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Stretching Works

Posted by Linda M on 11/19/00 at 18:35 (033092)

After 6 months of stretching, I'm finally walking the dog again! I came to this web site in January 2000 hoping for some advice. In some ways I was terrified by what I read. People suffering and not getting better for months or years. In February 2000, I received a new 'softer' pair of orthotics from the 2nd doctor I'd seen for PF. The new orthotics didn't help. In April 2000, I met with Gregory Berlett, M.D. (doctor #3)in Columbus, Ohio. This doctor had the cure for me. Initially I tried Vioxx for the pain but it didn't work. Ibuprofen alleviated the pain but I had to take large doses = 600 mg. 3-4 times a day. I did that for 4-6 weeks. At the same time I was doing the stretches (I was taught by a physical therapist) for 10 minutes 3 times a day. Also, I wore the dreaded night splint every night from mid-April to early July. It worked! By August I was much improved. I still do my stretches every morning before breakfast. And I do mean every morning. I have only skipped one day and that was when I was home ill. I no longer wear any orthotics. Maybe someday I'll wear them again but not presently. For the record this condition presented itself in May 1999 when I was 46 years old. Stretching works. I'm walking proof.

Re: Stretching Works

Nancy S. on 11/19/00 at 21:40 (033105)

Linda, are your stretches nonweightbearing? Congratulations to you! (and your dog, too).
Nancy

Re: Stretching Works

Bob G. on 11/19/00 at 22:29 (033113)

Hello, LInda!

Congratulations on your success. Could you expand a little about what the good doctor did for you?

I, too, believe in stretching, but for some it does not help - unless understood and excercised (no pun intended) accordingly.

Go, Linda!

Re: Stretching Works - Encouraging words

Donna S. on 11/20/00 at 04:52 (033133)

Linda,
Congratulations. You sure give me a lot of hope.

Did you start to notice most of your improvement when you started wearing the night splints? I've had mild PF off and on for about two years, and it became very severe Feb 2000. I've also had soft orthotics made which have helped relieve the pain by about 75% most of the time when I wear them, but have not really cured the PF. I have rigid high arched feet, and supinate, and my doctor said he would eventually like me not to wear orthotics, but maybe just some wedging in a very cushioned flexible shoe.

I've been stretching all along. I restarted very aggressive PT about three weeks ago. At the same time I got the night splints, and started to feel the most improvement I've had in months, since I got PF. The PT on my calves along with the foot have helped tremendously, but I really think the night splints are causing 90% of the improvement. For the first time I can wear shoes for a couple of hours without my orthotics after wearing the splints the night before, (only tried no orthotics while at home), and I think I'm cured, but if I fall asleelp without wearing the splints, I feel the pain coming back (although it hasn't been as severe as before). I think everything tightens up again. I have pain in the back of my heels, along with arch pain. I also have peroneal tendonitis.

Are you at the point that if you don't wear the night splints that the PF pain is totally gone? Did your wean yourself off your orthotics slowly? Where was most of your pain? Also, was there anything else your doctor mentioned to do?

Thanks again for your encouraging words. Donna

Re: Stretching Works - Encouraging words

Marjorita on 11/24/00 at 09:52 (033388)

Hi everybody,

I've noticed the most improvement from using night splints. I think it takes doing several things at the same time, like stretching, icing, rest, antiinflammatories, and splints, and it's up to each individual to determine what works. Also, long overlooked by all the doctors I've seen is strengthening BOTH flexor and extensor muscles to keep the tightening and pulling of muscles in check. Often the imbalance of strength leads to pulling on the fascia and can irritate it.

I highly recommend the Personal Foot Trainer, noted on this site. Great improvment with slow, balanced strengthening.

Good luck everyone!

Re: Stretching Works

Linda M on 12/04/00 at 17:56 (034154)

Nancy, The exercises I do each morning are:

1. Gastroc Stretch = Keeping back leg straight, with heel on floor and turned slightly outward, lean into wall until stretch is felt in calf. Opposite leg is bent at knee. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. Switch legs, do the same stretch.

