7 day a week workout schedule. I taught land and water aerobis for over 10 years. After my pregancy with twins I switched to water aerobics. I found wearing shoes in the water to be very helpful. And remember to wear shower shoes to and from the pool.
Recently I had to leave the water aerobics due to an adverse reaction to the water, so sad. I just purchased a stationary bike. I used to ride my 'real' bike daily (18 miles) but my foot pain is too much to take, especially at night.
I purchased a wind bike. It gives me upperbody resistance while I use my foot to bike. I like the wind machine becaues if I am in too much pain to use my feet, I still have an upper body workout. I can even have the upper body 'run' my foot movement without adding pressure or rest my feet on the side and use arems only.
I too have weight loss goal, due to inactivatiy and foot pain. There are days the pain is so bad it brings tears to my eyes.
It is my goal in '99 to feel fine - AGAIN!