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Some improvement/What I think is helping

Posted by Beverly on 4/30/00 at 15:04 (019654)

I am happy to be able to report I feel somewhat better. (about 30% or 40%) I'm still in pain when I stand or walk more than just around the house, but I'm not limping, and I don't usually have pain when I am reclining (off the foot). If you recall, a week ago I could hardly take a step without total agony. Although my foot still hurts a little to drive, it does not hurt so much that I feel like I can't drive.

Here are some things that I believe are helping:

1. I have taken what I have learned here about rest very seriously.
Although I can walk painfully through the grocery store, I swallowed my pride and started riding the electric handicapped cart. I think ahead on any place that involves much walking or standing and try to minimalize it.

2. Most of my work is done sitting. I've started wearing my good running shoes with SuperFeet inserts (that I didn't like at first but now like) at the computer. I used to work barefooted.

3. I took Nancy's advice and reduced barefootedness to 0%. Now, the only time I am barefooted is when I step into the bathtub. When I get out, my Ecco slip on sandals are waiting for me.

4. I am using ice alot. I know it doesn't feel good for everyone, but it feels good for me. I'm averaging three times a day for 20 - 30 minutes per session. I wait for my foot to warmup before I step on it so I'm not standing on a cold muscle.

5. Although I've been forbidden by my doctor to stretch while in the acute phase, he likes massage. I have a massage ball that I use first thing in the morning and anytime I am sitting in my recliner, I roll the ball back and forth underneath my foot while I rock in the recliner. I do that several times a day. I find the massage ball to give more massage than my thumb can and it keeps my thumb from getting stiff.

6. I finally got used to the Superfeet Green inserts and they are giving me more support than the doctor's ready made inserts. I also decided to follow advice I'd read here and rotate my shoes. I bought two pairs of Ecco sandals. Now, I have three pairs of 'healthy' shoes, and I rotate them. It keeps the pain from being too intense in any one place on my foot for too long. Example: the running shoes with SuperFeet cause arch pain after I'm on my feet for long (ditto for the inserts doc gave me too.) but they take the pain away from my heel.
My Ecco sandals completely remove arch pain, but if I on my feet too much, lead to heel pain. So, I rotate.

7. I miss the health club, but for now, I'm staying away. Even on the bike, it sometimes bothers my foot. In another week, I'll try the bike and ride just on my heel (as I have read here).

8. Probably the most important of all, I caught this early. I'm on week six. Since I already had one relapse after I first felt better, I am using great caution. It is tempting to want to go back to my 'normal life' as my foot feels better, but last time I did that, I was barely able to walk around the house after a few days and was in agony.

9. When driving, I am wearing my most supportive shoes (running with SuperFeet inserts), and whenever possible, I used cruise control. I am also developing a techinque to brake with my heel instead of the ball of my foot. It takes practice. (I figured if it's better to ride a bike with the heel, it's probably better to drive with the heel too.)


Questions:
1. When I do start bike riding again, how am I suppose to stretch my legs & calves if I'm not suppose to stretch my foot? I know warming up is important. The health club has one of those stretching machines. But on it, a hamstring stretch involves flexing the foot.

2. I've never been much of a swimmer, but I'm wondering if you all think it is theraputic for the feet?

3. I'm spooked by cortizone in general and especially after I've read reports here, but I'm wondering if there is any harm in trying it once
and see what happens? If I am understanding correctly, it is mulitple injections that lead to damage.

Thanks,
Beverly
PS: It will be several weeks before I get my custom orthodics.



Re: Some improvement/What I think is helping

Nancy S. on 4/30/00 at 15:40 (019655)

Beverly, I'm so glad you're feeling improvement. It's obvious from your post that you're working really hard at taking care of your feet, and that's just great. Regarding your swimming question, I have found swimming to be extremely therapeutic for my feet. I started in February and was going 3 times a week, for about an hour each time; now I've become a bit of a slacker and have to get back to going that often. I'm not athletic about the swimming, just do sidestrokes and breaststrokes and a little freestyle and keep moving. For me it seems strengthening to my feet, increases flexibility, gets the blood circulating not only in the feet but everywhere, and it's the only aerobic exercise I can get now -- it reminds me what real breathing feels like. In sum, I think it's wonderful and highly recommend it. --Nancy
P.S. Oh Beverly . . . if you swim, be sure to wear some plastic or rubber sandals right up to the edge of the pool, and step into them when you get out. I bet you're shocked that I brought this up, aren't you?

