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sit on a ball?

Posted by paula on 1/25/02 at 16:40 (071286)

did you mean you sat your foot on a ball?

Re: sit on a ball?

Glennx on 1/25/02 at 18:17 (071300)

Paula, Assuming this is aimed my way . . . I'm sitting on one of those large 25' rubber exercise balls, feet out in front on the floor, calves perpindicular to the floor. Using my legs I roll the ball in small circles and figure eights. Just enough to shift my weight in various directions. I stay seated on the ball.

Besides triggering small muscle contractions in my legs and feet, I think there's a bit of benefit to back strength. I usually situate myself a few inches in front of the couch in case I roll too far backwards, but once you get the hang of it, that's not a problem..

Re: Sounds Great

alan k on 1/26/02 at 07:43 (071360)

This could be an excellent exercise, I'm guessing for people who already show signs of healing. There is a slight degree of weight-bearing, not much though so it's relatively gentle. Plus by going in various directions as Glenn says you get a well rounded approach to the exercising the feet and legs together (which is very important, since they are designed to work together after all). A lot of the therapies are very Foot-centered or foot obsessed and don't consider tha a healthy foot is attached to a healthy leg.

This exercise by itself doesn't get all the muscles of the feet but it is a great start.

alan k

Re: Sounds Great

Carmen H on 1/26/02 at 08:30 (071367)

Exercise balls are great for ab work, balance and all kinds of strength training....

Re: sit on a ball?

Carole C on 1/26/02 at 11:02 (071390)

This sounds like an absolutely wonderful thing to do when fairly well recovered from PF, as I feel I am now (with only level 1-2 pain in my case). My concerns about losing my balance and injuring my feet further in some sort of wild flailing about would be nicely addressed by your suggestion of placing the ball a few inches in front of the couch so that one could hang on if necessary.

Carole C

Re: Sounds Great

Glennx on 1/26/02 at 11:17 (071397)

I was suggested this by one of Dr. Ed's PTs, Eddie Brewer.

There's probably a worthwhile hierarchy of foot and leg exercises for chronic PF sufferers, from the most gentle 'nerve-firing' twinkles (level 1) to full function, foot-stomping (level 10). [I'd put the exercise ball at level 2 or 3].

Be nice if such a list, with detailed instructions, were readily available.

Same thing for stretches, from foot-yawning (level 1) to extending the heel down off a step, (level 10).

Re: Twinkles?

Julie on 1/26/02 at 11:28 (071402)

Hi Glenn, are twinkles the same as twiddles?

Re: Sounds Great

JudyS on 1/26/02 at 12:30 (071408)

Hi Glenn - would those be cream-filled twinkles? :)

Re: Twinkles?

Glennx on 1/26/02 at 13:28 (071416)

Hi Julie: I hope 'twiddles' sounds as endearing half way 'round the world as they feel here. I do the movements faithfully. They're in my bones.

Perhaps twinkles are their muscle-exercising counterpart?

I really REALLY think a continuum of foot/leg strengthening/flexing routines is needed -- one with exhaustive / detailed instructions. My simple description of sitting on an exercise ball I shared is still flawed. How often? Should one stretch before? How much time at each sitting? How about forward and backward motion as well as circles and eights? When might we be overdoing it? and so forth.

I still marvel at how little I really know about all this. Taping, for instance. I've been doing it for months. Have read multiple descriptions of technique. Tried different tapes, adhesive removers, foot cremes. But I still don't feel skilled at doing it, and continue to experiment.

Re: Sounds Great

Glennx on 1/26/02 at 13:32 (071417)

I've never had a Krispy Kreme like Carol describes, but a Krispy Kreme Twinkle sounds like a good move.

Re: Sounds Great

Carole C on 1/26/02 at 13:59 (071420)

I think that a level 1 Twinkle sounds great and would probably be very good for my feet.

However, I have my reservations about a level 1 Krispy Kreme Twinkle. It might be too fattening. :)

Carole C

Re: Twinkles?

John h on 1/26/02 at 18:10 (071445)

are Twinkles and Triddles the same as Twinkies? ymmmmmmmmmm!

Re: graduated exercises

alan k on 1/27/02 at 08:15 (071494)

Glenn I think there is generally a body of knowledge here on the board about graduated exercises, but it's not in one place. There certainly are warnings about certain exercises and tons of people's experience with them. Perhaps they could be rendered more systematic. But you do have to understand that one can't come up with a single formula since some beneificial exercises might hurt others in the same stage of healing (but I don't mean to imply that there are certain stages either). It's just all too variable to come up with a sure order. But, the accumulated knowledge of the board members plus personal experimentation combined with common sense and consultation with knowledgable physicians should be good enough.

