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think I have PF-looking for alternate exercises

Posted by Rob W on 7/18/01 at 09:23 (053570)

Hi,

I think I have an early case of PF. I'm a trail runner who before injury ran 20-25 miles per week in hilly terrain. I've cut back the running to 30 minutes a week. My pain is at the front of the heel, and my training schedule would also indicate that I have PF. I have run with heel cups for a few years as I had pain in my heels before. The cups always took care of the problem, but now I have pain. I love road cycling as well. I cannot swim right now, as I am recovering from shoulder surgery I had two months ago.
I'd like to ride my bike more but I'm concerned that it may make things worse. I use clipless pedals, so I cannot pedal on my heels. I would really like to continue exercising. What can I do?

Re: think I have PF-looking for alternate exercises

Naja F. on 7/18/01 at 16:21 (053602)

I am not a doctor, but I will share with you what my podiatrist told me. He said that the more stress that I put on the injured feet, the longer the healing time. He suggested that I stay off my feet for as much time as possible, especially staying off the exercise. Swimming was the alternate training he suggested. I must admit that treatment is working for me.

Re: think I have PF-looking for alternate exercises

Julie on 7/19/01 at 02:33 (053665)

Rob, I'm not a doctor either, but I would say that if you can't swim you probably should keep biking - several folk here have done so without coming to grief. As long as your pedalling technique doesn't keep your foot plantar flexed/pointed forwards (which clips do, as I recall, so you're better off without them) you should be all right. Experiment - it might be best to keep the feet in neutral, their middles on the pedals rather than the heels or the balls. Go gently and see how it goes. Your feet will tell you soon enough if the increased exercise is making them worse, and then you can back off.

You are being sensible to cut back on running. It would really be best to cut out the remaining 30 minutes, but maybe that's too much to ask! Rest is the first line of treatment, and if your PF has just started, you have a very good chance of healing quickly.

You are a runner: do you know if you over-pronate, and have you addressed this? It's important for you to have your running and walking behaviour evaluated in case there are biomechanical faults which could be corrected with orthotics.

Have you seen a foot doctor - a podiatrist or orthopaedist or sports medicine doctor? Please do, and get a treatment programme in place. PF is nothing to fool around with: if left to its own devices, it can become chronic and debilitating.

Read the heel pain book and inform yourself about PF and the many conservative treatments that can be used to heal it.

Re: think I have PF-looking for alternate exercises

Julie on 7/19/01 at 02:35 (053667)

Naja, your podiatrist gave you good advice. Swimming is excellent all-round, aerobic, non weight-bearing exercise. It's too bad Rob can't do it!

I'm glad you're getting better.

Re: think I have PF-looking for alternate exercises

Rob on 7/19/01 at 09:34 (053701)

Julie and Naja,

I'm not 100% sure I over pronate. I've done a couple of self tests and I don't think thet is the problem. I think the problem has been the hills. I love to run hills and I recently learned that that tends to put my feet in an extended position. I'm going to keep cycling for a while, but the pain has increased a bit, so I may have to lay off that too. I'm not really sure what I should be doing right now. I really would like to be able to continue cardiovascular exercise if at all possible. Heart disease and excess weight run in my family. I've stayed healthy and reasonably trim with a lot of exercise. If there was any other kind of exercise, I'd love to know about it. I can put my bike on a trainer and ride sitting up, but I don't know if that would help. If anybody has any other ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks
Rob

Re: think I have PF-looking for alternate exercises

Julie on 7/19/01 at 09:48 (053705)

Rob, if you're not sure, and just 'think' you know what the problem is - maybe PF, maybe caused by running up hills - I have to urge you to see a foot specialist. PF can become long-term, chronic and debilitating if it is not dealt with, and that means finding the cause and addressing it, resting to give the injury a chance to heal, and patience. This really has to be your priority for now, so - get yourself to a doctor. You'll have worse things to worry about than what kind of exercise to do if you let the early problem you have now drag on and become chronic.

Oh- and read the heel pain book.

Re: think I have PF-looking for alternate exercises

Naja F. on 7/18/01 at 16:21 (053602)

I am not a doctor, but I will share with you what my podiatrist told me. He said that the more stress that I put on the injured feet, the longer the healing time. He suggested that I stay off my feet for as much time as possible, especially staying off the exercise. Swimming was the alternate training he suggested. I must admit that treatment is working for me.

Re: think I have PF-looking for alternate exercises

Julie on 7/19/01 at 02:33 (053665)

Rob, I'm not a doctor either, but I would say that if you can't swim you probably should keep biking - several folk here have done so without coming to grief. As long as your pedalling technique doesn't keep your foot plantar flexed/pointed forwards (which clips do, as I recall, so you're better off without them) you should be all right. Experiment - it might be best to keep the feet in neutral, their middles on the pedals rather than the heels or the balls. Go gently and see how it goes. Your feet will tell you soon enough if the increased exercise is making them worse, and then you can back off.

You are being sensible to cut back on running. It would really be best to cut out the remaining 30 minutes, but maybe that's too much to ask! Rest is the first line of treatment, and if your PF has just started, you have a very good chance of healing quickly.

You are a runner: do you know if you over-pronate, and have you addressed this? It's important for you to have your running and walking behaviour evaluated in case there are biomechanical faults which could be corrected with orthotics.

Have you seen a foot doctor - a podiatrist or orthopaedist or sports medicine doctor? Please do, and get a treatment programme in place. PF is nothing to fool around with: if left to its own devices, it can become chronic and debilitating.

Read the heel pain book and inform yourself about PF and the many conservative treatments that can be used to heal it.

Re: think I have PF-looking for alternate exercises

Julie on 7/19/01 at 02:35 (053667)

Naja, your podiatrist gave you good advice. Swimming is excellent all-round, aerobic, non weight-bearing exercise. It's too bad Rob can't do it!

I'm glad you're getting better.

Re: think I have PF-looking for alternate exercises

Rob on 7/19/01 at 09:34 (053701)

Julie and Naja,

I'm not 100% sure I over pronate. I've done a couple of self tests and I don't think thet is the problem. I think the problem has been the hills. I love to run hills and I recently learned that that tends to put my feet in an extended position. I'm going to keep cycling for a while, but the pain has increased a bit, so I may have to lay off that too. I'm not really sure what I should be doing right now. I really would like to be able to continue cardiovascular exercise if at all possible. Heart disease and excess weight run in my family. I've stayed healthy and reasonably trim with a lot of exercise. If there was any other kind of exercise, I'd love to know about it. I can put my bike on a trainer and ride sitting up, but I don't know if that would help. If anybody has any other ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks
Rob

Re: think I have PF-looking for alternate exercises

Julie on 7/19/01 at 09:48 (053705)

Rob, if you're not sure, and just 'think' you know what the problem is - maybe PF, maybe caused by running up hills - I have to urge you to see a foot specialist. PF can become long-term, chronic and debilitating if it is not dealt with, and that means finding the cause and addressing it, resting to give the injury a chance to heal, and patience. This really has to be your priority for now, so - get yourself to a doctor. You'll have worse things to worry about than what kind of exercise to do if you let the early problem you have now drag on and become chronic.

Oh- and read the heel pain book.