Re: Some improvement/What I think is helping

Melody on 4/30/00 at 16:16 (019656)

Beverly,

It is so lovely to hear that you are improving!

I would agree with Nancy about swimming. I swam everyday last week - at a holiday camp with my nieces - not through choice!! I found the actual swimming was fine, but getting in and out of the pool made me want to cry. We were at a beach pool where the shallow end is graduated so you have to walk in the water to get out. It hurt soooooo much:( I don't know whether stepping out via a ladder would be easier but it is something worth considering if and when you do go swimming.

The breaking with the heel of your foot sounds and interesting concept! I bought an automatic car 2 weeks ago. I needed to change mione because I can only use one hand. I thought it would make my foot a lot more comfortable too not having to use it for the clutch. It doesn't though! I have yet to find a comfortable way of positioning my foot while I am driving. And the way I find best obviously isn;t doing it any good becasue I can barely put it to the ground when I get out of the car!

I hope you continue to get better.

Well done and good luck

Mel


Re: Some improvement/What I think is helping

Steve P on 4/30/00 at 19:25 (019668)

Beverly --- Great post! Thanks a lot.
I'm just about where you are in terms of length of time with PF (2 months) & treatment program. I'm doing PT (ultrasound, electric stim, massage), ice 3-4 times/day, tennis ball massages 3-4 times/day, resting all I can, & I already have hard orthotics due to an earlier knee problem.
The one difference between your program & mine is stretching. My PT has me doing the wall lean & other stretches now, despite the fact that I haven't improved yet. I wonder if such stretching is premature & could possibly be nullifying all the good things (essentially your list) that I'm otherwise doing. I think, based on your message, that I'm going to back off on stretching until I get some improvement.
Thanks again for your helpful thoughts.
Steve P

Re: Some improvement/What I think is helping

FWS on 4/30/00 at 20:18 (019675)

I'm only going to address swimming and cortisone.

I highly recommend swimming. I was raised on an island and have been a swimmer all my life. It is wonderful exercise which is not only aerobic, but also involves almost all of your muscles without stressing joints, muscles and ligaments. I think it is especially good for people with PF who need to stay off their feet, but still need to exercise. I have a short leg cast for the next couple of weeks and I still manage to swim with a waterproof cast cover. If you swim, I recommend a pool at a spa where one end is not too deep. The easiest way to get out without using your feet is to back up to the edge in the shallowest part and raise yourself up until you are sitting on the edge with your feet in the water. Then you can swing around and put on your shoes/sandals before you stand up.

Regarding cortisone, I have had two shots, one of which gave relief from pain for a week at most. The second was less effective.
I haven't heard anyone on this message board who has had much better results. The risks of damaging your plantar fascia seem to far outweigh any benefits of cortisone shots. I wouldn't have them again!

You sound like you are being very methodical. I hope you find the solution to getting relief from PF. I am trying a cast now which slightly stretches my plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. It's still to early to tell what the results will be, but after two days my pain is almost all gone even though I walked for about 15 minutes this afternoon.



Re: Some improvement/What I think is helping

Beverly on 4/30/00 at 22:26 (019690)

Steve-

Stretching was a great delimma for me. My PT said to stretch, and so I did for a few weeks - diligently. At first I felt better, but then I relapsed bigtime. (But the weekend I relapsed I also went to the mall.)

My doctor was convinced over stretching had led to my problem - the relapse. He thinks in the acute stage, while in pain one should not stretch.

My PT did not agree. I was torn on what to do.

I posted a request on stretching vs. not stretching here on the board.
I concluded that there are two camps: the stretchers and the nonstretchers. But everyone stressed the importance of rest and easing into stretching gently.