I think the best instructions along the lines you are thinking would be about how to spot troublesome sensations, what they feel like subjectively so that the patient can fine tune their own therapy. Unfortunately subjective sensations are also a very inexact science.

The best advice with exercise is hang in there and be patient and allow it to work over time. As is said all so often here on the board, many of us with foot problems are personality types who like to push hard and strive all the time.

alan k

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/27/02 at 08:24 (071496)

Anybody know what the scoop is on buying these? I've read that you should choose a size based on your height--but have then seen at least two different charts that list different sizes for my height (I'm about 5'6'). I bought one, 22'/55cm, at Marshalls the other day, pumped it full of air (no mean feat, that, talk about feeling like you're getting nowhere fast!) and I think it is too small--when I sit on it, my thighs are not parallel to the floor, and it's my understanding that they should be (or should be veyr close to parallel). Anybody have the definitive info? It's been a while since I went to PT but I am pretty sure the ball I used there was larger and my legs were at the proper angles.

If anyone knows anything about good brands, I'd appreciate that, too. I tried this one because it was $20 and I figured it was worth it, but I realize that Marshalls is probably not the best place to find a good exercise ball. Wal-Mart has one, but there is no indication of what size it is. I'm confused :)

Re: Twinkles?

Julie on 1/27/02 at 08:59 (071502)

Glen, 'twiddles' sounds as endearing as can be from my side of the ocean!

On the topic of graduated exercise, I was about to say what Alan has said so well. There can't be any generalizing about exercise for PF: an exercise that is useful and appropriate for one person and his or her condition may be unproductive or even unsafe for another. All exercise needs to be appropriate for the person to whom it is given, and there is no way of doing that adequately on the internet. I also feel, as I've often said, that written instructions, however good and however detailed, can easily be misinterpreted (though this hasn't stopped me trying, as you know) and are at best a poor substitute for good personal instruction and monitoring - which isn't necessarily available or convenient or affordable.

What it comes down to is self-responsibility, self-monitoring, common sense, attunement to all one's own sensations, and above all truthfulness about them. So many people persist with the wall stretches, even though they hurt and are exacerbating their condition, determined to persevere because they think - or worse have been told - that it's good for them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that stretch per se as a calf muscle and achilles tendon stretch, provided it's performed correctly, with good alignment of the legs, pelvis and spine. There is everything wrong with it for many people with PF and Achilles Tendonitis. And this applies to any exercise. Even the simple foot exercises I've suggested to several people can be contra-indicated for someone in severe pain: the full rotation, or the full plantar-dorsiflexion, can cause further irritation.

Now tell us what the problem is with taping. I can't believe, after all your experimentation, that you haven't found the most effective way for you, but if I can be of any help, please elaborate!

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/27/02 at 09:05 (071503)

Nancy, I can't help with advice about buying an exercise ball, but I'm quite sure your thighs shouldn't be parallel to the floor. In all sitting, the hips should be slightly higher than the knees to avoid strain on the lower back, and in the exercise ball situation, when you're using your body weight, the elevation should be greater. The teacher who showed me (briefly) how to use one had quite a wide angle - considerably more than 90 degrees - between her calves and thighs.

In other words, the ball you've got may be just right. But isn't there somewhere you can try out blown-up balls in various sizes?

Re: Buying an exercise ball - ps

Julie on 1/27/02 at 09:07 (071504)

Another reason for the hips-higher-than-the knees is that when you're sitting, your feet should give you support just as they do when you're standing. Try sitting with your thighs parallel to the floor and then with an elevation under your buttocks and feel the difference in your feet. That support and grounding are vital when you're using the exercise ball.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/27/02 at 11:04 (071517)

Julie--

Thanks for the info. Alas, it merely confirms that the ball I have is not the right size (or else it is not properly inflated, though I am afraid to over-inflate and have it burst!). My knees are definitely higher than my hips when I sit on the ball. I wasn't actually planning to do much sitting on it (I got it to do some ab exercises in non-sitting positions), so I might be able to get away with it, but it would also be nice to know that I could use it for other exercises later on if I want to. So I guess I will take it back and see what else I can find. I guess it's time to trek to the sporting goods store (I hate those, they all act like you're a stupid idiot if you aren't sure what you're looking for) and see if they have some that I can try before I buy.

Re: sit on a ball?

Nancy N on 1/27/02 at 11:08 (071520)

Your exercises sound really interesting, Glenn. When I had PT a few years ago, they had me sit on the ball and then do two things. The first was 'marching' in place, just picking my feet up and putting them back down again, for about 30 seconds at a time. For the second, I was to do my best to keep my balance (I was allowed to hold onto a nearby table but was told to only hold on as much as I absolutely had to) while holding one foot at a time straight--parallel to the floor--and then write the alphabet in the air with my toes. The second one was much harder, of course, and I never did get to where I could let go of the table completely, though I didn't hold on very tightly, either. I was never sure what the marching was supposed to do for me, but the alphabet certainly allowed you to move your foot in a wide variety of directions.

