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Going downhill

Posted by Julie on 12/18/00 at 10:56 (035143)

We live on a steep hill, and I've noticed that whenever I go down it to buy the paper or go to the station, my heel hurts a bit. Once I'm on the level again, or coming back up the hill, the pain goes. I've just come back to the house from getting the paper so it's on my mind.

I think I've worked out that it's because the heel lifts sooner when walking downhill, and the calf muscles contract: going uphill, they stretch. Has anyone else experienced this? If so, any theories?

Re: Going downhill

john h on 12/18/00 at 11:02 (035144)

going up and down hills stresses the fascia. bad bad bad! running up and down hill brought on my pf.

Re: Going downhill

Celia on 12/18/00 at 11:49 (035148)

YES! That's how I developed PF. When I used to work in Seattle, I had to run all the way downhill (very steep!) for about 10 minutes straight just so that I wouldn't miss the ferry. My feet would be red and swollen after that. Unfortunately I didn't know I was developing PF to seek medical treatment right away. Now, three years later, I'm still trying to fight the pain.

Re: Going downhill

Nancy S. on 12/19/00 at 00:27 (035170)

Julie, first of all, that subject heading made my heart sink! I was afraid you were truly going downhill! Actually, I guess this means I took it less literally than it was intended. Such are my own brave waves!
Today I had my last PT session, and she had me try hurrying up the stairs and then hurrying down the stairs. The only thing I could absorb at the time was total amazement that I could do these things at all. Then when I read your post, I thought back and remembered that it felt much better to hurry UP the stairs than it did down. The workout of the calves running up actually felt good. Of course, this is something I'll be graduating into very gradually and not do fifty times a day, but based on this little experience I would choose uphill over downhill. At this point, I wouldn't do either without my orthotics, I should mention.
Nancy

Re: Going downhill

Julie on 12/19/00 at 02:23 (035174)

Thank you, John and Celia and Nancy. When I first noticed the 'downhill twinge' I thought I might be imagining it; then I decided there was a reasonable explanation for it. It's good to have your confirmation.

I'm sorry I alarmed you, Nancy. Yes, the subject heading was meant literally, not metaphorically, but I can see how it might have been taken otherwise. No, I'm not going downhill. I guess I'd say I'm more or less on the level now, still 'restricted' in the sense that I wouldn't trust my foot to take me on an all-day hike in the mountains, but more or less ok with 'normal' activities (whatever that means) and only mild soreness occasionally. The insertion point is still tender when prodded. I'm still using tape and an ankle support. And intrasound-ing.

India will be a big test. But I've made up my mind not to fuss about it, enjoy myself, take ibuprofen if I need it, and if I do have a setback I'll just deal with it when I get back.

Running up and down the stairs! I love it. You really are getting better. When you say your 'last PT, does that mean forever, or just till after the holidays?

Julie

Re: Going downhill

Nancy S. on 12/19/00 at 09:03 (035182)

Yes, I mean I had my last PT appointment ForEver . . . she fired me, after almost 6 months of PT, said I'm definitely in the healing phase, said I will still have some painful days but 'You know what to do when that happens.' I do still have some painful days (mostly tendonitis pain, not PF) but bounce back from them in a day or two. Then I have some nearly pain-free days. I don't spend them on my feet constantly or anywhere near that; I'm building up time on my feet very slowly. But when I'm on them, I'm walking 'normally' -- no limping, no shuffling, no walking like a platypus. Yesterday at PT, besides stair hurrying, I did a short sprint down a long hall and walked on the treadmill for 12 minutes at almost 2 mph. She redid all my measurements for her final report: my left foot has now caught up to my right in dorsiflexion: 17 degrees. My left foot has gone from 2 degrees to 5, to 9, to 17.
I'm still totally amazed to be able to do this much.
I've decided I need to have the arch in my orthotics taken down just a bit. The appointment for that is this Friday.
Nancy

Re: Poor Julie!

