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Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Posted by Nancy S. on 5/05/00 at 12:56 (019907)

A little report on my 6 days of no orthotics, just good hiking boots (and Birks in a.m. and evening): The first four days were better days than I've had in the whole last year. Day 5 yesterday I did have some pain in heel and arch, and realized what I probably overdid on the fourth day -- after Beverly posted today that she can usually find the reason for a bad day by examining what she did the day before. Today, after mostly resting it yesterday, is another good day, and I'm able to be somewhat active and walk around without any pain. I mean I'm not walking for blocks or taking a hike or anything, but just to move around and do a few normal things is such a feeling of freedom!

QUESTION: I know I've asked this here and there lately, but sometimes I do have this tightness in the achilles tendon, and it worries me. Does anyone know what to do about this? I'm afraid to stretch my calf or anything right now. If anyone has had this and knows whether to stretch or what else to do for it, I would appreciate any advice. Thanks--Nancy


Re: Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Susan S on 5/05/00 at 13:42 (019910)

This is a constant for me. I stretch it out and have been successful getting relief with that. Good Luck!

Re: Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Nancy S. on 5/05/00 at 14:07 (019913)

Thank you, Susan. And I do hope you get through this hard time you're having and find some relief from the doctor next week. I do know how very frustrating it is, and I hope your family will wait on you all weekend! Take care --Nancy

Re: Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Chuck C. on 5/05/00 at 19:56 (019923)

Nancy, my achilles tendon also gets tight. It seems as though it gets that way when I overdo it with my foot. For instance, the last couple of days I have had to drive a car with a manual transmission. I have PF in my left foot. I have found that the pressing in on the clutch--no matter if I am wearing rigid shoes with orthodics, combat boots, or anything--reinjures my heel and causes the tightness.

I am now back to using a car with automatic transmission but am doing plenty of wall pushups--the exercise where you stretch your calf by having one foot forward and leaning forward against a wall-- to clear up the tightness. Usually that exercise loosens the achilles after a couple of days.


Re: Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Lori R. on 5/05/00 at 20:50 (019926)

I gently massage my calf muscle before I stretch. I pretend that my leg is like dough and I am needing it. I am an OT and I have taken numerous myofascial courses and that is what you do.

Re: Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Bob G. on 5/05/00 at 23:50 (019931)

A hot bath and then gentle stretch.

Re: Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Beverly on 5/06/00 at 01:19 (019932)

Nancy, I get the Achilles thing in my right foot. I'm still so new at this, but my foot doctor says don't stretch. I'm still following his advice.

My internist, who I saw today for my elbow, says the stretch vs. don't stretch in PF is a generational thing among doctors. He says the older generation is more in the 'don't stretch' until pain-free camp. The younger doctors are more aggressive about stretching. My internist is young. My foot doctor is older.

I wish I could be more help. It is a delimma. So far, I like: rest, rest, and more rest. Good shoes. Ice followed by a hot bath, and I used the massage ball alot.

By the way, I asked about cowboy boots. My pod loves them. He says, you don't have to put orthodics in them. I wonder if that could be similiar to your hiking boots. I'm talking about a riding heel. It's about 2 inches... maybe a little more.

He also said that it is important to stay consistant with heel height.
My athletic shoes are about 2 inches; so my sandals also need to be about 2 inches. Obviously, that won't work for pool and bathtub shoes, but as much as possible, he says stay consistant. Has anyone else heard that?

Beverly


Re: exercises

alan k on 5/06/00 at 09:00 (019937)

I do what Lori R does, and wiggle the achilles in the way I said before. Plus inversion/eversion strengthening is good.
Put some books in a bag with loop handles, lay on your side on an elevated platform (table, or two chairs, etc.). Loop bag around top foot, then lift it up and down. Loop around bottom foot and do the same. Turn over and do the other side (of each foot).