Re: graduated exercises

Glennx on 1/27/02 at 12:02 (071521)

Good thoughts Alan. This is a complex condition with lots of variables.
Particularly like the suggestion on how to spot potentially troublesome sensations.

If I had a hierarchy to work with, and an understanding (or list) of troublesome sensations to be watchful of, I'd start with level one, or that level I was ABSOLUTELY certain was safe, do those routines for a few days, a week, or two weeks. Always pay particular attention to how I felt 50-hours after exercising, and if I continued to accomplish that level successfully, ease into the next level.

I would try my best to not vary anything else during my experimenting phase.

If I was working through a strengthening hierarchy and felt I needed to change my stretching level, I'd maintain a holding pattern at my strengthening level, while I experimented into the stretching hierarchy.

I have been SO VERY guilty in the past of trying to experiment with everything at the same time. It's really inhibited my progress and my learning.

Re: sit on a ball?

Glennx on 1/27/02 at 12:14 (071523)

Nancy. These are terrific add-ons. I'll start with my ABCs today.

Perhaps the marching was simply about reinforcing muscle memory. I think anything that approximates 'normal' muscle behavior -- painlessly -- might be good for them.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Glennx on 1/27/02 at 12:25 (071525)

Nancy,
My ball's a 25-incher, but I don't think it's tightly inflated. At 5'8' it seems about right when I sit on it.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

John h on 1/27/02 at 13:37 (071530)

We have a couple of balls at our health club which are used in conjunction with the Ground Zero equipment and exercises. Seem these are one size fits all because all the guys and girls use the same ball. One the typical exercises migh be to lay on the ball on your back with feet on floor and reach back and pull the pulleys with what ever weight on them. You are forced to keep balance and pull at the same time. There are a number of others they use the ball for

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/27/02 at 15:55 (071550)

Nancy, I got interested in this and did a Google search. There are thousands of websites about exercise balls. http://www.bodytrends.com/balls.htm seems a good one. It gives a sizing chart which might help you - it says the 22' one is for people of 5'2' to 5'6' which would put you right at the limit, so perhaps the next size would be better.

I looked at a few of the sites and there seem to be lots of different brands of balls, and different brands come in different sizes. Just to confuse you.

The bodytrends site says the hips and knees should be at right angles - but the picture they show of someone sitting on one agrees with me: the hips are higher than the knees. Go figure.

I might get one of these things myself - it looks like fun!

Re: Marching

Julie on 1/27/02 at 15:57 (071551)

'Marching' is is a pelvis stabilizer/lower back strengthener.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

wendyn on 1/27/02 at 22:59 (071589)

I have been using the ball when I do shoulder/chest/arm exercises. Supposedly sitting on the ball is supposed to force you to use better form and posture than just plopping down onto a bench.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/28/02 at 16:14 (071654)

That's an interesting point. I've been thinking about buying a bench, but maybe the ball can do double-duty. I do really basic weight-lifting with dumbbells and one exercise is a chest press, which is what got me thinking about the bench, since I am currently doing it on the floor. Think it would work with the ball?

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/28/02 at 16:17 (071655)

Julie--

You're amazing. I thought about doing a web search but thought 'exercise ball' wouldn't give me the specific results I wanted. Shows what I know :) The Bodytrends site is great--and I note there that they say someone who is 5'6' and 250 pounds should get the 65cm ball. That pretty much answers the question for me :)

Re: Buying an exercise ball

John h on 1/28/02 at 16:45 (071659)

the ball also helps balance wendy.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Glennx on 1/28/02 at 16:53 (071660)

Nancy, The ball is reasonably stable sitting on it with two feet on the ground. Bicep curls would probably work OK in this position. But lying on your back your feet are further out. You're also hinged vertically at the waist making things more unstable. I suppose a light-weight chest press is possible (or flys) but it could be treacherous. Maybe backing the ball into a couch would help?

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/28/02 at 17:22 (071675)

Well, I'm so amazing that all I do is confuse you. I've just written (without following the rules and reading ALL the posts before shooting my mouth off) that I thought a 65 would be too big for you.

Please ignore me.

You must make friends with Google. Trust Google. You can look up anything on Google, and get results. Yesterday evening we went to a private view of a new exhibition of French painting and sculpture (Paris 1900-1968). There were two paintings in it by Diego Rivera, and a poem I'd read millions of years ago suddenly popped into my mind. It contained the line 'I paint what I see, said Rivera. I couldn't for the life of me remember who wrote the poem or anything else about it, but I said to Klaus (I'm always trying to persuade him of the marvels of the web) 'I bet I can key that line in and Google will find the poem for me'.