Steve P on 12/19/00 at 09:35 (035185)

Yes, Nancy. I thought the same thing you did when I saw the subject line......'Poor Julie! She was doing SO well, and now she's suddenly going down hill!!!'

Re: Dorsiflexion

Julie on 12/19/00 at 09:48 (035187)

Congratulations Nancy - 17 degrees is terrific. I nominate you the Champion Dorsiflexor of the Board!

Re: (Not) poor Julie!

Julie on 12/19/00 at 09:50 (035188)

I am fine, Uncle Steve, not poor at all. Thank you for your concern!

Your Niece, Julie

Re: Congradulations, Nancy!

Nancy S. on 12/19/00 at 15:48 (035203)

Thanks Beverly. I think you're right that our cases are similar -- tendonitis on top of PF is a real double whammy (or in my case a quadruple whammy!). I forget when your PTT hit -- when was that? All mine came about around last April, and it's taken this long to get it under control. (That was month 11 of PF alone.)
It isn't gone yet, but clearly PT gradually brought a lot of the swelling and inflammation down, the Acu-Flex got me stretched and strengthened enough to begin working on my walking (and of course I still use it), and the new orthotics were the icing on the cake. That last jump in dorsiflexion in the left foot had to be due to walking correctly in the orthotics. It's only since I got them that I began to really use the muscles etc. in my feet when walking, and that's when the left foot went from 9 to 17.
Yes, for a long time I had a lot of trouble driving. I drive an automatic, but my left foot bothered me no matter what resting position I had it in; and the right ankle and achilles didn't like using the gas pedal. I don't have this problem much anymore. If I've been doing errands and reach the 'overdone' point and know I need to go home right this minute, my right foot will bother me some during the drive. But it's nothing like it was.
Do you have cruise control? I'm thinking of your trip back home, if you end up making it by yourself. Of course it's no good for meandering around town on errands, but for a longer trip it's been a huge help to me at times. Also, when we drove to Michigan, my PT emphasized to me that we should make frequent pit stops so I could walk around some and do some stretching. That helped a lot too. You might also want to stop and get your feet up and ice them along the way. I found this relieved the swelling that inevitably happened when my feet were down for so long without much movement or stretching.
Nancy

Re: Going downhill

john h on 12/18/00 at 11:02 (035144)

going up and down hills stresses the fascia. bad bad bad! running up and down hill brought on my pf.

Re: Going downhill

Celia on 12/18/00 at 11:49 (035148)

YES! That's how I developed PF. When I used to work in Seattle, I had to run all the way downhill (very steep!) for about 10 minutes straight just so that I wouldn't miss the ferry. My feet would be red and swollen after that. Unfortunately I didn't know I was developing PF to seek medical treatment right away. Now, three years later, I'm still trying to fight the pain.

Re: Going downhill

Nancy S. on 12/19/00 at 00:27 (035170)

Julie, first of all, that subject heading made my heart sink! I was afraid you were truly going downhill! Actually, I guess this means I took it less literally than it was intended. Such are my own brave waves!
Today I had my last PT session, and she had me try hurrying up the stairs and then hurrying down the stairs. The only thing I could absorb at the time was total amazement that I could do these things at all. Then when I read your post, I thought back and remembered that it felt much better to hurry UP the stairs than it did down. The workout of the calves running up actually felt good. Of course, this is something I'll be graduating into very gradually and not do fifty times a day, but based on this little experience I would choose uphill over downhill. At this point, I wouldn't do either without my orthotics, I should mention.
Nancy

Re: Going downhill

Julie on 12/19/00 at 02:23 (035174)

Thank you, John and Celia and Nancy. When I first noticed the 'downhill twinge' I thought I might be imagining it; then I decided there was a reasonable explanation for it. It's good to have your confirmation.

