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Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Posted by Carole C on 12/31/01 at 14:58 (068247)

I am soooo tempted to resume exercising on my recumbent bike, but I don't want to do anything to aggravate my PF!

What do you think about it? My recumbent bike is sitting here like a siren, saying 'Ride me! Ride me!' LOL

I got my PF at about the same time that I started exercising a little more vigorously on my(new) recumbent bike. For me, because of mobility problems from osteoarthritis, 'vigorously' was working from .2 miles up to a half mile a day with the resistance set fairly high and pedaling fast enough that I could talk but not sing while riding. That's not very fast for someone like me, if it matters.

I had just moved the seat back, so that my knees were straight at one point in the cycle. Maybe that was a mistake. I could move my seat so that my knees are always flexed at least a little. Also I could wear my SAS shoes and orthotics while cycling rather than cycling barefoot like I was doing when I got PF.

I wanna I wanna I wanna!! LOL Do you think I should wait? I'm at the point with my PF where I'm resting all that I can, and as long as I wear my orthotics I'm not in too much pain (although I really can't do any more than go to the grocery every couple of weeks). I don't need ice every night and sometimes I forget to stretch, but I still have to rest a lot.

Carole C

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Ken M. on 12/31/01 at 15:57 (068256)

I have wrestled with the question for several years. Everytime I go back to the stationary bike I always notice my PF flares up. Sometime not initially but eventually it always will. Rest it until it leaves completely.

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Carole C on 12/31/01 at 15:58 (068257)

Thanks for the tip, Ken. Somehow I suspected that this might be the case, but the bike was just sitting there TEMPTING me!!! LOL

I'll be patient a while longer... I don't need to aggravate my PF.

Carole C

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Nicole K. on 12/31/01 at 16:11 (068258)

I don't think I could live without exercise!!!! I just put up with the pain, I think it's worth it. Anyways, I've never had more pain when biking, but I use those clip in shoes. Perhaps this will help? At minimum, I would at least suggest strap-in style peddles to minimize motion of your foot.

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Carole C on 12/31/01 at 17:07 (068261)

Thanks for the suggestions, Nicole. I will look into them when I get back to cycling.

Even though I am starting to bounce off walls due to desire to get back to cycling, I think Ken is probably right, for me. I *really* need to get over this PF, and I don't want to get set back in my recovery. I have only had PF since September.

After I read Ken's response, I reluctantly remembered that my doctor thought my exercycling was to blame for my PF to begin with. So, I guess it wouldn't kill me to wait a while longer. I've waited this long already, so I can at least wait another month. There are only 2678400 seconds in January. :(

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Nicole K. on 12/31/01 at 17:14 (068263)

Well, then, if it's to blame for your PF perhaps you can try some other type of excercise? How about swimming, or yoga, or pilates? It's important that you keep yourself physically strong as well. Me? I can barely go a day without exercise! (I cannot imagine how bad several months must be for you). In any event, the shoes/ peddle straps are a good thing to have regardless of PF.

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Carole C on 12/31/01 at 17:24 (068265)

Well, I could probably swim but there are reasons why I prefer my exercycle. To swim, I'd have to join a club, buy a suit, drive to the club after dark when I've already worked a 10 hour day and am totally beat, put on my suit, brave walking past all the hardbodies, figure out how to get out of the pool and stand up with out hurting my PF, deal with my Birkenstocks at the side of the pool, as well as with the effects of vastly over-chlorinated water on my eyes, skin, and hair. The exercycle is right here in my living room, though, beckoning! It would take me what, one second to jump on it!

I have to be careful of other types of exercise because of my knees. My doctor doesn't want me walking for exercise if it gets to the point of hurting my knees... not that that's likely to happen when my FEET hurt so badly now. But walking used to be my favorite form of exercise. Can you tell I'm pouting? LOL

Carole C

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Nicole K. on 12/31/01 at 17:48 (068268)

he, he. Actually, yes, I can tell you are pouting. You know what the funny thing is; I used to be way into cycling, and I completely messed up my knees from it. It's so ridiculous; if it's not PF it's my knees!!!! Arghhhhhh! And I am only 25. I should be healthy and, no I am not pouting! ha!

So, in any event regarding all those obstacles I say BAH! First of all, you don't need to join a club! Don't you have city rec? If you sign of for swimming through recreation then chances are, you don't have to walk through hardbodies. Speaking of hardbodies, generally they are not swimming (You'll find them lifting weights). :p Second, buying a suit. Well, that can be kinda not fun, but that's what they have Ross and Marshall's and T.J.Maxx or equivalent. See, it's not so bad is it? Also, you can buy a bathing cap to protect those lovely locks and as for your skin, heard of moisturizer? So, finally, got any more excuses? Let's hear 'em. kapow!

(Note: I am completely messing with you, I completely understand what you're saying, but what I am saying is that if their is a will, then... ah! You know the rest!)

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

John h on 12/31/01 at 18:07 (068270)

Carol: I think you would be better off with the resistance set low and ride longer. With high resistance you have to press harder with your feet and thus placing more tension on the fascia. Since I encountered PF i rarely set the resistance above 3 but do ride for 45 minutes and manage to get my heart rate up near 130 if I pedal fast.