I did, and it did. 4,076 times.

I know a non-specific search always turns up much more than you want, but the best sites are usually amongst the first ten - or so I've found.

But I digress. Have fun with your 65cm ball. Then you can convince me to get one (I know I'd need the 55, being only 5'2'. Well, 5'1 and 3/4.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/28/02 at 17:28 (071678)

Julie--

No big deal. I just attempted to measure my arm from armpit to fingertip and that comes out around 26'--if that's supposed to correspond to the size of the ball, then I am guessing that confirms the 65cm size. I'm not sure which page you found that on, so I'm not sure if I'm using the measurement correctly, but it would make sense to me.

I guess that really means that this one has to go back, and I have to find a new one. I'll have to figure out where I want to get one--online, or locally. I'm very impressed with the BodyTrends site, though--even if I don't buy it there, their information is great. Thanks for pointing it out.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/28/02 at 17:45 (071686)

Our posts are crossing like mad. I've just asked you what your arm measurement is, only to find that you've told me while I was asking. We must stop meeting like this.

Anyway - I guess this sorts your problem out. Yes, I liked the BodyTrends site too. (It was the first of the 176,000 or so.)

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/28/02 at 21:02 (071722)

Seems like you're awake awfully late, Julie. I'm not used to seeing posts from you in the evening, our time!

I should find a better tape measure for the arm measurement--or ask someone to help me, since it's hard to measure to a fingertip without having to hold the tape and skew the result. But it is in the 26' neighborhood, in any case. I tried the arch exercise Elliott mentioned, and I didn't finish it because I had the awful feeling that the ball might burst. So at the bare minimum, I need to get one of the sturdier balls to use. I hadn't done much research (as I'm sure you've guessed) when I bought this one, which was the first one I saw with a size listed on it. I don't think it's made for serious use, unfortunately.

Re: you may have been right the first time

elliott on 1/28/02 at 23:27 (071742)

Web sites can be wrong, even those selling the items in question (and even though I gave a similar link in the thread above before reading this one). That link's stats differ dramatically from the magazine article's sizing. (I won't ask Nancy N's weight. :-)) The difference between 55 and 65 is huge; you can tell just by looking at them. The 65 is so huge one would think twice about having it in the home; the 75 is out of the question. I really wonder whether someone 5'6' can sit on top of the 65 in 90 degree fashion when I think I am barely doing so at 5'10'. I'll say that in the body arch, my hands just barely reach the ground with much effort. Someone 4' shorter? It wouldn't be close. If she gets enough back arch, her feet will leave the ground. It's still possible the 55 is a bit too small for her, though. 60?

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/29/02 at 04:03 (071751)

Yes, I was awake awfully late - too late, and I overslept this morning.

Elliott says on the other thread (Scott R and Nancy) that he doesn't think arm measurement is necessarily reliable, and I agree. Even though my arm measurement and yours seem to indicate that the size we suspect is right is probably right, I think it's a rather rough and ready guide. What about a person with a short body and long arms? I know several of those, and they'd be better off with a smaller ball. I only mentioned it as a possible double check.

One of the websites says that if in doubt, you should get a bigger ball, because you can always inflate it to less than full capacity.

Nancy, given your weight, and despite all I know you've lost, I'd advise you to be careful with the back arching exercises. You might find it difficult to come out of them without straining.

Yes, you surely need a sturdier ball. My osteopath recommends the original Pezzi Balls (featured on several of the websites). She also teaches bodywork/movement, and uses the balls in her classes, so she has a good deal of experience with them. If I were buying one, I would buy a Pezzi. (And I'm getting closer to doing that, thanks to this discussion.)

I look forward to hearing what you eventually end up with, and how you like it.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/29/02 at 09:19 (071767)

Julie--

I agree that for various reasons, the body arch is probably not something I want to do right away. I haven't re-read the article, but I am pretty sure it's the one you're supposed to do most carefully, and build up repetitions very slowly.

I looked at the Pezzi balls online but there is a big warning saying that they are not burst-resistant, so if they develop a puncture, you could fall flat on the ground if the ball breaks. Otherwise, they look fine, but I think I might feel better about a burst-resistant ball. BodyTrends has an 800 number to help you decide, and I may call them in the next few days to see what they recommend.

I find it really interesting that the Runner's World article is the only one that lists the 55cm ball for my height. Everything I've seen since implies that the 65cm is better for me. I keep wondering if there's a misprint in RW, or some different line of reasoning for the size they listed. I'm not sure which is right and which is wrong, but my gut feeling tells me that this 55cm ball I have is too small for me. I'll have to see what else I can come up with.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

john h on 1/29/02 at 09:59 (071774)

Julie dear you are suffering from 'double post syndrome'! I had it and got rid of it but do not know how I got rid of it.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/29/02 at 10:33 (071783)

I know, John.
I know, John.

