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READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

Posted by B.Rowntree on 6/03/01 at hrmin (049730)

To those who have plantars faclitis, I cannot emphasize enough, STRETCH, STRETCH, STRETCH, then, ICE, ICE, ICE (I did it 3 or 4 times a day).

The secret is to hold the stretches for at least 2 min., the one where you stand with your hands on a wall, lean forward with one foot forward, then bend your knee slightly (you'll feel the stretch in the back of your ankle). Hold that one for at least 5 min. It's hard to do, but work up to it if necessary. Don't despair, it took me 4 weeks to go from a 10 in pain to about a 4 now. before, I could not stand without sever pain. now I can stand for hours. Let me just say, I no longer would opt for surgery.

Re: READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

Nancy N on 6/03/01 at 08:27 (049734)

Please do remember that a lot of us here have found that weight-bearing stretches, which are so easy to do incorrectly, will only aggravate the problem, or at minimum make it no better. If you feel any pain while doing one of these stretches, please explore options for non weight-bearing stretches (which can be done using the Acu-Flex, the PFT, or even a towel or belt if you have good instructions for them). Do not do anything that causes pain in the foot, or you will only be prolonging your agony.

Re: My experience was just the opposite. WEIGHT-BEARING STRETCHES aggravated my PF & set me back

Steve P on 6/03/01 at 09:19 (049740)

We appreciate the advice, but if you have been on this board a while you know that each case is unique & there is no single treatment that is equally effective for all.

My physical therapist advocated the wall stretch & it turned out to be the worst possible thing for me! Only when I stopped doing it did I begin to stabilize & to improve. So it is not something that works for everyone.

Re: Stretching

Julie on 6/03/01 at 10:01 (049745)

Hello

I understand your being enthusiastic about something you feel has helped you, but please try to understand that there are people here who are so desperate for help that they will follow any advice, given by anyone. The fact is that the stretch you describe is not right for everyone: I believe that it is not right for most people, even if done correctly, as it is almost certain to irritate not only the weak spot where the fascia connects with the heelbone, but also the Achilles Tendon.

If this stretch has helped you, I'm glad for you, but I think you are probably an exception. In fact, I think you're lucky to have got away with it. You say it's 'hard to do' (hold the stretch for 5 minutes) by which I assume you mean that it has been painful for you. That being the case, I'm somewhat inclined to suspect it's possible that you've improved despite, not because of the stretch.

As Steve says, no one treatment is right for everyone.

Re: READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

JudyS on 6/03/01 at 11:04 (049748)

Your stretching observation is an interesting one here, but, believe it or not, it's contrary to what most of the (newly afflicted to chronic) sufferers here have experienced. Personally, I found that when I (finally) set out to design myself a solid program for healing, including stretching, I only got worse. As we all began to talk about stretching here, we soon found that, as we stretched per our professional's advice, we got worse. We theorized then that those advised stretches were just too much for already-inflamed tendons. It's interesting that you've found relief from very agressive stretching and I wonder to what degree you had the PF to begin with. Last, many of us learned to 'stretch', not for stretching's sake, but for keeping the lower legs, ankles and feet loose to avoid more scar tissue or shortening of tendons during the healing time. That's where the night splint became effective because it produced gentle 'stretching'. Good for you on your success - could you tell us more about your own case of PF?

Re: READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

bg cped on 6/03/01 at 12:10 (049751)

Holding it for 5 minutes is not a good idea (imho). The logic is that a tight heel cord can transfer extra stress to an unstable foot. BUT over stretching can also irritate the fascia. Heel cords have a hugh influence on foot function, but aggresive stretching like that could aggravate the heck out of it. night splints work well for some because it is more passive and over a greater time period.

Re: Stretching

john h on 6/03/01 at 12:23 (049753)

when i think of some of the stretches i was doing during a chronic stage of pf i cringe!!! 'standing on a step with my heels hanging off and going up and down' ouch! 'using the rocker type foot devices you find in health clubs' ouch! ouch! 'doing toe stands while on my feet' ouch! ouch! ouch! there are still doctors who will prescribe these even if you are hurting.

Re: Stretching

Julie on 6/03/01 at 14:25 (049769)

That's the interesting question, John: why podiatrists etc still prescribe these things despite the obvious fact that they can't do good if they are hurting. Did you see Mike W's post yesterday? About the physiotherapist? They learn it in their training, and don't change their minds until they have suffered PF themselves.

Re: Stretching

Nancy N on 6/03/01 at 15:10 (049772)

Yes, I did the rocker stretch in PT and the therapist had me doing the wall stretch, even though I complained that it hurt. What a waste of time and money, I was making myself worse the whole time rather than better, and all because I didn't know any better. Thankfully, I eventually figured it out--and that's when I started to improve.

Re: READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

Nancy N on 6/03/01 at 15:12 (049773)

My PT told me that I shouldn't hold the stretch for more than 30 seconds, because it hadn't been shown to be any more effective when held longer. My orthopedist told me last fall to hold it for ten minutes, which was grueling. I don't think I did anything other than hurt myself.

Re: READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

HoustonKay on 6/07/01 at 16:16 (050171)

I also have had a bad experience with stretching exercise prescribed by pod. One and only exercise he prescribed was the standing on a book and hanging your heels off (10 times per day). My hips got sore; my hips got worse; then my hips got worse than my feet!! I stopped the exercise and one hip got ok. The other hip is healing slowly (over a month now.)
My right foot got well and now I'm doing only little mild stretches (pointing my toes up and back) and my left foot is slowly healing. Stretches aren't right for everyone.