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Carole C on 12/31/01 at 18:25 (068275)

Thanks, John. When I start riding again that is one thing I can definitely do. I had the resistance always set at 7 or 8, which was probably too high. Also I was riding barefoot (Dumb island girl habit! I can wear shoes now too, just like in the big city! LOL)

If I ride longer I could get more aerobic advantage from it. Riding my exercycle makes my knees glide so smoothly when I walk afterwards, and feel so much better. I was almost bouncing when I walked. And I am not nearly so grouchy when I have had a little exercise. (pout! pout! LOL)

When I bought the exercycle, I put it in the best location! It is right next to the breakfast bar between the kitchen and the living room. That means that I can watch TV or talk on the phone while I'm riding it. It also means that to get to the refrigerator or to go back to the bedroom I have to go AROUND the exercycle, which encouraged me to ride it more. Of course all this is working against me now.

Re: My Physical Therapy started with bicycling

Valerie S on 1/01/02 at 11:14 (068336)

HI Carol.

I'm sorry to hear that you are in pain, and I understand your frustration about not being able to ride your bike.

It sounds like you plan on waiting before starting back on the bike. I just wanted to share with you that my physical therapy program always started out with some time on the stationery bike. My PT made sure that my knees did not go quite all the way straight, and YES you should wear your orthotics! Shortly after, I purchased a real bike and notice that everytime I get off the bike, my feet hurt more than when I get on. This had also happened in PT, but he told me it was because of the increased blood flow (which was the goal). He told me that the oxygen-rich blood would 'stir things up' at first, but that it was part of healing. The bicycling was followed by stretching, massage, and ultrasound. Even though I was already too far into PF to be cured by PT, it helped me immensely.
Just my experience, as I am not a medical professional.

First and foremost, listen to your body. And follow your doctor's instructions, but don't disregard the therapeutic value of your bike! Although improper use of the bike may have caused the PF, your bike really is your friend! (and it sounds like you know it).

Now smile and have a happy new year! A whole blank calendar awaits you!

Good luck to you... I hope you find relief soon.

Your friend, Val.

Re: My Physical Therapy started with bicycling

Carole C on 1/01/02 at 13:52 (068349)

Thanks, Valerie! I sure appreciate your upbeat post. I will think about it. :)

Carole C

Re: My Physical Therapy started with bicycling

adam p on 1/01/02 at 21:12 (068398)

Does anyone reading this thread have an opinion about
the 'road' (racing?) cycling shoes like Time or Look which have an
extensive trapezoid shaped 'platform' that interfaces
with a clipless pedal.? They appear to put the foot
into the same position high heeled women's shoes do.

I've noticed that the Tour de France riders don't seem
to use them, and I may have seen some newsgroup discussion
about the desire to have the foot as close to the
'fulcrum' as possible--newsgroup discussion in rec.bicycles.racing
that is.

AP

Re: Cycling shoes, and the Journey of One Thousand Miles

Carole C on 1/02/02 at 07:58 (068422)

' The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step' - Confucious, 500 BC

Isn't this a great quote for a heelspurs/PF message board? I love it!!! :)

For me, the single step in returning to cycling is unlikely to involve buying these special cycling shoes. They seem like a sales gimmick to me, and here's why I am thinking this way.

Bicycling could cause repetitive pulling and stress on my Achilles tendon, especially with the seat pushed back so that my knees are straightened at one point, and I don't think this is good for my plantar fascia. It might have been the precipitating factor for my PF. However, by pushing the seat forward so that my knees are flexed throughout the cycle, that problem would be at least partially alleviated. So, if the seat is positioned correctly, I don't see what good these special shoes would provide to me. Does that make sense?

It might be different for people who cycle for long periods of time each day, but if they are not used by the Tour de France riders then maybe not! :)

I do think that the clips might be helpful in that they would keep my shoes planted firmly on the pedals. And, just to stay on the safe side, I will wear my SAS shoes rather than my Birkenstocks when I do return to cycling, because the latter have such a low heel and pull on my tendons slightly more. And (sigh) I plan to wait for a few more weeks until more healing has occurred.

As an aside, considering the above quote wouldn't it be neat to have a 1000 mile (cumulative) journey as an ultimate goal on the exercycle? :)

Carole C

Re: My Physical Therapy started with bicycling

Carole C on 1/02/02 at 08:17 (068423)

I said I would think about it, and I have been doing that. Here's what has occurred to me.

The more I think about it, the more I think that my exercycle very well may have a role in my recovery at some point. Since I would be doing this on my own, without a physical therapist, I would want to wait a few more weeks to make sure that my tendons not only are not badly inflamed but also have had a chance to heal. And then, I would probably start very gently, wearing my orthotics and with the tension on the cycle set pretty low, and just use it to gently expose my feet and legs to a range of motion without stressing anything. As time passed, if this didn't worsen my condition I could build up very very very very slowly. It makes sense to me that the key in this would be not to over-do.