Recent posts and my suspicions seem to indicate that long term pf leads to muscle changes in the foot and ankle due to atrophy and altered or unnatural use. Inversion/eversion does not stress the achilles and gives strength to other areas of the foot, and so is perfectly safe and may take stress off the achilles.


alan k



Re: Thank you very much

Nancy S. on 5/06/00 at 13:37 (019942)

Thank you for all your help Beverly, Bob, Alan, Lori R, Chuck, and Susan -- I really need some info. and appreciate your responses. You have helped me make a plan to attack the achilles problem.
I will continue the wiggling of the tendon, do more massage of that and calves, and begin tonight the inversion/eversion strengthening exercise, which sounds like just what I need. Then when I feel ready, probably shortly, I will start up the no-hold calf stretches again -- always making sure I've applied heat before doing any of this. (Usually I find myself trying to cut corners, but this is no time to do that, you've convinced me!)
And Chuck, you brought up something relevant to me soon: my husband is driving to Michigan to help his dad, and he's taking my automatic van, leaving me with his clutch pickup truck. I was thinking I would 'try' not to drive it much, but you are right. It's no good. I will not drive it at all, and find friends to drive me for necessities instead.
You're all great, with much appreciation, from Nancy

Re: exercises

Nancy S. on 5/06/00 at 13:53 (019943)

Hi Alan -- I think you're absolutely right, that long-term PF leads to muscle changes in foot and ankle. As you know, I've certainly noticed this since trying to return to normal walking following lengthy rest -- oddball pains and tightness that I didn't have before. (Going orthoticless in hiking boots affects most of them for the better, I'm finding.) But I'm really not surprised at these aftereffects of limping for a long time, using a cane for a long time, etc. And they do seem overcomeable. (I do believe I'm making up several words new to the language here.)
What do you think of Beverly's dr's concern that heel height should stay the same re: shoes? (Beverly, this is for you too.) I think it might be wise in the early stage, such as Beverly is. But when one is further along on the recovery road, it seems like providing the foot some opportunity for flexibility by alternating shoes is a good path. I still find that although I need the hiking boots to work in, Birks, which are lower-heeled, are good for puttering (as you say) and for a.m. and p.m. alternative for feet. I don't feel the achilles tightness much when in my hiking shoes, more in the Birks -- but it doesn't seem like a good idea to let it stay tight and maybe not notice that when in the hikers. It seems better to be aware of it when in something like Birks, and then address it.
I, like Laurie, would like to know how you are doing in recovering from Chicago, Alan. Thanks so much for your help. --Nancy

Re: exercises

john h on 5/07/00 at 09:49 (019967)

long term pf also leads to long term weight gain!!!!!!!!!

Re: exercises

Nancy S. on 5/07/00 at 10:00 (019969)

Yes, and long-term PF can also lead to daily fluctuating going-nuts levels!

Re: Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Susan S on 5/05/00 at 13:42 (019910)

This is a constant for me. I stretch it out and have been successful getting relief with that. Good Luck!

Re: Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Nancy S. on 5/05/00 at 14:07 (019913)

Thank you, Susan. And I do hope you get through this hard time you're having and find some relief from the doctor next week. I do know how very frustrating it is, and I hope your family will wait on you all weekend! Take care --Nancy

Re: Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Chuck C. on 5/05/00 at 19:56 (019923)

Nancy, my achilles tendon also gets tight. It seems as though it gets that way when I overdo it with my foot. For instance, the last couple of days I have had to drive a car with a manual transmission. I have PF in my left foot. I have found that the pressing in on the clutch--no matter if I am wearing rigid shoes with orthodics, combat boots, or anything--reinjures my heel and causes the tightness.

I am now back to using a car with automatic transmission but am doing plenty of wall pushups--the exercise where you stretch your calf by having one foot forward and leaning forward against a wall-- to clear up the tightness. Usually that exercise loosens the achilles after a couple of days.


Re: Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Lori R. on 5/05/00 at 20:50 (019926)

I gently massage my calf muscle before I stretch. I pretend that my leg is like dough and I am needing it. I am an OT and I have taken numerous myofascial courses and that is what you do.

Re: Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Bob G. on 5/05/00 at 23:50 (019931)

A hot bath and then gentle stretch.

Re: Day 6 without orthotics, and Question about tight achilles tendon

Beverly on 5/06/00 at 01:19 (019932)

Nancy, I get the Achilles thing in my right foot. I'm still so new at this, but my foot doctor says don't stretch. I'm still following his advice.

