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Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

Posted by Rock Cogar on 6/06/00 at 13:53 (021434)

I am an active ultrarunner/triathlete that has had a mild case of PF in my right foot and I wear orthotics.

I have very tight calves, so I like to stretch them to reduce problems in achilles and shins. By trail and error, I have determined that the activity that keeps reinjuring my PF is calf stretches ! Even gentle calf stretches will result in a return of that burning feeling in my PF. Strangely enough, I can run, bike and swim just fine in any amount (However, I can not run up hills without causing problems).

I am thinking about taking some old orthotics and building up the arches really high to use just for stretching the calves. Has anyone tried this kind of thing ?

Rock.
Tennessee.


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

Bob G. on 6/07/00 at 00:23 (021446)

Hi, Rock!

It's good to have your input. It does seem odd that you can run okay but not stretch okay. That you can even run on an injured PF is beyond my comprehension. Therefore, I would ask, 'Have you been diagnosed by a Doctor and know what the condition is and what caused or is causing it? For all I know it may or may not be PF.

FYI, I am recovering from PF and only PF.

Best wishes for a sound recovery! BG


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

Rock Cogar on 6/07/00 at 07:25 (021450)

Bob,

I am afraid that I really do have PF, it hurts where the PF attaches to the heel. I was injured on March 18 during a 53 mile trail race by running way too hard on the uphill sections. It is small compensation that I won the 50 person event because the price (PF) was too high.

Although I am 45 years old (5'11' 162 lbs), I have recovered quickly from many injuries during the last 8 years of racing triathlons and ultramarathons, but PF is very difficult to control. For me the top 3 actions that have caused PF healing setbacks are:

1. Calf Stretches (especially with bent knee)
2. Wall push-offs in the pool
3. Running up hills

Items 2 and 3 are easy to avoid. I now swim in a 100 meter pools so wall pushes are not important. As for hill running, I do not do it, instead I hike them.

PF re-injury from stretching calves is a major problem that I suspect effects many PF inflicted persons. As we all know, tight calves makes PF worse, but if you reinjure your PF when you stretch that too makes it worse. I believe that a professional quality PF tape job will allow you to stretch your calves all you want without PF re-injury, but who can do that every day ?

PROBLEM: I know that my orthotics in my running shoes cannot keep my arch curved enough to prevent PF re-injury during calf stretches.

SOLUTION: I cut a piece of hard rubber to double the arch height of my orthotics for stretching purposes only. I tried it out last night after an 86 minute session on the LifeCycle stationary bike (stretch warm!). It does not hurt this morning as is ususal on post stretch days.

I will post updates on solving this problem as I learn more.

Rock.


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

VickiJ on 6/07/00 at 15:09 (021461)

Have you talked with MikeW here on the board about the problem? He's the fellow who invented the Personal Foot Trainer. My calves and hamstrings are not nearly as tight as they used to be after using his pft for two months....and I know that tight hams and calves are directly related to my pain...also, Have you tried any of the non weight bearing stretches for the calves and hamstrings? A friend of mine who is a dance physiologist taught some to me via a seminar/book she went to...they are called 'Active Isolated Stretching' or something like that, and very different than any others I've ever been taught before. The web sites I've looked up aren't all that informative but I do believe I saw one site that actually demonstrated the stretches for the backs of the legs. I have found them to be quite remarkable and very similar to the action employed when using Mike's PFT.
Good luck, and be very careful 'running thru the pain'.

Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

Rock Cogar on 6/07/00 at 15:51 (021465)

VickiJ,

I have not talked with MikeW.

About non weight bearing stretches for the calves and hamstrings: When I try that approach bearfoot, I can see that my arch go tottaly flat, so I know that is a bad thing. I suppose I could try that method while wearing running shoes with orthotics?

About 'running thru the pain':

I have learned that PF is so tenacious that 'running thru the pain' is really dumb. I now swim more, bike more and run less (no running uphills!).