2. Soleus Stretch = Standing with both knees bent and involved foot back, gently lean into wall until stretch is feltin lower calf. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. Switch legs, do the same stretch.

3.Plantar Fascia Stretch = Standing with ball of foot on stair, reach for bottom step with heel until stretch is felt through the arch of the foot.
Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. Switch legs, do the same stretch.

4. Towel Calf Stretch = Sit with knee straight and towel looped around foot at the ball. Gently pull on towel until a comfortable stretch is felt in calf. Toes should bend slightly forward. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. Switch legs, do the same stretch.

5. With physical therapy tubing do the following a.)Resisted eversion b.)Resisted inversion c.)Resisted Plantar flexion d.) Resisted Dorsiflexion. This is a little hard to explain and you probably should have a physical therapist demonstrate it for you.

When I began these exercies I was doing them 3 times a day for 10 minutes each session.

Re: Stretching Works

Linda M on 12/04/00 at 17:58 (034155)

Bob, See the post I left for Nancy S. concerning description of exercises.

Re: Stretching Works - Encouraging words

Linda M on 12/04/00 at 18:11 (034156)

Donna, Dr. Berlett told me he thought my orthotics were too hard. I stopped using them in April. He said I may go back to them someday but not now (that was in August). I did use heel pads made out of gel for the first few months but I don't use them at all now. I haven't worn the night splint since July but I wore it religiously from mid-April to early July. It really does help. I have also found that I do much better in shoes that have heels. I had been wearing flats due to knee problems but now I feel better in shoes with 1/2' - 1' heels. I'm not 100% but at least I don't limp in the morning or need a cane to get around at night. I can hike 2 miles,walk the dog and go to the grocery. Those activities were impossible 9 months ago. Good luck!

Re: Stretching Works - Encouraging words

Julie F on 12/05/00 at 02:02 (034174)

Linda, I am so glad that stretching has worked for you and that you are better now. But I would like to say (again, sorry if you've heard this before, but there are always new readers) that the stretches you describe, which are the classic PF stretches, will not necessarily suit everybody, even though they tend to be advised by pods for everybody.

The stair stretch in particular can overstretch the achilles tendon - and as we know, many people should not do weight-bearing stretches at all. Once again, let me point out that every case of PF is different, and everyone afflicted with it needs to establish and follow the right treatment regime for them. Listen to your body is the bottom line, and if anything hurts, don't do it.

Note: to anyone who is doing the classic wall gastroc and soleus stretches - make sure you are not arching your lower back, putting pressure on the lumbar discs. Align your pelvis by keeping your tailbone tucked under so that your lower back feels lengthened, not compressed. Being out of alignment while doing any exercise can lead to problems elsewhere.

Julie

Re: Stretching Works

Nancy S. on 11/19/00 at 21:40 (033105)

Linda, are your stretches nonweightbearing? Congratulations to you! (and your dog, too).
Nancy

Re: Stretching Works

Bob G. on 11/19/00 at 22:29 (033113)

Hello, LInda!

Congratulations on your success. Could you expand a little about what the good doctor did for you?

I, too, believe in stretching, but for some it does not help - unless understood and excercised (no pun intended) accordingly.

Go, Linda!

Re: Stretching Works - Encouraging words

Donna S. on 11/20/00 at 04:52 (033133)

Linda,
Congratulations. You sure give me a lot of hope.

Did you start to notice most of your improvement when you started wearing the night splints? I've had mild PF off and on for about two years, and it became very severe Feb 2000. I've also had soft orthotics made which have helped relieve the pain by about 75% most of the time when I wear them, but have not really cured the PF. I have rigid high arched feet, and supinate, and my doctor said he would eventually like me not to wear orthotics, but maybe just some wedging in a very cushioned flexible shoe.

I've been stretching all along. I restarted very aggressive PT about three weeks ago. At the same time I got the night splints, and started to feel the most improvement I've had in months, since I got PF. The PT on my calves along with the foot have helped tremendously, but I really think the night splints are causing 90% of the improvement. For the first time I can wear shoes for a couple of hours without my orthotics after wearing the splints the night before, (only tried no orthotics while at home), and I think I'm cured, but if I fall asleelp without wearing the splints, I feel the pain coming back (although it hasn't been as severe as before). I think everything tightens up again. I have pain in the back of my heels, along with arch pain. I also have peroneal tendonitis.