It's amazing and in my opinion humorous that someone like me, who has never been an athlete and who has had impaired mobility for several years, would be actually wanting to exercise so much after getting a brief taste of what it feels like. It must be some sort of inborn instinct for all of us. I really enjoyed the improvements in my legs that resulted from it, and the combination of self discipline and clearheadedness that it brings (even at my low level of achievement). I think that a lot of the depression that many of us feel with PF is partly due to the elimination of exercise and movement that is required as part of the conservative approach to treating PF.

Although I'm not going to start right away, when I am healed I am looking forward to the Journey of One Thousand Miles (see my other post!).

Carole C

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

john h on 1/02/02 at 09:12 (068429)

I have been watching an instructor provide pilates instruction on the Pilates machine. This does not look very much like an aerobic activity but a stretching activity. Some of the positions I have seen people in would not be very good for your foot or feet if you have PF.

Re: Cycling shoes, and the Journey of One Thousand Miles

john h on 1/02/02 at 09:36 (068430)

I think the only way to judge where cycling works for you is to try it. For some it will not bother them for others it will. If you have not been doing any cycling then like any new activity you have to take it slow and easy. If you have tight calves or an aggreviated achilles you have to go slow and easy and work up to an aerobic speed. In any event keep the tension down to somewhere around a level 3 as the more tension the more stress you have to put on the fascia to push the pedals. Like Carol states make sure you have your knees bent when your foot are at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

Re: Cycling shoes, and the Journey of One Thousand Miles

Carole C on 1/02/02 at 10:02 (068433)

Thanks, John. What you are saying makes a whole lot of sense to me. I might try it extremely lightly, tension around 2-3 and just a few revolutions for maybe half a minute today and see what that does. I'll be sure to return the seat to the position where my knees are bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

I've been thinking lately that maybe a lot of my PF pain could be related to problems with my achilles tendon, which I never ever would have guessed a few weeks ago. However, the slight elevation of the heel in my SAS shoes/orthotics compared with my Birkenstocks seems to have helped a whole lot both in reducing the tendon inflammation and the sharp excruciating heel pain. My pedorthist has me wearing my Birkenstocks in the evenings, to give my tendons some variety of stretch. Some very gentle cycling might help too. I do think that I need to be extremely careful, because I might respond to cycling just like Kevin did. At least that is my fear.

Carole

Re: One little thing about the 1000 miles

Valerie S on 1/02/02 at 13:13 (068442)

It's so funny that you say that! Last year, when I got my brand-new bike, I got one of those $30 computers that keep track of your miles and speed... motivation, you know. I am still striving for my initial goal of 1000 miles!

Keep smiling! (by the way, the PT bike was a schwinn airdyne, which had no real resistance).

Val.

Re: One little thing about the 1000 miles

Carole C on 1/02/02 at 13:25 (068443)

How cool! How far have you gotten in your 1000 mile goal? Maybe we are both destined to finish our 1000 mile goals eventually; after all, the journey of 1000 miles starts with but a single step! (laughing)

My exercycle came with a digital display attached to it that keeps track of total cumulative miles, miles that session, speed, distance, and calories. It was pretty cheap even so, because digital things have gotten so cheap. I have not even made 100 miles yet, because practically the first thing I did was accidently cause myself to get PF and then I had to quit.

It is a magnetic bike, rather than one with chains and such, and it doesn't have much resistance at all at these lower settings.

I changed my mind (woman's prerogative, right?) and decided to try it on the lowest setting for 15-30 seconds this afternoon, very gently, with my orthotics-in-SAS-shoes on my feet and the seat adjustment fixed. My thinking is, 'how could I POSSIBLY cause much damage to my feet doing something so wimpy!' LOL I hope that I am right. I just have to try, so that I know one way or the other because it's really bugging me.

Carole C

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

Carole C on 1/02/02 at 15:47 (068455)

I tried riding my exercycle for less than a minute with the knob set on '1', with the seat positioned so that my knee is always a little flexed. I wore my orthotics in my SAS shoes for this. I didn't warm up or cool down; I couldn't figure out how to do that for such a stressfree/wimpy bit of exercise. It was less than 0.1 mile because it didn't register any distance on my digital read-out.

IT FELT GREAT!!!!! Now I am resting completely for the rest of the day, to see how it does. So far, my knees and my disposition feel lots better. I thought I felt a tiny twinge in my forefoot (of all places!) when I stood up a minute ago, but it went away. Likewise I felt a tiny twinge in my achilles tendon while sitting, but then that's not unusual for me and it went away too. I won't assume that I got away with it until tomorrow night, and then if I'm still OK I'll try it again.

As you can probably tell, I've learned to have great fear and respect for what can happen to my PF if I do something stupid. I never want to have to feel that kind of pain and despair again. I'm in no hurry and do not want to risk injury but I really want to start doing something regularly (even if it's not much, at first). I can build up what I can do gradually and with determination and great care.

Carole C

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

Nicole K. on 1/02/02 at 18:09 (068468)

yeeeeehaaw! I'm so glad that you are taking control of your recovery in a pro-active way. The body is meant to M-O-V-E!! btw, my New Year's Resolution is to be able to run a marathon this year.