Why does it seem that there are so few runners/triathletes on the board these days as compared to a year or two ago ?

Rock.


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

VickiJ on 6/07/00 at 20:07 (021478)

Not sure what you mean when you say your arch goes totally flat when you try stretching while on the floor or whatever...but regarding the triathletes who aren't posting anymore...I hope it means they've healed and have no reason to come back here....but it could mean they just aren't posting.

Re: Bent Knee Stretches

Bob G. on 6/08/00 at 00:20 (021492)

Hi Rock,

Sorry, I am really at a loss. When I do bent knee I suffer no ill effects. I gain more from straight leg and that's where i push the envelope. I have no experience in taping, so I have no idea of what to suggest.

Vickie's post makes sense to me. She may know more about what you are going through.

Best wishes and keep us posted. Your situation is very interesting. BG


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

Rock Cogar on 6/08/00 at 07:57 (021499)

My arches, like those of many who post on this board go nearly flat when I put my weight on my feet when I stand without shoes/orthotics. So the simple act of standing is putting great stress on my PF (lengthens the distance between the ball of the foot and the heel - the BAD thing).

Now, If I try to strech the calves by pulling down on a towel across the bare foot while lying on my back, I can SEE that my arch go totally flat. Obviously this calf stretch is putting tremendous stress on my PF. This is, in my opinion the very worst thing I can do, much worse (pain - is the indicator) than even running a very slow 57 miles like I did last Saturday (Yes, I am taking this week off from running) !

Even if I wear running shoes with orthotics when doing any kind of calf stretch, I am rewarded with a burning PF the following day that lasts for 1-3 days (AsperCreme cools it down). Putting a hard rubber arch support on top of my orthotic (sort of a double height arch support) for stretching only, seems to greatly minimize the the burning PF on the day after.

Rock.


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

VickiJ on 6/08/00 at 13:07 (021522)

Hey RC,
If I understand correctly, you use the added arch padding only when you stretch? Sounds like a good idea...to keep the arch from collapsing,
I have the opposite problem...high arches...and I know it can't be helping things/anybody to have tight leg muscles.

Your added arch cushioning may work perfectly for you and I'm interested in hearing how it progresses, but have you ever consulted with a sports clinic/doctor/physical therapist about stretches you could do that would not put added stress on the plantar? I'm NOT a sales person for MikeW but he has been tremendously helpful (of course he doesn't even attempt to diagnose over the net) with my questions.

A PT or even a good athletic trainer at a sports club may have stretches we haven't heard about.

keep us up to date on how your arch padding works out.

thanks
vick



Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

Chuck C on 6/09/00 at 09:36 (021568)

Hello Rock,

I also run, suffer from PF and got it because of fallen arches. My PF happened in January 98. By Sept 98 I could run again with little pain with my custom orthodics. I have tried to incorporate hills into my training a couple of times and have had the same result as you. Several months ago, after my last attempt, I decided that I would not try hills until the PF was totally gone. I could do intervals around a track and do those instead. I think I could probably do lesser inclined slopes now, but I do not want to be setback for a week or two.

Regarding the calf stretches: I have talked to probably 20 runners who have had PF. Most did not get custom orthodics and have had it several times. Most say they did not do any calf stretches until they were healed. They believe that it does more harm than good.

Regarding running with PF: Most runners that I have spoken with say they kept running unless the pain was unbearable. They used tape or some form of arch support. They say that it did not seem to make any difference in the time required to get over it.

I know that I will never get over my 'falling arches problem' and will always have to wear custom orthodics when I run--if for no other reason than to prevent my PF from reoccurring. My goal is to be able to run the important shorter races without the orthodics.

Hope this helps. Good luck.