I decided that until I saw my doctor again (about three week's time), I would not stretch and see how I did. As I said, I feel better, but from reading my earlier post above, you'll see I did a number of different things.

I see my doctor this week, and I am going to ask him if it is time to start easing into stretching.

So, I believe this is a very individual, touch and go type of decision.
My PT did say the most gentle stretches are the 'picking up marbles with your toes and dropping them in a bowl' stretch and lightly flex the foot back and holding it, and then also the stretching where you pull your foot or toe back (some use a towel to pull foot back).

I wish you well. There are people here with much experience on this. If you do a search on the word 'stretch' you will have a great deal of reading material.

Good luck,

Beverly


Re: Idea for swimming

Jill P on 4/30/00 at 23:17 (019692)

Beverly, if you decide to swim, go get a cheap pair of swim shoes (sometimes called beach socks) at Target, Walmart, or another discount store. I cannot swim for excercise because of my left arm/left side nerve pain, but I take my son for weekly swim lessons where I am in the water holding him (33lbs) and such. We both have the swim shoes (about $6) so that we are not at risk for catching plantar warts in the locker room or showers. Also because they are quite cushiony, and I couldn't stand on the pool for a half hour (especially holding him) with the PF. You just leave them on and believe it or not, you really wont notice much that you are wearing them when you swim (at least I haven't on occaisions when I used to swim with them).

As far as the only going barefoot in the shower, I am doing that too and although sick of always wearing shoes, it really does seem to help and I really pay for it if I go barefoot even for 10 mins. I am hurting so much in the shower that I don't even enjoy it and want to get out and back into shoes. I am going to buy a pair of cushiony 'flip flops' next time I am at Target just to wear in the shower and I'll let you know how that works,lol! Good luck with the swimming if you try it! Jill P


Re: cortisone shots

BJC on 5/01/00 at 18:36 (019733)

I originally had 2 shots in my right foot - no change. After desperation set in I had a shot in my left foot. Combined with rest, the left foot improved dramatically, and after more than 3 months, is still not nearly as painful as it was, and my activity level is way up. I guess you never know what will work, or when.

Re: Oh no! More confusion

ChrisO on 5/01/00 at 18:52 (019736)

Beverly - thanks so much for some more good ideas about stretching vs. not. You're right, most of us have learned that stretching an inflamed, painful tendon is probably not wise but to begin to gently stretch it once the serious pain subsides should be good.

I'm a little confused about the marble thing. I''ve done that too but I understand that it's for strengthening, not stretching. I did it successfully for about 3 weeks then relapsed. My Chiro says it was because I was working the inflamed muscle and causing it more pain. Now I'm causing myself more confusion!


Re: cortisone shots

Sheri on 5/01/00 at 22:43 (019751)

I want to add my two cents in here...there has never been anything as painful to me is the 4 cortisone treatments I had in both of my feet...I was willing for the first couple of treatments...(willing to try ANYTHING)...then they would tape up my feet...the only results I got was a reaction to the tape...really bad one...then a fungal infection from the other tape...and the texture of my feet is like leather now, instead of the soft feminine feel!

The whole experience was very disappointing to me...still looking for something to work...am very depressed that I can hardly walk without pain...I am only 38 yrs old!

Thanks for listening...

Sheri


Re: Oh no! More confusion

Beverly on 5/02/00 at 23:13 (019799)

Chris,

My doctor, who I saw today, says he likes taking a towel laid flat on the floor and slowly scruntching it towards you with your toes better than the marble thing. I have not tried it yet. I tend to agree with Robin that less is better. I am going to try it soon.

Beverly

It is confusing. I stay confused most of the time. This is definitely a 'listen to your own body' type of illness.


