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Re: How the stairs work:

Posted by Rick R on 2/02/00 at 00:00 (015420)

It's quite simple, place the balls of the feet on the edge of the stair and lower yourself so that the heels are below the level of the stair you are using. You get the same angle effect as the wall stretch. Perhaps the missing elements in visualizing this are the hand rails, without which this could be a tad risky. I think this method is more aggressive in the use of ones body weight opposed to the wall method. That's one reason I don't use it. As a matter of fact the last thing I was able to add to my recovery activity was stretching. Believe it or not I could run(well taped) before I could stretch much at all. Perhaps this supports you leg strength comment.

Re: How the stairs work:

dang dave on 2/02/00 at 00:00 (015427)

I don't use the stairs as a 'stretching technique' but for a strengthening technique.

After seeing the limitations of stretching, I agree with Zuckerman's characterization of building up the calf muscles and I do rapid repeats of heel lifts on the stairs (as you positioned the toes on the treads with heels hanging in air) and usually get a feeling of a 'burn' in the calves... which is good. I do about 60 to 80 shallow lowerings and risings quickly as I am exercising the Strength muscles, not the endurance muscles (which according to another doctor I posted) are the ones affected by stretching. Stretching is a good thing but it isn't the same as strength nor is it effective in stopping inflammation (and the accompaning pain..)

In fact I am doubtful about Ibuprofen or other off the shelf medicines (aspirin's good enough and just as effective... imo).... as it masks the pain that is in fact our 'warning system'..

Also, I did have a relapse in PF Due to stretching too much during a hike last Fall.

Pain may be our warning light for when we are going too far with stressing the Plantar fascia... I now listen more closely. After today's after work hike I felt just a twinge of pain in the pf area esp. in the right foot (my left foot still seems to enjoy relief due to that cortisone shot of 5 weeks ago!!) so I'm getting to bed earlier and resting that foot and enjoying another leisurely stretch tomorrow... and then maybe just taking a much easier walk with the dog tomorrow..

Strenghtening muscles Also requires frequent Rest periods for growth in stressed tissue... In fact a well known factor in weight training ... which in my younger days was ignored... (I remember lifting weights with identical back to back daily work outs when I was a teen and 'plateauing' quite quickly... then learning later that 2 days of hard work on the muscles should be following by at least a day of relatively easy or none work out.. usually 4 days a week of work outs is adequate for a good gradual strenghtening... whereas everyday may make one lean... but only strong to a point.. and even weak if overworked...

So I see the feet as a muscle related strength needing proper 'training'.


Re: How the stairs work:

alan k on 2/03/00 at 00:00 (015445)

The lifting may not strengthen the pf, but it would strengthen associated muscles in the foot, thus helping with an overall leg strengthening regimen.

One of my DPM did not recommend it however, as it would be too rough on the pf. A very controlled resistance, using handrails to take the majority of the weight, or a machine like the pilates performer, might be a way to by-pass that concern about overstrain and still give the foot strengthening exersizes. Of course, the stomach, back, and and rest of leg would also have to be strenthened for it too have a dramatic effect.

alan k


Re: How the stairs work:

VickiJ on 2/03/00 at 00:00 (015468)

What 'kind' of arches do you have Dave? High, med, low? I have high arches and could not put any weight on my worst foot until I had spent a year stretching ten or twelve times a day employing the angled foot-leaning into the wall technique and 'rollering' the bottom of my feet with a ball...which I could only do very lightly at first and now I press as hard as I can because it feels so good. I think I am now ready to begin strengthening.

I will try your 'rapid and shallow' method on the stairs. I cannot use it for the stretching because it doesn't 'get at it' for me. Perhaps because I hyper extend my knees or the hams are so tight (yes I stretch them too)...don't know, I just know that the 'wall' stretch gets deeper into the calf for me and gives me immediate, if temporary, relief when the pf is at its worst.

The 'picking up the towel with your toes' excercise...does it help strengthen the plantar? I could not do it a year ago either...one or two 'grabs' at the towel on the floor with my toes and the plantar cramped up like crazy...I can do a few now.


Re: How the stairs work:

dang dave on 2/02/00 at 00:00 (015427)

I don't use the stairs as a 'stretching technique' but for a strengthening technique.

After seeing the limitations of stretching, I agree with Zuckerman's characterization of building up the calf muscles and I do rapid repeats of heel lifts on the stairs (as you positioned the toes on the treads with heels hanging in air) and usually get a feeling of a 'burn' in the calves... which is good. I do about 60 to 80 shallow lowerings and risings quickly as I am exercising the Strength muscles, not the endurance muscles (which according to another doctor I posted) are the ones affected by stretching. Stretching is a good thing but it isn't the same as strength nor is it effective in stopping inflammation (and the accompaning pain..)

In fact I am doubtful about Ibuprofen or other off the shelf medicines (aspirin's good enough and just as effective... imo).... as it masks the pain that is in fact our 'warning system'..

Also, I did have a relapse in PF Due to stretching too much during a hike last Fall.

Pain may be our warning light for when we are going too far with stressing the Plantar fascia... I now listen more closely. After today's after work hike I felt just a twinge of pain in the pf area esp. in the right foot (my left foot still seems to enjoy relief due to that cortisone shot of 5 weeks ago!!) so I'm getting to bed earlier and resting that foot and enjoying another leisurely stretch tomorrow... and then maybe just taking a much easier walk with the dog tomorrow..

Strenghtening muscles Also requires frequent Rest periods for growth in stressed tissue... In fact a well known factor in weight training ... which in my younger days was ignored... (I remember lifting weights with identical back to back daily work outs when I was a teen and 'plateauing' quite quickly... then learning later that 2 days of hard work on the muscles should be following by at least a day of relatively easy or none work out.. usually 4 days a week of work outs is adequate for a good gradual strenghtening... whereas everyday may make one lean... but only strong to a point.. and even weak if overworked...

So I see the feet as a muscle related strength needing proper 'training'.


Re: How the stairs work:

alan k on 2/03/00 at 00:00 (015445)

The lifting may not strengthen the pf, but it would strengthen associated muscles in the foot, thus helping with an overall leg strengthening regimen.

One of my DPM did not recommend it however, as it would be too rough on the pf. A very controlled resistance, using handrails to take the majority of the weight, or a machine like the pilates performer, might be a way to by-pass that concern about overstrain and still give the foot strengthening exersizes. Of course, the stomach, back, and and rest of leg would also have to be strenthened for it too have a dramatic effect.

alan k


Re: How the stairs work:

VickiJ on 2/03/00 at 00:00 (015468)

What 'kind' of arches do you have Dave? High, med, low? I have high arches and could not put any weight on my worst foot until I had spent a year stretching ten or twelve times a day employing the angled foot-leaning into the wall technique and 'rollering' the bottom of my feet with a ball...which I could only do very lightly at first and now I press as hard as I can because it feels so good. I think I am now ready to begin strengthening.

I will try your 'rapid and shallow' method on the stairs. I cannot use it for the stretching because it doesn't 'get at it' for me. Perhaps because I hyper extend my knees or the hams are so tight (yes I stretch them too)...don't know, I just know that the 'wall' stretch gets deeper into the calf for me and gives me immediate, if temporary, relief when the pf is at its worst.

The 'picking up the towel with your toes' excercise...does it help strengthen the plantar? I could not do it a year ago either...one or two 'grabs' at the towel on the floor with my toes and the plantar cramped up like crazy...I can do a few now.