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

Carole C on 1/02/02 at 21:17 (068481)

This year! Wow! I sure hope your feet are up to it. That sounds wonderful.

So far, so good. I had some cramping pain centered on my achilles tendon a few minutes ago, but it went away. I will keep an eye on it though. My legs still feel wonderful. :)

Carole C

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

Valerie S on 1/03/02 at 08:41 (068517)

You are so smart... take it nice and slow and you will get there. I have only made about 150 miles on my bike so far... but it ain't over til its over!
Val.

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

Carole C on 1/03/02 at 09:07 (068524)

Well I have only got 8.8 miles on my bike so far, because I got PF shortly after I began to ride it. But you are right that it ain't over til its over, and you and I will reach our 1000 miles one day. A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step, and we have taken that step.

Today I felt some pain along the outer edge of the bottom of my left foot, which for me is closely related to my heel pain. It must be referred from somewhere? I don't know, but when my heel gets better this pain does too. I have not felt this pain on the outer edge of my foot at all since I got my orthotics more than three weeks ago.

So that was not too encouraging. I only did 30 rounds of the pedals yesterday, but today I may back off to 15 rounds, for now. (sigh)

You know what? I'm determined to heal and that is what is going to happen!! It just IS and that is how it is going to be!!!!!!! Pardon my megalomania but this PF thing is just totally insane and has got to go. Enough is enough.

There has got to be a level of cycling that will give my feet the healing benefits of increased circulation without injuring me further.

Carole C

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

PatC on 1/03/02 at 21:29 (068602)

Carol,
I have been following your discussion about cycling and wanted to share my experience. I too have a recumbent bike, but have found that when I try using it for a short period, the pain starts up again. My husband bought me one of those airwalkers or gliders a couple of months ago.They are suppose to have little impact on the body. I felt fine the first few times I tried it (which was only for a few minutes), but after trying to increase the time, pain started in again. Needless to say I have given up trying anything except a little walking for awhile. For the last few weeks I have been wearing nothing, but Birkenstocks. Today I put on my New Balance shoes with orthotics and went grocery shopping. By the time I got home, I was in agony. I wish I knew what the answer is to curing this miserable condition. I hope you have better luck with your bike than I have had.

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

Carole C on 1/03/02 at 22:53 (068627)

Pat,

Thank you for relating your experiences to me; the more I know about this the better. I tried my bike for 15 rounds of the pedals today. This is ridiculously low mileage, or I guess I should say yardage because it wasn't even 1/20 of a mile. I could still feel it in my feet although I probably got away with it. The 15 rounds made my arthritic knees feel better and my PF feet feel worse. You can't win! LOL Maybe I could keep up 15 rounds or maybe I should just quit for now. 30 rounds was too much.

I'm so sorry to hear about the level of your foot pain. I know the agony and the despair that comes with it. How long has it been for you, and are you able to rest your feet most of the time? Rest has been so crucial for me. My feet do seem to be doing a little better than yours at present, and I went grocery shopping last weekend and did not feel miserable afterwards (though I rested before and after). Still, that was about all I felt like I should do. Whether or not I am up to any cycling at all on a regular basis is still something I do not really know.

Carole C

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

PatC on 1/03/02 at 23:22 (068634)

I have had PF & achilles tendonitis since last March.I go for a few days feeling good and then all of a sudden it flares up again. I tried cutting back on Vioxx when I felt good and the pain came back with a vengence. I'm able to rest and take it easy most of the time, but I had a lot of company for the holidays. My daughter and grandkids were here for five days and I did too much so am trying to take it easy. It hasn't helped that I have put on a lot of weight. I use to exercise every day before this started and now I can't.

Re: Pat

Carole C on 1/04/02 at 09:12 (068663)

I know what you mean. It's hard to lose weight if you can't exercise! All I can say is just keep trying. Although it is not easy, it is possible if you are patient and don't try to lose weight too fast.

It sounds like you definitely need the Vioxx to keep the inflammation and pain down. I'm SO glad you can rest, because that is so very important.

The three things that I feel have helped me the most are lots of rest, unusually excellent custom orthotics, and gentle stretching (no leaning against walls or weight bearing stretching for me). Also, I got a shower stool and that helps a lot because if I stand barefoot in the shower even once that really re-injures my PF, enough to set me back at least a whole week. I hope your feet feel better soon! Now that the holidays are over, it will be easier to take it easy so I hope this helps too.

My dream (hopefully not 'The Impossible Dream') is to take REAL showers again on a regular basis in a few weeks or months. LOL

Carole C

Re: Pat

PatC on 1/04/02 at 12:09 (068679)

Carol,
Thanks. I'm feeling better today than yesterday, although I haven't done anything. Hope you are having a great day. I'm going to try and follow the Weight Watcher Program. I threw out all of the junk left over from the Holidays and bought alot of fruit and veggies yesterday.

Re: Pat

Carole C on 1/04/02 at 12:25 (068682)

That's wonderful! Grilled chicken is good too.