I've told Scott.
I've told Scott.

Maybe he can do something about it. Or tell me what to do.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/29/02 at 10:36 (071784)

Nancy

I didn't realize that about the Pezzi balls. Yes, I guess you'd be safer with a burst-resistant one.

I really think the only way to be absolutely sure of the right size is to try out different sizes, perhaps with the help of someone who knows something about it. Even then you'd probably get differences of opinion. The proof of the pudding....

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Glennx on 1/29/02 at 13:11 (071801)

I have a 'Crystal' brand ball (25-incher). It comes with a 3/4' wide tape 78' long, which prevents overinflation. Each end of the tape has a hole in it. The inflation valve goes through the two end holes in the tape, and then into the ball. As you inflate the ball the tape wraps around the ball's circumference. The idea is to not inflate past the 78' ( tape-limiting) circumference. Mine is underinflated some, probably at 23' diameter. The Crystal does not state it is burst resistant. I'm not sure what 'resistant' would really mean here. It does state that weight on the ball should not exceed 300 pounds, which may be a more useful measure of strength. There's almost certainly a margin of error factored into that limit. Other quality exercise balls will probably have similar weight tolerences and size-limiting inflation tapes.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

john h on 1/29/02 at 15:30 (071823)

Julie Julie Julie: when you write your message and then hit the 'Post Message Button' what do you do next? If you hit the 'back' button I am thinking that may cause a double post. If you just access the Heelspurs board screen hiding behind your postage message and proceed on it might be that could solve the problem. I am thinking that is what I did after double posting for about a week.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/29/02 at 18:20 (071846)

Indeed, I think the Back button is the culprit. I was getting double posts too, but not in the traditional sense of two messages posted at the same time. Some of mine would be posted an hour or so later because I would forget what I was doing and keep hitting the Back button, and then when I got to the posting page, the message would post again. I told Scott about it and thought he had fixed it, but perhaps not. I wonder if it is just us Mac folk having this problem, or if others are experiencing it, too? At any rate, I have started closing my browser window and opening a new one after posting in order to prevent duplicates.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/29/02 at 18:43 (071849)

Glenn--

Burst-resistance is apparently an attribute of the material used to make the ball. From my reading, I gather that the original vinyl balls are very strong, but very susceptible to puncture/scrapes/scratches, and if somehow were 'injured,' have the potential to burst very quickly, leaving the user no chance to avoid a possible fall. The burst-resistant balls are made of a different material (I don't remember what, sorry) that is still susceptible to nails, pins, etc, but when it is compromised, the material holds together better and releases the air much more slowly, minimizing the risk to the user. The weight tolerances vary--some I have seen are good for 600 or even 1000 pounds.

The sizing tape is an excellent idea. I'll have to look for that feature as I'm deciding what to do from here.

Re: Mac folk

Carole C in NOLA on 1/29/02 at 19:05 (071857)

Nancy N, you are right. I think it's just you MacPeople that are having this problem. I'm not, at any rate.

Carole C

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Glennx on 1/29/02 at 19:30 (071863)

That's interesting. I hadn't appreciated how much engineering went into some exercise balls.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/30/02 at 02:59 (071891)

John John John John.... thank you, but I don't hit the back button. After I post a message I wait for the little world wheel to stop spinning, and then I return to the 'messages since your last visit' board (from where I always read and post). Then I go (sometimes, not always) to 'View Thread' so that I can see if my message makes sense. Whether or not I do that makes no difference. Most of my posts appear as singletons. There seems to be no reason why the occasional one should appear two or three times.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

John h on 1/30/02 at 13:35 (071947)

test test test

Re: Buying an exercise ball

john h on 1/31/02 at 09:15 (072056)

Nancy N: when you post your message you will find the messages you were reading hiding behind the screen you just made your post on. Just bring that screen up front and you will continue reading the messages from where you last posted with no double post. Dr. Z is a PC guy and he has caught the 'Double Post Syndrome'.

Re: sit on a ball?

Glennx on 1/25/02 at 18:17 (071300)

Paula, Assuming this is aimed my way . . . I'm sitting on one of those large 25' rubber exercise balls, feet out in front on the floor, calves perpindicular to the floor. Using my legs I roll the ball in small circles and figure eights. Just enough to shift my weight in various directions. I stay seated on the ball.

Besides triggering small muscle contractions in my legs and feet, I think there's a bit of benefit to back strength. I usually situate myself a few inches in front of the couch in case I roll too far backwards, but once you get the hang of it, that's not a problem..