My internist, who I saw today for my elbow, says the stretch vs. don't stretch in PF is a generational thing among doctors. He says the older generation is more in the 'don't stretch' until pain-free camp. The younger doctors are more aggressive about stretching. My internist is young. My foot doctor is older.

I wish I could be more help. It is a delimma. So far, I like: rest, rest, and more rest. Good shoes. Ice followed by a hot bath, and I used the massage ball alot.

By the way, I asked about cowboy boots. My pod loves them. He says, you don't have to put orthodics in them. I wonder if that could be similiar to your hiking boots. I'm talking about a riding heel. It's about 2 inches... maybe a little more.

He also said that it is important to stay consistant with heel height.
My athletic shoes are about 2 inches; so my sandals also need to be about 2 inches. Obviously, that won't work for pool and bathtub shoes, but as much as possible, he says stay consistant. Has anyone else heard that?

Beverly


Re: exercises

alan k on 5/06/00 at 09:00 (019937)

I do what Lori R does, and wiggle the achilles in the way I said before. Plus inversion/eversion strengthening is good.
Put some books in a bag with loop handles, lay on your side on an elevated platform (table, or two chairs, etc.). Loop bag around top foot, then lift it up and down. Loop around bottom foot and do the same. Turn over and do the other side (of each foot).

Recent posts and my suspicions seem to indicate that long term pf leads to muscle changes in the foot and ankle due to atrophy and altered or unnatural use. Inversion/eversion does not stress the achilles and gives strength to other areas of the foot, and so is perfectly safe and may take stress off the achilles.


alan k



Re: Thank you very much

Nancy S. on 5/06/00 at 13:37 (019942)

Thank you for all your help Beverly, Bob, Alan, Lori R, Chuck, and Susan -- I really need some info. and appreciate your responses. You have helped me make a plan to attack the achilles problem.
I will continue the wiggling of the tendon, do more massage of that and calves, and begin tonight the inversion/eversion strengthening exercise, which sounds like just what I need. Then when I feel ready, probably shortly, I will start up the no-hold calf stretches again -- always making sure I've applied heat before doing any of this. (Usually I find myself trying to cut corners, but this is no time to do that, you've convinced me!)
And Chuck, you brought up something relevant to me soon: my husband is driving to Michigan to help his dad, and he's taking my automatic van, leaving me with his clutch pickup truck. I was thinking I would 'try' not to drive it much, but you are right. It's no good. I will not drive it at all, and find friends to drive me for necessities instead.
You're all great, with much appreciation, from Nancy

Re: exercises

Nancy S. on 5/06/00 at 13:53 (019943)

Hi Alan -- I think you're absolutely right, that long-term PF leads to muscle changes in foot and ankle. As you know, I've certainly noticed this since trying to return to normal walking following lengthy rest -- oddball pains and tightness that I didn't have before. (Going orthoticless in hiking boots affects most of them for the better, I'm finding.) But I'm really not surprised at these aftereffects of limping for a long time, using a cane for a long time, etc. And they do seem overcomeable. (I do believe I'm making up several words new to the language here.)
What do you think of Beverly's dr's concern that heel height should stay the same re: shoes? (Beverly, this is for you too.) I think it might be wise in the early stage, such as Beverly is. But when one is further along on the recovery road, it seems like providing the foot some opportunity for flexibility by alternating shoes is a good path. I still find that although I need the hiking boots to work in, Birks, which are lower-heeled, are good for puttering (as you say) and for a.m. and p.m. alternative for feet. I don't feel the achilles tightness much when in my hiking shoes, more in the Birks -- but it doesn't seem like a good idea to let it stay tight and maybe not notice that when in the hikers. It seems better to be aware of it when in something like Birks, and then address it.
I, like Laurie, would like to know how you are doing in recovering from Chicago, Alan. Thanks so much for your help. --Nancy

Re: exercises

john h on 5/07/00 at 09:49 (019967)

long term pf also leads to long term weight gain!!!!!!!!!

Re: exercises

Nancy S. on 5/07/00 at 10:00 (019969)

Yes, and long-term PF can also lead to daily fluctuating going-nuts levels!