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relations between TTS and foot training: and important suggestions

Posted by alan k on 2/25/00 at 00:00 (016433)

I have been diagnosed with TTS and exhibit some symptoms but also may not have it at all due to other anomalies in my condition. I found that foot exercising was problematic for me and in fact seemed to make things worse at first (for instance, it increased the tingling which began to extend to the toes, where it wasn't before). However, I found that gradually things changed and returned to normal and then got better. Note that I am not diagnosed with any condition whatsoever, but I do have a tinnel's sign (tingling shooting to big toe) when tapping under the ankle, which is or may be a sign that I have a nerve entrapment condition.

One reason why foot training can seem to make TTS worse is related to blood flow during and shortly after exersize. Increased bloodflow engorges blood vessels and muscles and that can then squeeze on the tibial nerve. Such irritation is ideally to be avoided-- you want the nerve to rest and regenerate (which it can do). But at the same time if you do not alter the versatility of the foot, except to let it atrophy, then whatever structural problems are involved are probably going to get worse. If foot training can help TTS, and I think it is possible but I cannot say for sure, then it would result from finding the right balance between easing off the nerve and training the foot. One must understand that nerves irritate instantly while muscles build slowly. It takes a while to see which side is winning.

Here are some things TTS patients can DO:

1) proceed slowly and patiently, willing to risk a little irritation of the condition but careful not to go too far. Also, you must be willing to accept that this may not work or may make it worse. If you can't accept that, you may be dangerous to yourself.

2) anything and everything that seems to make TTS better should be done right after exersize. Especially don't go sit at the computer with your blood pumping and feet down on the ground pooling blood. The best post-exercise postion is standing on your head. If that is inconvenient, try propping the feet up on my feet-propper pillows which I will be selling soon. They fit on any coffee table and cushion the feet, and you can also use them as a pillow for your head to sleep at night and they come with a white pillowcase, only $99.99.

Although I'm not crazy about ice after exercise in principle, and in an ideal world, people with especially acute pf or with tts in the early stages of foot training might need ice immediately after foot training. This has to be decided by experience. It may be a good idea to ice alongside and under the ankle after foot training for those with tts. Ice arrests some of the healing effects of foot training but may be a necessary evil in the beginning stages.

3) combine foot training with other exercise which does not impinge on the feet or include weight bearing. I firmly believe that if you condition and strenghten the rest of your body that will generate healing in the feet. It is also simple a bio-mechanical fact that the muscles work in groups extra-specific to any one location.

I have been following these principles and they seem to help though it is not clear what is wrong with me. I think it is safe to say that the tarsal tunnel is involved but it's not the whole story. I also recommend acupuncture for tts as a possible way to enhance the effects of foot training and diminish the stress it may cause.

I think it is perfectly reasonable for tts patients to try foot exercising.

alan k