Re: Sounds Great

alan k on 1/26/02 at 07:43 (071360)

This could be an excellent exercise, I'm guessing for people who already show signs of healing. There is a slight degree of weight-bearing, not much though so it's relatively gentle. Plus by going in various directions as Glenn says you get a well rounded approach to the exercising the feet and legs together (which is very important, since they are designed to work together after all). A lot of the therapies are very Foot-centered or foot obsessed and don't consider tha a healthy foot is attached to a healthy leg.

This exercise by itself doesn't get all the muscles of the feet but it is a great start.

alan k

Re: Sounds Great

Carmen H on 1/26/02 at 08:30 (071367)

Exercise balls are great for ab work, balance and all kinds of strength training....

Re: sit on a ball?

Carole C on 1/26/02 at 11:02 (071390)

This sounds like an absolutely wonderful thing to do when fairly well recovered from PF, as I feel I am now (with only level 1-2 pain in my case). My concerns about losing my balance and injuring my feet further in some sort of wild flailing about would be nicely addressed by your suggestion of placing the ball a few inches in front of the couch so that one could hang on if necessary.

Carole C

Re: Sounds Great

Glennx on 1/26/02 at 11:17 (071397)

I was suggested this by one of Dr. Ed's PTs, Eddie Brewer.

There's probably a worthwhile hierarchy of foot and leg exercises for chronic PF sufferers, from the most gentle 'nerve-firing' twinkles (level 1) to full function, foot-stomping (level 10). [I'd put the exercise ball at level 2 or 3].

Be nice if such a list, with detailed instructions, were readily available.

Same thing for stretches, from foot-yawning (level 1) to extending the heel down off a step, (level 10).

Re: Twinkles?

Julie on 1/26/02 at 11:28 (071402)

Hi Glenn, are twinkles the same as twiddles?

Re: Sounds Great

JudyS on 1/26/02 at 12:30 (071408)

Hi Glenn - would those be cream-filled twinkles? :)

Re: Twinkles?

Glennx on 1/26/02 at 13:28 (071416)

Hi Julie: I hope 'twiddles' sounds as endearing half way 'round the world as they feel here. I do the movements faithfully. They're in my bones.

Perhaps twinkles are their muscle-exercising counterpart?

I really REALLY think a continuum of foot/leg strengthening/flexing routines is needed -- one with exhaustive / detailed instructions. My simple description of sitting on an exercise ball I shared is still flawed. How often? Should one stretch before? How much time at each sitting? How about forward and backward motion as well as circles and eights? When might we be overdoing it? and so forth.

I still marvel at how little I really know about all this. Taping, for instance. I've been doing it for months. Have read multiple descriptions of technique. Tried different tapes, adhesive removers, foot cremes. But I still don't feel skilled at doing it, and continue to experiment.

Re: Sounds Great

Glennx on 1/26/02 at 13:32 (071417)

I've never had a Krispy Kreme like Carol describes, but a Krispy Kreme Twinkle sounds like a good move.

Re: Sounds Great

Carole C on 1/26/02 at 13:59 (071420)

I think that a level 1 Twinkle sounds great and would probably be very good for my feet.

However, I have my reservations about a level 1 Krispy Kreme Twinkle. It might be too fattening. :)

Carole C

Re: Twinkles?

John h on 1/26/02 at 18:10 (071445)

are Twinkles and Triddles the same as Twinkies? ymmmmmmmmmm!

Re: graduated exercises

alan k on 1/27/02 at 08:15 (071494)

Glenn I think there is generally a body of knowledge here on the board about graduated exercises, but it's not in one place. There certainly are warnings about certain exercises and tons of people's experience with them. Perhaps they could be rendered more systematic. But you do have to understand that one can't come up with a single formula since some beneificial exercises might hurt others in the same stage of healing (but I don't mean to imply that there are certain stages either). It's just all too variable to come up with a sure order. But, the accumulated knowledge of the board members plus personal experimentation combined with common sense and consultation with knowledgable physicians should be good enough.

I think the best instructions along the lines you are thinking would be about how to spot troublesome sensations, what they feel like subjectively so that the patient can fine tune their own therapy. Unfortunately subjective sensations are also a very inexact science.

The best advice with exercise is hang in there and be patient and allow it to work over time. As is said all so often here on the board, many of us with foot problems are personality types who like to push hard and strive all the time.

alan k

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/27/02 at 08:24 (071496)

Anybody know what the scoop is on buying these? I've read that you should choose a size based on your height--but have then seen at least two different charts that list different sizes for my height (I'm about 5'6'). I bought one, 22'/55cm, at Marshalls the other day, pumped it full of air (no mean feat, that, talk about feeling like you're getting nowhere fast!) and I think it is too small--when I sit on it, my thighs are not parallel to the floor, and it's my understanding that they should be (or should be veyr close to parallel). Anybody have the definitive info? It's been a while since I went to PT but I am pretty sure the ball I used there was larger and my legs were at the proper angles.