I'm sorry I alarmed you, Nancy. Yes, the subject heading was meant literally, not metaphorically, but I can see how it might have been taken otherwise. No, I'm not going downhill. I guess I'd say I'm more or less on the level now, still 'restricted' in the sense that I wouldn't trust my foot to take me on an all-day hike in the mountains, but more or less ok with 'normal' activities (whatever that means) and only mild soreness occasionally. The insertion point is still tender when prodded. I'm still using tape and an ankle support. And intrasound-ing.

India will be a big test. But I've made up my mind not to fuss about it, enjoy myself, take ibuprofen if I need it, and if I do have a setback I'll just deal with it when I get back.

Running up and down the stairs! I love it. You really are getting better. When you say your 'last PT, does that mean forever, or just till after the holidays?

Julie

Re: Going downhill

Nancy S. on 12/19/00 at 09:03 (035182)

Yes, I mean I had my last PT appointment ForEver . . . she fired me, after almost 6 months of PT, said I'm definitely in the healing phase, said I will still have some painful days but 'You know what to do when that happens.' I do still have some painful days (mostly tendonitis pain, not PF) but bounce back from them in a day or two. Then I have some nearly pain-free days. I don't spend them on my feet constantly or anywhere near that; I'm building up time on my feet very slowly. But when I'm on them, I'm walking 'normally' -- no limping, no shuffling, no walking like a platypus. Yesterday at PT, besides stair hurrying, I did a short sprint down a long hall and walked on the treadmill for 12 minutes at almost 2 mph. She redid all my measurements for her final report: my left foot has now caught up to my right in dorsiflexion: 17 degrees. My left foot has gone from 2 degrees to 5, to 9, to 17.
I'm still totally amazed to be able to do this much.
I've decided I need to have the arch in my orthotics taken down just a bit. The appointment for that is this Friday.
Nancy

Re: Poor Julie!

Steve P on 12/19/00 at 09:35 (035185)

Yes, Nancy. I thought the same thing you did when I saw the subject line......'Poor Julie! She was doing SO well, and now she's suddenly going down hill!!!'

Re: Dorsiflexion

Julie on 12/19/00 at 09:48 (035187)

Congratulations Nancy - 17 degrees is terrific. I nominate you the Champion Dorsiflexor of the Board!

Re: (Not) poor Julie!

Julie on 12/19/00 at 09:50 (035188)

I am fine, Uncle Steve, not poor at all. Thank you for your concern!

Your Niece, Julie

Re: Congradulations, Nancy!

Nancy S. on 12/19/00 at 15:48 (035203)

Thanks Beverly. I think you're right that our cases are similar -- tendonitis on top of PF is a real double whammy (or in my case a quadruple whammy!). I forget when your PTT hit -- when was that? All mine came about around last April, and it's taken this long to get it under control. (That was month 11 of PF alone.)
It isn't gone yet, but clearly PT gradually brought a lot of the swelling and inflammation down, the Acu-Flex got me stretched and strengthened enough to begin working on my walking (and of course I still use it), and the new orthotics were the icing on the cake. That last jump in dorsiflexion in the left foot had to be due to walking correctly in the orthotics. It's only since I got them that I began to really use the muscles etc. in my feet when walking, and that's when the left foot went from 9 to 17.
Yes, for a long time I had a lot of trouble driving. I drive an automatic, but my left foot bothered me no matter what resting position I had it in; and the right ankle and achilles didn't like using the gas pedal. I don't have this problem much anymore. If I've been doing errands and reach the 'overdone' point and know I need to go home right this minute, my right foot will bother me some during the drive. But it's nothing like it was.
Do you have cruise control? I'm thinking of your trip back home, if you end up making it by yourself. Of course it's no good for meandering around town on errands, but for a longer trip it's been a huge help to me at times. Also, when we drove to Michigan, my PT emphasized to me that we should make frequent pit stops so I could walk around some and do some stretching. That helped a lot too. You might also want to stop and get your feet up and ice them along the way. I found this relieved the swelling that inevitably happened when my feet were down for so long without much movement or stretching.
Nancy