Re: Some improvement/What I think is helping

Nancy S. on 4/30/00 at 15:40 (019655)

Beverly, I'm so glad you're feeling improvement. It's obvious from your post that you're working really hard at taking care of your feet, and that's just great. Regarding your swimming question, I have found swimming to be extremely therapeutic for my feet. I started in February and was going 3 times a week, for about an hour each time; now I've become a bit of a slacker and have to get back to going that often. I'm not athletic about the swimming, just do sidestrokes and breaststrokes and a little freestyle and keep moving. For me it seems strengthening to my feet, increases flexibility, gets the blood circulating not only in the feet but everywhere, and it's the only aerobic exercise I can get now -- it reminds me what real breathing feels like. In sum, I think it's wonderful and highly recommend it. --Nancy
P.S. Oh Beverly . . . if you swim, be sure to wear some plastic or rubber sandals right up to the edge of the pool, and step into them when you get out. I bet you're shocked that I brought this up, aren't you?

Re: Some improvement/What I think is helping

Melody on 4/30/00 at 16:16 (019656)

Beverly,

It is so lovely to hear that you are improving!

I would agree with Nancy about swimming. I swam everyday last week - at a holiday camp with my nieces - not through choice!! I found the actual swimming was fine, but getting in and out of the pool made me want to cry. We were at a beach pool where the shallow end is graduated so you have to walk in the water to get out. It hurt soooooo much:( I don't know whether stepping out via a ladder would be easier but it is something worth considering if and when you do go swimming.

The breaking with the heel of your foot sounds and interesting concept! I bought an automatic car 2 weeks ago. I needed to change mione because I can only use one hand. I thought it would make my foot a lot more comfortable too not having to use it for the clutch. It doesn't though! I have yet to find a comfortable way of positioning my foot while I am driving. And the way I find best obviously isn;t doing it any good becasue I can barely put it to the ground when I get out of the car!

I hope you continue to get better.

Well done and good luck

Mel


Re: Some improvement/What I think is helping

Steve P on 4/30/00 at 19:25 (019668)

Beverly --- Great post! Thanks a lot.
I'm just about where you are in terms of length of time with PF (2 months) & treatment program. I'm doing PT (ultrasound, electric stim, massage), ice 3-4 times/day, tennis ball massages 3-4 times/day, resting all I can, & I already have hard orthotics due to an earlier knee problem.
The one difference between your program & mine is stretching. My PT has me doing the wall lean & other stretches now, despite the fact that I haven't improved yet. I wonder if such stretching is premature & could possibly be nullifying all the good things (essentially your list) that I'm otherwise doing. I think, based on your message, that I'm going to back off on stretching until I get some improvement.
Thanks again for your helpful thoughts.
Steve P

Re: Some improvement/What I think is helping

FWS on 4/30/00 at 20:18 (019675)

I'm only going to address swimming and cortisone.

I highly recommend swimming. I was raised on an island and have been a swimmer all my life. It is wonderful exercise which is not only aerobic, but also involves almost all of your muscles without stressing joints, muscles and ligaments. I think it is especially good for people with PF who need to stay off their feet, but still need to exercise. I have a short leg cast for the next couple of weeks and I still manage to swim with a waterproof cast cover. If you swim, I recommend a pool at a spa where one end is not too deep. The easiest way to get out without using your feet is to back up to the edge in the shallowest part and raise yourself up until you are sitting on the edge with your feet in the water. Then you can swing around and put on your shoes/sandals before you stand up.

Regarding cortisone, I have had two shots, one of which gave relief from pain for a week at most. The second was less effective.
I haven't heard anyone on this message board who has had much better results. The risks of damaging your plantar fascia seem to far outweigh any benefits of cortisone shots. I wouldn't have them again!

You sound like you are being very methodical. I hope you find the solution to getting relief from PF. I am trying a cast now which slightly stretches my plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. It's still to early to tell what the results will be, but after two days my pain is almost all gone even though I walked for about 15 minutes this afternoon.



Re: Some improvement/What I think is helping

Beverly on 4/30/00 at 22:26 (019690)

Steve-

Stretching was a great delimma for me. My PT said to stretch, and so I did for a few weeks - diligently. At first I felt better, but then I relapsed bigtime. (But the weekend I relapsed I also went to the mall.)