If anyone knows anything about good brands, I'd appreciate that, too. I tried this one because it was $20 and I figured it was worth it, but I realize that Marshalls is probably not the best place to find a good exercise ball. Wal-Mart has one, but there is no indication of what size it is. I'm confused :)

Re: Twinkles?

Julie on 1/27/02 at 08:59 (071502)

Glen, 'twiddles' sounds as endearing as can be from my side of the ocean!

On the topic of graduated exercise, I was about to say what Alan has said so well. There can't be any generalizing about exercise for PF: an exercise that is useful and appropriate for one person and his or her condition may be unproductive or even unsafe for another. All exercise needs to be appropriate for the person to whom it is given, and there is no way of doing that adequately on the internet. I also feel, as I've often said, that written instructions, however good and however detailed, can easily be misinterpreted (though this hasn't stopped me trying, as you know) and are at best a poor substitute for good personal instruction and monitoring - which isn't necessarily available or convenient or affordable.

What it comes down to is self-responsibility, self-monitoring, common sense, attunement to all one's own sensations, and above all truthfulness about them. So many people persist with the wall stretches, even though they hurt and are exacerbating their condition, determined to persevere because they think - or worse have been told - that it's good for them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that stretch per se as a calf muscle and achilles tendon stretch, provided it's performed correctly, with good alignment of the legs, pelvis and spine. There is everything wrong with it for many people with PF and Achilles Tendonitis. And this applies to any exercise. Even the simple foot exercises I've suggested to several people can be contra-indicated for someone in severe pain: the full rotation, or the full plantar-dorsiflexion, can cause further irritation.

Now tell us what the problem is with taping. I can't believe, after all your experimentation, that you haven't found the most effective way for you, but if I can be of any help, please elaborate!

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/27/02 at 09:05 (071503)

Nancy, I can't help with advice about buying an exercise ball, but I'm quite sure your thighs shouldn't be parallel to the floor. In all sitting, the hips should be slightly higher than the knees to avoid strain on the lower back, and in the exercise ball situation, when you're using your body weight, the elevation should be greater. The teacher who showed me (briefly) how to use one had quite a wide angle - considerably more than 90 degrees - between her calves and thighs.

In other words, the ball you've got may be just right. But isn't there somewhere you can try out blown-up balls in various sizes?

Re: Buying an exercise ball - ps

Julie on 1/27/02 at 09:07 (071504)

Another reason for the hips-higher-than-the knees is that when you're sitting, your feet should give you support just as they do when you're standing. Try sitting with your thighs parallel to the floor and then with an elevation under your buttocks and feel the difference in your feet. That support and grounding are vital when you're using the exercise ball.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/27/02 at 11:04 (071517)

Julie--

Thanks for the info. Alas, it merely confirms that the ball I have is not the right size (or else it is not properly inflated, though I am afraid to over-inflate and have it burst!). My knees are definitely higher than my hips when I sit on the ball. I wasn't actually planning to do much sitting on it (I got it to do some ab exercises in non-sitting positions), so I might be able to get away with it, but it would also be nice to know that I could use it for other exercises later on if I want to. So I guess I will take it back and see what else I can find. I guess it's time to trek to the sporting goods store (I hate those, they all act like you're a stupid idiot if you aren't sure what you're looking for) and see if they have some that I can try before I buy.

Re: sit on a ball?

Nancy N on 1/27/02 at 11:08 (071520)

Your exercises sound really interesting, Glenn. When I had PT a few years ago, they had me sit on the ball and then do two things. The first was 'marching' in place, just picking my feet up and putting them back down again, for about 30 seconds at a time. For the second, I was to do my best to keep my balance (I was allowed to hold onto a nearby table but was told to only hold on as much as I absolutely had to) while holding one foot at a time straight--parallel to the floor--and then write the alphabet in the air with my toes. The second one was much harder, of course, and I never did get to where I could let go of the table completely, though I didn't hold on very tightly, either. I was never sure what the marching was supposed to do for me, but the alphabet certainly allowed you to move your foot in a wide variety of directions.

Re: graduated exercises

Glennx on 1/27/02 at 12:02 (071521)

Good thoughts Alan. This is a complex condition with lots of variables.
Particularly like the suggestion on how to spot potentially troublesome sensations.

If I had a hierarchy to work with, and an understanding (or list) of troublesome sensations to be watchful of, I'd start with level one, or that level I was ABSOLUTELY certain was safe, do those routines for a few days, a week, or two weeks. Always pay particular attention to how I felt 50-hours after exercising, and if I continued to accomplish that level successfully, ease into the next level.

I would try my best to not vary anything else during my experimenting phase.

If I was working through a strengthening hierarchy and felt I needed to change my stretching level, I'd maintain a holding pattern at my strengthening level, while I experimented into the stretching hierarchy.