I have been on Weight Watchers for 14 months now and I feel much healthier now, except for my PF. I know how discouraging it is to think of trying to lose weight when you can't move (I always wondered if my metabolism would screech to a dead halt! or maybe I'd start producing calories rather than burning them up! a one woman power plant LOL)

But anyhow, all jokes aside, it is possible on WW even though you may not lose as fast as you might like. Still, even if you stay the same it is better than gaining, and probably you will lose even though you have to rest.

Some people lose steadily on WW, and I lose in fits and starts. Maybe it's water retention, who knows. Although I average 1-2 pounds per week, some weeks are better... like the week before Christmas when I lost 3.6 pounds although I didn't do anything especially different! One can never tell. Other weeks I might not lose at all.

Carole C

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Ken M. on 12/31/01 at 15:57 (068256)

I have wrestled with the question for several years. Everytime I go back to the stationary bike I always notice my PF flares up. Sometime not initially but eventually it always will. Rest it until it leaves completely.

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Carole C on 12/31/01 at 15:58 (068257)

Thanks for the tip, Ken. Somehow I suspected that this might be the case, but the bike was just sitting there TEMPTING me!!! LOL

I'll be patient a while longer... I don't need to aggravate my PF.

Carole C

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Nicole K. on 12/31/01 at 16:11 (068258)

I don't think I could live without exercise!!!! I just put up with the pain, I think it's worth it. Anyways, I've never had more pain when biking, but I use those clip in shoes. Perhaps this will help? At minimum, I would at least suggest strap-in style peddles to minimize motion of your foot.

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Carole C on 12/31/01 at 17:07 (068261)

Thanks for the suggestions, Nicole. I will look into them when I get back to cycling.

Even though I am starting to bounce off walls due to desire to get back to cycling, I think Ken is probably right, for me. I *really* need to get over this PF, and I don't want to get set back in my recovery. I have only had PF since September.

After I read Ken's response, I reluctantly remembered that my doctor thought my exercycling was to blame for my PF to begin with. So, I guess it wouldn't kill me to wait a while longer. I've waited this long already, so I can at least wait another month. There are only 2678400 seconds in January. :(

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Nicole K. on 12/31/01 at 17:14 (068263)

Well, then, if it's to blame for your PF perhaps you can try some other type of excercise? How about swimming, or yoga, or pilates? It's important that you keep yourself physically strong as well. Me? I can barely go a day without exercise! (I cannot imagine how bad several months must be for you). In any event, the shoes/ peddle straps are a good thing to have regardless of PF.

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Carole C on 12/31/01 at 17:24 (068265)

Well, I could probably swim but there are reasons why I prefer my exercycle. To swim, I'd have to join a club, buy a suit, drive to the club after dark when I've already worked a 10 hour day and am totally beat, put on my suit, brave walking past all the hardbodies, figure out how to get out of the pool and stand up with out hurting my PF, deal with my Birkenstocks at the side of the pool, as well as with the effects of vastly over-chlorinated water on my eyes, skin, and hair. The exercycle is right here in my living room, though, beckoning! It would take me what, one second to jump on it!

I have to be careful of other types of exercise because of my knees. My doctor doesn't want me walking for exercise if it gets to the point of hurting my knees... not that that's likely to happen when my FEET hurt so badly now. But walking used to be my favorite form of exercise. Can you tell I'm pouting? LOL

Carole C

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Nicole K. on 12/31/01 at 17:48 (068268)

he, he. Actually, yes, I can tell you are pouting. You know what the funny thing is; I used to be way into cycling, and I completely messed up my knees from it. It's so ridiculous; if it's not PF it's my knees!!!! Arghhhhhh! And I am only 25. I should be healthy and, no I am not pouting! ha!

So, in any event regarding all those obstacles I say BAH! First of all, you don't need to join a club! Don't you have city rec? If you sign of for swimming through recreation then chances are, you don't have to walk through hardbodies. Speaking of hardbodies, generally they are not swimming (You'll find them lifting weights). :p Second, buying a suit. Well, that can be kinda not fun, but that's what they have Ross and Marshall's and T.J.Maxx or equivalent. See, it's not so bad is it? Also, you can buy a bathing cap to protect those lovely locks and as for your skin, heard of moisturizer? So, finally, got any more excuses? Let's hear 'em. kapow!

(Note: I am completely messing with you, I completely understand what you're saying, but what I am saying is that if their is a will, then... ah! You know the rest!)

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

John h on 12/31/01 at 18:07 (068270)

Carol: I think you would be better off with the resistance set low and ride longer. With high resistance you have to press harder with your feet and thus placing more tension on the fascia. Since I encountered PF i rarely set the resistance above 3 but do ride for 45 minutes and manage to get my heart rate up near 130 if I pedal fast.

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

Carole C on 12/31/01 at 18:25 (068275)

Thanks, John. When I start riding again that is one thing I can definitely do. I had the resistance always set at 7 or 8, which was probably too high. Also I was riding barefoot (Dumb island girl habit! I can wear shoes now too, just like in the big city! LOL)

If I ride longer I could get more aerobic advantage from it. Riding my exercycle makes my knees glide so smoothly when I walk afterwards, and feel so much better. I was almost bouncing when I walked. And I am not nearly so grouchy when I have had a little exercise. (pout! pout! LOL)

When I bought the exercycle, I put it in the best location! It is right next to the breakfast bar between the kitchen and the living room. That means that I can watch TV or talk on the phone while I'm riding it. It also means that to get to the refrigerator or to go back to the bedroom I have to go AROUND the exercycle, which encouraged me to ride it more. Of course all this is working against me now.