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

scott r on 6/09/00 at 11:10 (021578)

Here's an interesting email I received this morning:

I contracted PF while training for a marathon and suffered from it for
about 2.5 years, trying EVERYTHING short of surgery. The only thing that helped lessen the pain was glucosamine sulfate. Finally, I found a book that urged stretching -- EVEN IF IT HURTS. This was contrary to some of the advice from the FIVE specialists I had seen over the years... but this has been the key. I am running again (albeit only a few miles) and stretch as often as possible. Please spread my message. Perhaps I can save others time, aggravation and money.


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

Bob G. on 6/07/00 at 00:23 (021446)

Hi, Rock!

It's good to have your input. It does seem odd that you can run okay but not stretch okay. That you can even run on an injured PF is beyond my comprehension. Therefore, I would ask, 'Have you been diagnosed by a Doctor and know what the condition is and what caused or is causing it? For all I know it may or may not be PF.

FYI, I am recovering from PF and only PF.

Best wishes for a sound recovery! BG


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

Rock Cogar on 6/07/00 at 07:25 (021450)

Bob,

I am afraid that I really do have PF, it hurts where the PF attaches to the heel. I was injured on March 18 during a 53 mile trail race by running way too hard on the uphill sections. It is small compensation that I won the 50 person event because the price (PF) was too high.

Although I am 45 years old (5'11' 162 lbs), I have recovered quickly from many injuries during the last 8 years of racing triathlons and ultramarathons, but PF is very difficult to control. For me the top 3 actions that have caused PF healing setbacks are:

1. Calf Stretches (especially with bent knee)
2. Wall push-offs in the pool
3. Running up hills

Items 2 and 3 are easy to avoid. I now swim in a 100 meter pools so wall pushes are not important. As for hill running, I do not do it, instead I hike them.

PF re-injury from stretching calves is a major problem that I suspect effects many PF inflicted persons. As we all know, tight calves makes PF worse, but if you reinjure your PF when you stretch that too makes it worse. I believe that a professional quality PF tape job will allow you to stretch your calves all you want without PF re-injury, but who can do that every day ?

PROBLEM: I know that my orthotics in my running shoes cannot keep my arch curved enough to prevent PF re-injury during calf stretches.

SOLUTION: I cut a piece of hard rubber to double the arch height of my orthotics for stretching purposes only. I tried it out last night after an 86 minute session on the LifeCycle stationary bike (stretch warm!). It does not hurt this morning as is ususal on post stretch days.

I will post updates on solving this problem as I learn more.

Rock.


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

VickiJ on 6/07/00 at 15:09 (021461)

Have you talked with MikeW here on the board about the problem? He's the fellow who invented the Personal Foot Trainer. My calves and hamstrings are not nearly as tight as they used to be after using his pft for two months....and I know that tight hams and calves are directly related to my pain...also, Have you tried any of the non weight bearing stretches for the calves and hamstrings? A friend of mine who is a dance physiologist taught some to me via a seminar/book she went to...they are called 'Active Isolated Stretching' or something like that, and very different than any others I've ever been taught before. The web sites I've looked up aren't all that informative but I do believe I saw one site that actually demonstrated the stretches for the backs of the legs. I have found them to be quite remarkable and very similar to the action employed when using Mike's PFT.
Good luck, and be very careful 'running thru the pain'.

Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

Rock Cogar on 6/07/00 at 15:51 (021465)

VickiJ,

I have not talked with MikeW.

About non weight bearing stretches for the calves and hamstrings: When I try that approach bearfoot, I can see that my arch go tottaly flat, so I know that is a bad thing. I suppose I could try that method while wearing running shoes with orthotics?

About 'running thru the pain':

I have learned that PF is so tenacious that 'running thru the pain' is really dumb. I now swim more, bike more and run less (no running uphills!).

Why does it seem that there are so few runners/triathletes on the board these days as compared to a year or two ago ?

Rock.


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

VickiJ on 6/07/00 at 20:07 (021478)

Not sure what you mean when you say your arch goes totally flat when you try stretching while on the floor or whatever...but regarding the triathletes who aren't posting anymore...I hope it means they've healed and have no reason to come back here....but it could mean they just aren't posting.