Are you at the point that if you don't wear the night splints that the PF pain is totally gone? Did your wean yourself off your orthotics slowly? Where was most of your pain? Also, was there anything else your doctor mentioned to do?

Thanks again for your encouraging words. Donna

Re: Stretching Works - Encouraging words

Marjorita on 11/24/00 at 09:52 (033388)

Hi everybody,

I've noticed the most improvement from using night splints. I think it takes doing several things at the same time, like stretching, icing, rest, antiinflammatories, and splints, and it's up to each individual to determine what works. Also, long overlooked by all the doctors I've seen is strengthening BOTH flexor and extensor muscles to keep the tightening and pulling of muscles in check. Often the imbalance of strength leads to pulling on the fascia and can irritate it.

I highly recommend the Personal Foot Trainer, noted on this site. Great improvment with slow, balanced strengthening.

Good luck everyone!

Re: Stretching Works

Linda M on 12/04/00 at 17:56 (034154)

Nancy, The exercises I do each morning are:

1. Gastroc Stretch = Keeping back leg straight, with heel on floor and turned slightly outward, lean into wall until stretch is felt in calf. Opposite leg is bent at knee. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. Switch legs, do the same stretch.

2. Soleus Stretch = Standing with both knees bent and involved foot back, gently lean into wall until stretch is feltin lower calf. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. Switch legs, do the same stretch.

3.Plantar Fascia Stretch = Standing with ball of foot on stair, reach for bottom step with heel until stretch is felt through the arch of the foot.
Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. Switch legs, do the same stretch.

4. Towel Calf Stretch = Sit with knee straight and towel looped around foot at the ball. Gently pull on towel until a comfortable stretch is felt in calf. Toes should bend slightly forward. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. Switch legs, do the same stretch.

5. With physical therapy tubing do the following a.)Resisted eversion b.)Resisted inversion c.)Resisted Plantar flexion d.) Resisted Dorsiflexion. This is a little hard to explain and you probably should have a physical therapist demonstrate it for you.

When I began these exercies I was doing them 3 times a day for 10 minutes each session.

Re: Stretching Works

Linda M on 12/04/00 at 17:58 (034155)

Bob, See the post I left for Nancy S. concerning description of exercises.

Re: Stretching Works - Encouraging words

Linda M on 12/04/00 at 18:11 (034156)

Donna, Dr. Berlett told me he thought my orthotics were too hard. I stopped using them in April. He said I may go back to them someday but not now (that was in August). I did use heel pads made out of gel for the first few months but I don't use them at all now. I haven't worn the night splint since July but I wore it religiously from mid-April to early July. It really does help. I have also found that I do much better in shoes that have heels. I had been wearing flats due to knee problems but now I feel better in shoes with 1/2' - 1' heels. I'm not 100% but at least I don't limp in the morning or need a cane to get around at night. I can hike 2 miles,walk the dog and go to the grocery. Those activities were impossible 9 months ago. Good luck!

Re: Stretching Works - Encouraging words

Julie F on 12/05/00 at 02:02 (034174)

Linda, I am so glad that stretching has worked for you and that you are better now. But I would like to say (again, sorry if you've heard this before, but there are always new readers) that the stretches you describe, which are the classic PF stretches, will not necessarily suit everybody, even though they tend to be advised by pods for everybody.

The stair stretch in particular can overstretch the achilles tendon - and as we know, many people should not do weight-bearing stretches at all. Once again, let me point out that every case of PF is different, and everyone afflicted with it needs to establish and follow the right treatment regime for them. Listen to your body is the bottom line, and if anything hurts, don't do it.

Note: to anyone who is doing the classic wall gastroc and soleus stretches - make sure you are not arching your lower back, putting pressure on the lumbar discs. Align your pelvis by keeping your tailbone tucked under so that your lower back feels lengthened, not compressed. Being out of alignment while doing any exercise can lead to problems elsewhere.

Julie