Re: My Physical Therapy started with bicycling

Valerie S on 1/01/02 at 11:14 (068336)

HI Carol.

I'm sorry to hear that you are in pain, and I understand your frustration about not being able to ride your bike.

It sounds like you plan on waiting before starting back on the bike. I just wanted to share with you that my physical therapy program always started out with some time on the stationery bike. My PT made sure that my knees did not go quite all the way straight, and YES you should wear your orthotics! Shortly after, I purchased a real bike and notice that everytime I get off the bike, my feet hurt more than when I get on. This had also happened in PT, but he told me it was because of the increased blood flow (which was the goal). He told me that the oxygen-rich blood would 'stir things up' at first, but that it was part of healing. The bicycling was followed by stretching, massage, and ultrasound. Even though I was already too far into PF to be cured by PT, it helped me immensely.
Just my experience, as I am not a medical professional.

First and foremost, listen to your body. And follow your doctor's instructions, but don't disregard the therapeutic value of your bike! Although improper use of the bike may have caused the PF, your bike really is your friend! (and it sounds like you know it).

Now smile and have a happy new year! A whole blank calendar awaits you!

Good luck to you... I hope you find relief soon.

Your friend, Val.

Re: My Physical Therapy started with bicycling

Carole C on 1/01/02 at 13:52 (068349)

Thanks, Valerie! I sure appreciate your upbeat post. I will think about it. :)

Carole C

Re: My Physical Therapy started with bicycling

adam p on 1/01/02 at 21:12 (068398)

Does anyone reading this thread have an opinion about
the 'road' (racing?) cycling shoes like Time or Look which have an
extensive trapezoid shaped 'platform' that interfaces
with a clipless pedal.? They appear to put the foot
into the same position high heeled women's shoes do.

I've noticed that the Tour de France riders don't seem
to use them, and I may have seen some newsgroup discussion
about the desire to have the foot as close to the
'fulcrum' as possible--newsgroup discussion in rec.bicycles.racing
that is.

AP

Re: Cycling shoes, and the Journey of One Thousand Miles

Carole C on 1/02/02 at 07:58 (068422)

' The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step' - Confucious, 500 BC

Isn't this a great quote for a heelspurs/PF message board? I love it!!! :)

For me, the single step in returning to cycling is unlikely to involve buying these special cycling shoes. They seem like a sales gimmick to me, and here's why I am thinking this way.

Bicycling could cause repetitive pulling and stress on my Achilles tendon, especially with the seat pushed back so that my knees are straightened at one point, and I don't think this is good for my plantar fascia. It might have been the precipitating factor for my PF. However, by pushing the seat forward so that my knees are flexed throughout the cycle, that problem would be at least partially alleviated. So, if the seat is positioned correctly, I don't see what good these special shoes would provide to me. Does that make sense?

It might be different for people who cycle for long periods of time each day, but if they are not used by the Tour de France riders then maybe not! :)

I do think that the clips might be helpful in that they would keep my shoes planted firmly on the pedals. And, just to stay on the safe side, I will wear my SAS shoes rather than my Birkenstocks when I do return to cycling, because the latter have such a low heel and pull on my tendons slightly more. And (sigh) I plan to wait for a few more weeks until more healing has occurred.

As an aside, considering the above quote wouldn't it be neat to have a 1000 mile (cumulative) journey as an ultimate goal on the exercycle? :)

Carole C

Re: My Physical Therapy started with bicycling

Carole C on 1/02/02 at 08:17 (068423)

I said I would think about it, and I have been doing that. Here's what has occurred to me.

The more I think about it, the more I think that my exercycle very well may have a role in my recovery at some point. Since I would be doing this on my own, without a physical therapist, I would want to wait a few more weeks to make sure that my tendons not only are not badly inflamed but also have had a chance to heal. And then, I would probably start very gently, wearing my orthotics and with the tension on the cycle set pretty low, and just use it to gently expose my feet and legs to a range of motion without stressing anything. As time passed, if this didn't worsen my condition I could build up very very very very slowly. It makes sense to me that the key in this would be not to over-do.

It's amazing and in my opinion humorous that someone like me, who has never been an athlete and who has had impaired mobility for several years, would be actually wanting to exercise so much after getting a brief taste of what it feels like. It must be some sort of inborn instinct for all of us. I really enjoyed the improvements in my legs that resulted from it, and the combination of self discipline and clearheadedness that it brings (even at my low level of achievement). I think that a lot of the depression that many of us feel with PF is partly due to the elimination of exercise and movement that is required as part of the conservative approach to treating PF.

Although I'm not going to start right away, when I am healed I am looking forward to the Journey of One Thousand Miles (see my other post!).