My doctor was convinced over stretching had led to my problem - the relapse. He thinks in the acute stage, while in pain one should not stretch.

My PT did not agree. I was torn on what to do.

I posted a request on stretching vs. not stretching here on the board.
I concluded that there are two camps: the stretchers and the nonstretchers. But everyone stressed the importance of rest and easing into stretching gently.

I decided that until I saw my doctor again (about three week's time), I would not stretch and see how I did. As I said, I feel better, but from reading my earlier post above, you'll see I did a number of different things.

I see my doctor this week, and I am going to ask him if it is time to start easing into stretching.

So, I believe this is a very individual, touch and go type of decision.
My PT did say the most gentle stretches are the 'picking up marbles with your toes and dropping them in a bowl' stretch and lightly flex the foot back and holding it, and then also the stretching where you pull your foot or toe back (some use a towel to pull foot back).

I wish you well. There are people here with much experience on this. If you do a search on the word 'stretch' you will have a great deal of reading material.

Good luck,

Beverly


Re: Idea for swimming

Jill P on 4/30/00 at 23:17 (019692)

Beverly, if you decide to swim, go get a cheap pair of swim shoes (sometimes called beach socks) at Target, Walmart, or another discount store. I cannot swim for excercise because of my left arm/left side nerve pain, but I take my son for weekly swim lessons where I am in the water holding him (33lbs) and such. We both have the swim shoes (about $6) so that we are not at risk for catching plantar warts in the locker room or showers. Also because they are quite cushiony, and I couldn't stand on the pool for a half hour (especially holding him) with the PF. You just leave them on and believe it or not, you really wont notice much that you are wearing them when you swim (at least I haven't on occaisions when I used to swim with them).

As far as the only going barefoot in the shower, I am doing that too and although sick of always wearing shoes, it really does seem to help and I really pay for it if I go barefoot even for 10 mins. I am hurting so much in the shower that I don't even enjoy it and want to get out and back into shoes. I am going to buy a pair of cushiony 'flip flops' next time I am at Target just to wear in the shower and I'll let you know how that works,lol! Good luck with the swimming if you try it! Jill P


Re: cortisone shots

BJC on 5/01/00 at 18:36 (019733)

I originally had 2 shots in my right foot - no change. After desperation set in I had a shot in my left foot. Combined with rest, the left foot improved dramatically, and after more than 3 months, is still not nearly as painful as it was, and my activity level is way up. I guess you never know what will work, or when.

Re: Oh no! More confusion

ChrisO on 5/01/00 at 18:52 (019736)

Beverly - thanks so much for some more good ideas about stretching vs. not. You're right, most of us have learned that stretching an inflamed, painful tendon is probably not wise but to begin to gently stretch it once the serious pain subsides should be good.

I'm a little confused about the marble thing. I''ve done that too but I understand that it's for strengthening, not stretching. I did it successfully for about 3 weeks then relapsed. My Chiro says it was because I was working the inflamed muscle and causing it more pain. Now I'm causing myself more confusion!


Re: cortisone shots

Sheri on 5/01/00 at 22:43 (019751)

I want to add my two cents in here...there has never been anything as painful to me is the 4 cortisone treatments I had in both of my feet...I was willing for the first couple of treatments...(willing to try ANYTHING)...then they would tape up my feet...the only results I got was a reaction to the tape...really bad one...then a fungal infection from the other tape...and the texture of my feet is like leather now, instead of the soft feminine feel!

The whole experience was very disappointing to me...still looking for something to work...am very depressed that I can hardly walk without pain...I am only 38 yrs old!

Thanks for listening...

Sheri


Re: Oh no! More confusion

Beverly on 5/02/00 at 23:13 (019799)

Chris,

My doctor, who I saw today, says he likes taking a towel laid flat on the floor and slowly scruntching it towards you with your toes better than the marble thing. I have not tried it yet. I tend to agree with Robin that less is better. I am going to try it soon.

Beverly

It is confusing. I stay confused most of the time. This is definitely a 'listen to your own body' type of illness.