Re: Bent Knee Stretches

Bob G. on 6/08/00 at 00:20 (021492)

Hi Rock,

Sorry, I am really at a loss. When I do bent knee I suffer no ill effects. I gain more from straight leg and that's where i push the envelope. I have no experience in taping, so I have no idea of what to suggest.

Vickie's post makes sense to me. She may know more about what you are going through.

Best wishes and keep us posted. Your situation is very interesting. BG


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

Rock Cogar on 6/08/00 at 07:57 (021499)

My arches, like those of many who post on this board go nearly flat when I put my weight on my feet when I stand without shoes/orthotics. So the simple act of standing is putting great stress on my PF (lengthens the distance between the ball of the foot and the heel - the BAD thing).

Now, If I try to strech the calves by pulling down on a towel across the bare foot while lying on my back, I can SEE that my arch go totally flat. Obviously this calf stretch is putting tremendous stress on my PF. This is, in my opinion the very worst thing I can do, much worse (pain - is the indicator) than even running a very slow 57 miles like I did last Saturday (Yes, I am taking this week off from running) !

Even if I wear running shoes with orthotics when doing any kind of calf stretch, I am rewarded with a burning PF the following day that lasts for 1-3 days (AsperCreme cools it down). Putting a hard rubber arch support on top of my orthotic (sort of a double height arch support) for stretching only, seems to greatly minimize the the burning PF on the day after.

Rock.


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

VickiJ on 6/08/00 at 13:07 (021522)

Hey RC,
If I understand correctly, you use the added arch padding only when you stretch? Sounds like a good idea...to keep the arch from collapsing,
I have the opposite problem...high arches...and I know it can't be helping things/anybody to have tight leg muscles.

Your added arch cushioning may work perfectly for you and I'm interested in hearing how it progresses, but have you ever consulted with a sports clinic/doctor/physical therapist about stretches you could do that would not put added stress on the plantar? I'm NOT a sales person for MikeW but he has been tremendously helpful (of course he doesn't even attempt to diagnose over the net) with my questions.

A PT or even a good athletic trainer at a sports club may have stretches we haven't heard about.

keep us up to date on how your arch padding works out.

thanks
vick



Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

Chuck C on 6/09/00 at 09:36 (021568)

Hello Rock,

I also run, suffer from PF and got it because of fallen arches. My PF happened in January 98. By Sept 98 I could run again with little pain with my custom orthodics. I have tried to incorporate hills into my training a couple of times and have had the same result as you. Several months ago, after my last attempt, I decided that I would not try hills until the PF was totally gone. I could do intervals around a track and do those instead. I think I could probably do lesser inclined slopes now, but I do not want to be setback for a week or two.

Regarding the calf stretches: I have talked to probably 20 runners who have had PF. Most did not get custom orthodics and have had it several times. Most say they did not do any calf stretches until they were healed. They believe that it does more harm than good.

Regarding running with PF: Most runners that I have spoken with say they kept running unless the pain was unbearable. They used tape or some form of arch support. They say that it did not seem to make any difference in the time required to get over it.

I know that I will never get over my 'falling arches problem' and will always have to wear custom orthodics when I run--if for no other reason than to prevent my PF from reoccurring. My goal is to be able to run the important shorter races without the orthodics.

Hope this helps. Good luck.


Re: Calf Stretches seem to be the worse thing for my PF

scott r on 6/09/00 at 11:10 (021578)

Here's an interesting email I received this morning:

I contracted PF while training for a marathon and suffered from it for
about 2.5 years, trying EVERYTHING short of surgery. The only thing that helped lessen the pain was glucosamine sulfate. Finally, I found a book that urged stretching -- EVEN IF IT HURTS. This was contrary to some of the advice from the FIVE specialists I had seen over the years... but this has been the key. I am running again (albeit only a few miles) and stretch as often as possible. Please spread my message. Perhaps I can save others time, aggravation and money.