Carole C

Re: Cycling question for the exercise guru's :)

john h on 1/02/02 at 09:12 (068429)

I have been watching an instructor provide pilates instruction on the Pilates machine. This does not look very much like an aerobic activity but a stretching activity. Some of the positions I have seen people in would not be very good for your foot or feet if you have PF.

Re: Cycling shoes, and the Journey of One Thousand Miles

john h on 1/02/02 at 09:36 (068430)

I think the only way to judge where cycling works for you is to try it. For some it will not bother them for others it will. If you have not been doing any cycling then like any new activity you have to take it slow and easy. If you have tight calves or an aggreviated achilles you have to go slow and easy and work up to an aerobic speed. In any event keep the tension down to somewhere around a level 3 as the more tension the more stress you have to put on the fascia to push the pedals. Like Carol states make sure you have your knees bent when your foot are at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

Re: Cycling shoes, and the Journey of One Thousand Miles

Carole C on 1/02/02 at 10:02 (068433)

Thanks, John. What you are saying makes a whole lot of sense to me. I might try it extremely lightly, tension around 2-3 and just a few revolutions for maybe half a minute today and see what that does. I'll be sure to return the seat to the position where my knees are bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

I've been thinking lately that maybe a lot of my PF pain could be related to problems with my achilles tendon, which I never ever would have guessed a few weeks ago. However, the slight elevation of the heel in my SAS shoes/orthotics compared with my Birkenstocks seems to have helped a whole lot both in reducing the tendon inflammation and the sharp excruciating heel pain. My pedorthist has me wearing my Birkenstocks in the evenings, to give my tendons some variety of stretch. Some very gentle cycling might help too. I do think that I need to be extremely careful, because I might respond to cycling just like Kevin did. At least that is my fear.

Carole

Re: One little thing about the 1000 miles

Valerie S on 1/02/02 at 13:13 (068442)

It's so funny that you say that! Last year, when I got my brand-new bike, I got one of those $30 computers that keep track of your miles and speed... motivation, you know. I am still striving for my initial goal of 1000 miles!

Keep smiling! (by the way, the PT bike was a schwinn airdyne, which had no real resistance).

Val.

Re: One little thing about the 1000 miles

Carole C on 1/02/02 at 13:25 (068443)

How cool! How far have you gotten in your 1000 mile goal? Maybe we are both destined to finish our 1000 mile goals eventually; after all, the journey of 1000 miles starts with but a single step! (laughing)

My exercycle came with a digital display attached to it that keeps track of total cumulative miles, miles that session, speed, distance, and calories. It was pretty cheap even so, because digital things have gotten so cheap. I have not even made 100 miles yet, because practically the first thing I did was accidently cause myself to get PF and then I had to quit.

It is a magnetic bike, rather than one with chains and such, and it doesn't have much resistance at all at these lower settings.

I changed my mind (woman's prerogative, right?) and decided to try it on the lowest setting for 15-30 seconds this afternoon, very gently, with my orthotics-in-SAS-shoes on my feet and the seat adjustment fixed. My thinking is, 'how could I POSSIBLY cause much damage to my feet doing something so wimpy!' LOL I hope that I am right. I just have to try, so that I know one way or the other because it's really bugging me.

Carole C

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

Carole C on 1/02/02 at 15:47 (068455)

I tried riding my exercycle for less than a minute with the knob set on '1', with the seat positioned so that my knee is always a little flexed. I wore my orthotics in my SAS shoes for this. I didn't warm up or cool down; I couldn't figure out how to do that for such a stressfree/wimpy bit of exercise. It was less than 0.1 mile because it didn't register any distance on my digital read-out.

IT FELT GREAT!!!!! Now I am resting completely for the rest of the day, to see how it does. So far, my knees and my disposition feel lots better. I thought I felt a tiny twinge in my forefoot (of all places!) when I stood up a minute ago, but it went away. Likewise I felt a tiny twinge in my achilles tendon while sitting, but then that's not unusual for me and it went away too. I won't assume that I got away with it until tomorrow night, and then if I'm still OK I'll try it again.

As you can probably tell, I've learned to have great fear and respect for what can happen to my PF if I do something stupid. I never want to have to feel that kind of pain and despair again. I'm in no hurry and do not want to risk injury but I really want to start doing something regularly (even if it's not much, at first). I can build up what I can do gradually and with determination and great care.

Carole C

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

Nicole K. on 1/02/02 at 18:09 (068468)

yeeeeehaaw! I'm so glad that you are taking control of your recovery in a pro-active way. The body is meant to M-O-V-E!! btw, my New Year's Resolution is to be able to run a marathon this year.

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

Carole C on 1/02/02 at 21:17 (068481)

This year! Wow! I sure hope your feet are up to it. That sounds wonderful.

So far, so good. I had some cramping pain centered on my achilles tendon a few minutes ago, but it went away. I will keep an eye on it though. My legs still feel wonderful. :)

Carole C

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

Valerie S on 1/03/02 at 08:41 (068517)

You are so smart... take it nice and slow and you will get there. I have only made about 150 miles on my bike so far... but it ain't over til its over!
Val.

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

Carole C on 1/03/02 at 09:07 (068524)

Well I have only got 8.8 miles on my bike so far, because I got PF shortly after I began to ride it. But you are right that it ain't over til its over, and you and I will reach our 1000 miles one day. A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step, and we have taken that step.

