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Non-weight bearing stretches

Posted by Rudy on 6/25/01 at 18:51 (051510)

Hi all,

I've been reading that some people recommend non-weight bearing stretches instead of the typical 'wall stretches'. What are some examples of this kind of stretching. I'd like to try this.

Rudy

Re: Non-weight bearing stretches

Julie on 6/26/01 at 02:35 (051535)

Rudy, you might like to try these.

Curl your toes forward, as if making fist of your feet. Then draw them back towards you, stretching and spreading them. Try to make space between each toe and its neighbour. Don't move the ankles, just the toes. Breathe out as you curl the toes, in as you stretch them. 9 times.

Bend your feet forward at the ankles, pointing the toes away. Then bend them back. Make this 'hingeing' movement as full as you can, without causing pain. Breathe out as you bend the feet forward, in as you bend them back. 9 times.

Circle your feet at the ankles, first one at a time, then together. Pretend you're drawing circles with your big toe and make the circles as big as you can. Breathe naturally as you do this one. 9 times with each ankle, 9 times with both.

These three movements are part of a group of simple yoga exercises for the joints called Pawanmuktasana. I've practised and taught them for many years, and they have general beneficial effects on body and mind, apart from the specific ones on the feet. Since I've been working on healing my PF, I've given more time to them, and they have been an important and effective element of my treatment strategy.

My podiatrist recommended the wall stretches. I'd known them for a long time, and they are certainly effective stretches for the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles if done correctly (a big 'if' in my experience) but I doubt their suitability for people with PF. I think they can easily irritate the achilles tendon, and pull on the 'weak' point of the plantar fascia, where it has begun to tear away from the calcaneus. I did them for awhile, but they hurt, and I felt they were making things worse, so I stopped. I know that not everyone agree with me, but it is my view of the matter and it's a fairly educated view.

I hope you'll find this helpful.For a concise explanation of why the generally recommended weight-bearing stretches for PF are not appropriate, see Mike Wilmot's web page: http://www.foottrainer.com . I've ordered and just received a pair of Mike's Personal Foot Trainers, and I think the theory makes sense, but it's too early for a report. I know Dr Zuckerman thinks highly of them and recommends them to his patients.

Re: Non-weight bearing stretches - PS

Julie on 6/26/01 at 02:48 (051536)

I meant to say (and did, in my first typing of this long post, but lost the whole thing when I went to check on the address of Mike's website!) that it's good to do the three exercises in bed before you get up in the morning to minimize first-step pain. And then whenever you think of it during the day - several times a day. I find they relieve discomfort (all I have now) after I've been on my feet a lot.

They can be done lying down (as in bed), sitting on the floor (with spine upright and legs outstretched) or sitting in a chair. If you work in an office, you can do them quite surreptitiously under your desk, or in meetings (try to avoid kicking your managing director in the shins, though).

Re: Non-weight bearing stretches - PS

Rudy on 6/26/01 at 11:09 (051547)

Julie,

Thank you for the stretching tips. I'll give them a try.

Rudy

Re: Non-weight bearing stretches - PS

Mary De on 6/28/01 at hrmin (051760)

My thanks also, Julie. Yours is the clearest explanation I've seen yet of the stretches.

--Mary De

Re: Non-weight bearing stretches

Julie on 6/26/01 at 02:35 (051535)

Rudy, you might like to try these.

Curl your toes forward, as if making fist of your feet. Then draw them back towards you, stretching and spreading them. Try to make space between each toe and its neighbour. Don't move the ankles, just the toes. Breathe out as you curl the toes, in as you stretch them. 9 times.

Bend your feet forward at the ankles, pointing the toes away. Then bend them back. Make this 'hingeing' movement as full as you can, without causing pain. Breathe out as you bend the feet forward, in as you bend them back. 9 times.

Circle your feet at the ankles, first one at a time, then together. Pretend you're drawing circles with your big toe and make the circles as big as you can. Breathe naturally as you do this one. 9 times with each ankle, 9 times with both.

These three movements are part of a group of simple yoga exercises for the joints called Pawanmuktasana. I've practised and taught them for many years, and they have general beneficial effects on body and mind, apart from the specific ones on the feet. Since I've been working on healing my PF, I've given more time to them, and they have been an important and effective element of my treatment strategy.

My podiatrist recommended the wall stretches. I'd known them for a long time, and they are certainly effective stretches for the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles if done correctly (a big 'if' in my experience) but I doubt their suitability for people with PF. I think they can easily irritate the achilles tendon, and pull on the 'weak' point of the plantar fascia, where it has begun to tear away from the calcaneus. I did them for awhile, but they hurt, and I felt they were making things worse, so I stopped. I know that not everyone agree with me, but it is my view of the matter and it's a fairly educated view.

I hope you'll find this helpful.For a concise explanation of why the generally recommended weight-bearing stretches for PF are not appropriate, see Mike Wilmot's web page: http://www.foottrainer.com . I've ordered and just received a pair of Mike's Personal Foot Trainers, and I think the theory makes sense, but it's too early for a report. I know Dr Zuckerman thinks highly of them and recommends them to his patients.

Re: Non-weight bearing stretches - PS

Julie on 6/26/01 at 02:48 (051536)

I meant to say (and did, in my first typing of this long post, but lost the whole thing when I went to check on the address of Mike's website!) that it's good to do the three exercises in bed before you get up in the morning to minimize first-step pain. And then whenever you think of it during the day - several times a day. I find they relieve discomfort (all I have now) after I've been on my feet a lot.

They can be done lying down (as in bed), sitting on the floor (with spine upright and legs outstretched) or sitting in a chair. If you work in an office, you can do them quite surreptitiously under your desk, or in meetings (try to avoid kicking your managing director in the shins, though).

Re: Non-weight bearing stretches - PS

Rudy on 6/26/01 at 11:09 (051547)

Julie,

Thank you for the stretching tips. I'll give them a try.

Rudy

Re: Non-weight bearing stretches - PS

Mary De on 6/28/01 at hrmin (051760)

My thanks also, Julie. Yours is the clearest explanation I've seen yet of the stretches.

--Mary De