Re: READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

Julie on 6/08/01 at 03:02 (050234)

HoustonKay, this is a very good example of a very common occurrence. I think there needs to be a re-education programme for pods! I am so sorry you had all this trouble, but I'm not at all surprised: hanging your heels off a book or a step is bound to do mischief. I think I said in response to your earlier post that you were probably allowing your pelvis/hips to tip forward, and that that could account for the hip pain you experienced.

I'm glad your hips and your right foot better now. Be thankful at least that you didn't rupture your Achilles Tendons.

Re: READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

Nancy N on 6/03/01 at 08:27 (049734)

Please do remember that a lot of us here have found that weight-bearing stretches, which are so easy to do incorrectly, will only aggravate the problem, or at minimum make it no better. If you feel any pain while doing one of these stretches, please explore options for non weight-bearing stretches (which can be done using the Acu-Flex, the PFT, or even a towel or belt if you have good instructions for them). Do not do anything that causes pain in the foot, or you will only be prolonging your agony.

Re: My experience was just the opposite. WEIGHT-BEARING STRETCHES aggravated my PF & set me back

Steve P on 6/03/01 at 09:19 (049740)

We appreciate the advice, but if you have been on this board a while you know that each case is unique & there is no single treatment that is equally effective for all.

My physical therapist advocated the wall stretch & it turned out to be the worst possible thing for me! Only when I stopped doing it did I begin to stabilize & to improve. So it is not something that works for everyone.

Re: Stretching

Julie on 6/03/01 at 10:01 (049745)

Hello

I understand your being enthusiastic about something you feel has helped you, but please try to understand that there are people here who are so desperate for help that they will follow any advice, given by anyone. The fact is that the stretch you describe is not right for everyone: I believe that it is not right for most people, even if done correctly, as it is almost certain to irritate not only the weak spot where the fascia connects with the heelbone, but also the Achilles Tendon.

If this stretch has helped you, I'm glad for you, but I think you are probably an exception. In fact, I think you're lucky to have got away with it. You say it's 'hard to do' (hold the stretch for 5 minutes) by which I assume you mean that it has been painful for you. That being the case, I'm somewhat inclined to suspect it's possible that you've improved despite, not because of the stretch.

As Steve says, no one treatment is right for everyone.

Re: READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

JudyS on 6/03/01 at 11:04 (049748)

Your stretching observation is an interesting one here, but, believe it or not, it's contrary to what most of the (newly afflicted to chronic) sufferers here have experienced. Personally, I found that when I (finally) set out to design myself a solid program for healing, including stretching, I only got worse. As we all began to talk about stretching here, we soon found that, as we stretched per our professional's advice, we got worse. We theorized then that those advised stretches were just too much for already-inflamed tendons. It's interesting that you've found relief from very agressive stretching and I wonder to what degree you had the PF to begin with. Last, many of us learned to 'stretch', not for stretching's sake, but for keeping the lower legs, ankles and feet loose to avoid more scar tissue or shortening of tendons during the healing time. That's where the night splint became effective because it produced gentle 'stretching'. Good for you on your success - could you tell us more about your own case of PF?

Re: READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

bg cped on 6/03/01 at 12:10 (049751)

Holding it for 5 minutes is not a good idea (imho). The logic is that a tight heel cord can transfer extra stress to an unstable foot. BUT over stretching can also irritate the fascia. Heel cords have a hugh influence on foot function, but aggresive stretching like that could aggravate the heck out of it. night splints work well for some because it is more passive and over a greater time period.

Re: Stretching

john h on 6/03/01 at 12:23 (049753)

when i think of some of the stretches i was doing during a chronic stage of pf i cringe!!! 'standing on a step with my heels hanging off and going up and down' ouch! 'using the rocker type foot devices you find in health clubs' ouch! ouch! 'doing toe stands while on my feet' ouch! ouch! ouch! there are still doctors who will prescribe these even if you are hurting.

Re: Stretching

Julie on 6/03/01 at 14:25 (049769)

That's the interesting question, John: why podiatrists etc still prescribe these things despite the obvious fact that they can't do good if they are hurting. Did you see Mike W's post yesterday? About the physiotherapist? They learn it in their training, and don't change their minds until they have suffered PF themselves.

Re: Stretching

Nancy N on 6/03/01 at 15:10 (049772)

Yes, I did the rocker stretch in PT and the therapist had me doing the wall stretch, even though I complained that it hurt. What a waste of time and money, I was making myself worse the whole time rather than better, and all because I didn't know any better. Thankfully, I eventually figured it out--and that's when I started to improve.

Re: READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

Nancy N on 6/03/01 at 15:12 (049773)

My PT told me that I shouldn't hold the stretch for more than 30 seconds, because it hadn't been shown to be any more effective when held longer. My orthopedist told me last fall to hold it for ten minutes, which was grueling. I don't think I did anything other than hurt myself.

Re: READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

HoustonKay on 6/07/01 at 16:16 (050171)

I also have had a bad experience with stretching exercise prescribed by pod. One and only exercise he prescribed was the standing on a book and hanging your heels off (10 times per day). My hips got sore; my hips got worse; then my hips got worse than my feet!! I stopped the exercise and one hip got ok. The other hip is healing slowly (over a month now.)
My right foot got well and now I'm doing only little mild stretches (pointing my toes up and back) and my left foot is slowly healing. Stretches aren't right for everyone.

Re: READ THIS BEFORE YOU HAVE SURGERY OR BUY ANYTHING

Julie on 6/08/01 at 03:02 (050234)

HoustonKay, this is a very good example of a very common occurrence. I think there needs to be a re-education programme for pods! I am so sorry you had all this trouble, but I'm not at all surprised: hanging your heels off a book or a step is bound to do mischief. I think I said in response to your earlier post that you were probably allowing your pelvis/hips to tip forward, and that that could account for the hip pain you experienced.

I'm glad your hips and your right foot better now. Be thankful at least that you didn't rupture your Achilles Tendons.