Today I felt some pain along the outer edge of the bottom of my left foot, which for me is closely related to my heel pain. It must be referred from somewhere? I don't know, but when my heel gets better this pain does too. I have not felt this pain on the outer edge of my foot at all since I got my orthotics more than three weeks ago.

So that was not too encouraging. I only did 30 rounds of the pedals yesterday, but today I may back off to 15 rounds, for now. (sigh)

You know what? I'm determined to heal and that is what is going to happen!! It just IS and that is how it is going to be!!!!!!! Pardon my megalomania but this PF thing is just totally insane and has got to go. Enough is enough.

There has got to be a level of cycling that will give my feet the healing benefits of increased circulation without injuring me further.

Carole C

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

PatC on 1/03/02 at 21:29 (068602)

Carol,
I have been following your discussion about cycling and wanted to share my experience. I too have a recumbent bike, but have found that when I try using it for a short period, the pain starts up again. My husband bought me one of those airwalkers or gliders a couple of months ago.They are suppose to have little impact on the body. I felt fine the first few times I tried it (which was only for a few minutes), but after trying to increase the time, pain started in again. Needless to say I have given up trying anything except a little walking for awhile. For the last few weeks I have been wearing nothing, but Birkenstocks. Today I put on my New Balance shoes with orthotics and went grocery shopping. By the time I got home, I was in agony. I wish I knew what the answer is to curing this miserable condition. I hope you have better luck with your bike than I have had.

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

Carole C on 1/03/02 at 22:53 (068627)

Pat,

Thank you for relating your experiences to me; the more I know about this the better. I tried my bike for 15 rounds of the pedals today. This is ridiculously low mileage, or I guess I should say yardage because it wasn't even 1/20 of a mile. I could still feel it in my feet although I probably got away with it. The 15 rounds made my arthritic knees feel better and my PF feet feel worse. You can't win! LOL Maybe I could keep up 15 rounds or maybe I should just quit for now. 30 rounds was too much.

I'm so sorry to hear about the level of your foot pain. I know the agony and the despair that comes with it. How long has it been for you, and are you able to rest your feet most of the time? Rest has been so crucial for me. My feet do seem to be doing a little better than yours at present, and I went grocery shopping last weekend and did not feel miserable afterwards (though I rested before and after). Still, that was about all I felt like I should do. Whether or not I am up to any cycling at all on a regular basis is still something I do not really know.

Carole C

Re: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: I TRIED IT!!!!!!

PatC on 1/03/02 at 23:22 (068634)

I have had PF & achilles tendonitis since last March.I go for a few days feeling good and then all of a sudden it flares up again. I tried cutting back on Vioxx when I felt good and the pain came back with a vengence. I'm able to rest and take it easy most of the time, but I had a lot of company for the holidays. My daughter and grandkids were here for five days and I did too much so am trying to take it easy. It hasn't helped that I have put on a lot of weight. I use to exercise every day before this started and now I can't.

Re: Pat

Carole C on 1/04/02 at 09:12 (068663)

I know what you mean. It's hard to lose weight if you can't exercise! All I can say is just keep trying. Although it is not easy, it is possible if you are patient and don't try to lose weight too fast.

It sounds like you definitely need the Vioxx to keep the inflammation and pain down. I'm SO glad you can rest, because that is so very important.

The three things that I feel have helped me the most are lots of rest, unusually excellent custom orthotics, and gentle stretching (no leaning against walls or weight bearing stretching for me). Also, I got a shower stool and that helps a lot because if I stand barefoot in the shower even once that really re-injures my PF, enough to set me back at least a whole week. I hope your feet feel better soon! Now that the holidays are over, it will be easier to take it easy so I hope this helps too.

My dream (hopefully not 'The Impossible Dream') is to take REAL showers again on a regular basis in a few weeks or months. LOL

Carole C

Re: Pat

PatC on 1/04/02 at 12:09 (068679)

Carol,
Thanks. I'm feeling better today than yesterday, although I haven't done anything. Hope you are having a great day. I'm going to try and follow the Weight Watcher Program. I threw out all of the junk left over from the Holidays and bought alot of fruit and veggies yesterday.

Re: Pat

Carole C on 1/04/02 at 12:25 (068682)

That's wonderful! Grilled chicken is good too.

I have been on Weight Watchers for 14 months now and I feel much healthier now, except for my PF. I know how discouraging it is to think of trying to lose weight when you can't move (I always wondered if my metabolism would screech to a dead halt! or maybe I'd start producing calories rather than burning them up! a one woman power plant LOL)

But anyhow, all jokes aside, it is possible on WW even though you may not lose as fast as you might like. Still, even if you stay the same it is better than gaining, and probably you will lose even though you have to rest.

Some people lose steadily on WW, and I lose in fits and starts. Maybe it's water retention, who knows. Although I average 1-2 pounds per week, some weeks are better... like the week before Christmas when I lost 3.6 pounds although I didn't do anything especially different! One can never tell. Other weeks I might not lose at all.

Carole C