I have been SO VERY guilty in the past of trying to experiment with everything at the same time. It's really inhibited my progress and my learning.

Re: sit on a ball?

Glennx on 1/27/02 at 12:14 (071523)

Nancy. These are terrific add-ons. I'll start with my ABCs today.

Perhaps the marching was simply about reinforcing muscle memory. I think anything that approximates 'normal' muscle behavior -- painlessly -- might be good for them.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Glennx on 1/27/02 at 12:25 (071525)

Nancy,
My ball's a 25-incher, but I don't think it's tightly inflated. At 5'8' it seems about right when I sit on it.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

John h on 1/27/02 at 13:37 (071530)

We have a couple of balls at our health club which are used in conjunction with the Ground Zero equipment and exercises. Seem these are one size fits all because all the guys and girls use the same ball. One the typical exercises migh be to lay on the ball on your back with feet on floor and reach back and pull the pulleys with what ever weight on them. You are forced to keep balance and pull at the same time. There are a number of others they use the ball for

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/27/02 at 15:55 (071550)

Nancy, I got interested in this and did a Google search. There are thousands of websites about exercise balls. http://www.bodytrends.com/balls.htm seems a good one. It gives a sizing chart which might help you - it says the 22' one is for people of 5'2' to 5'6' which would put you right at the limit, so perhaps the next size would be better.

I looked at a few of the sites and there seem to be lots of different brands of balls, and different brands come in different sizes. Just to confuse you.

The bodytrends site says the hips and knees should be at right angles - but the picture they show of someone sitting on one agrees with me: the hips are higher than the knees. Go figure.

I might get one of these things myself - it looks like fun!

Re: Marching

Julie on 1/27/02 at 15:57 (071551)

'Marching' is is a pelvis stabilizer/lower back strengthener.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

wendyn on 1/27/02 at 22:59 (071589)

I have been using the ball when I do shoulder/chest/arm exercises. Supposedly sitting on the ball is supposed to force you to use better form and posture than just plopping down onto a bench.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/28/02 at 16:14 (071654)

That's an interesting point. I've been thinking about buying a bench, but maybe the ball can do double-duty. I do really basic weight-lifting with dumbbells and one exercise is a chest press, which is what got me thinking about the bench, since I am currently doing it on the floor. Think it would work with the ball?

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/28/02 at 16:17 (071655)

Julie--

You're amazing. I thought about doing a web search but thought 'exercise ball' wouldn't give me the specific results I wanted. Shows what I know :) The Bodytrends site is great--and I note there that they say someone who is 5'6' and 250 pounds should get the 65cm ball. That pretty much answers the question for me :)

Re: Buying an exercise ball

John h on 1/28/02 at 16:45 (071659)

the ball also helps balance wendy.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Glennx on 1/28/02 at 16:53 (071660)

Nancy, The ball is reasonably stable sitting on it with two feet on the ground. Bicep curls would probably work OK in this position. But lying on your back your feet are further out. You're also hinged vertically at the waist making things more unstable. I suppose a light-weight chest press is possible (or flys) but it could be treacherous. Maybe backing the ball into a couch would help?

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/28/02 at 17:22 (071675)

Well, I'm so amazing that all I do is confuse you. I've just written (without following the rules and reading ALL the posts before shooting my mouth off) that I thought a 65 would be too big for you.

Please ignore me.

You must make friends with Google. Trust Google. You can look up anything on Google, and get results. Yesterday evening we went to a private view of a new exhibition of French painting and sculpture (Paris 1900-1968). There were two paintings in it by Diego Rivera, and a poem I'd read millions of years ago suddenly popped into my mind. It contained the line 'I paint what I see, said Rivera. I couldn't for the life of me remember who wrote the poem or anything else about it, but I said to Klaus (I'm always trying to persuade him of the marvels of the web) 'I bet I can key that line in and Google will find the poem for me'.

I did, and it did. 4,076 times.

I know a non-specific search always turns up much more than you want, but the best sites are usually amongst the first ten - or so I've found.

But I digress. Have fun with your 65cm ball. Then you can convince me to get one (I know I'd need the 55, being only 5'2'. Well, 5'1 and 3/4.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/28/02 at 17:28 (071678)

Julie--

No big deal. I just attempted to measure my arm from armpit to fingertip and that comes out around 26'--if that's supposed to correspond to the size of the ball, then I am guessing that confirms the 65cm size. I'm not sure which page you found that on, so I'm not sure if I'm using the measurement correctly, but it would make sense to me.

I guess that really means that this one has to go back, and I have to find a new one. I'll have to figure out where I want to get one--online, or locally. I'm very impressed with the BodyTrends site, though--even if I don't buy it there, their information is great. Thanks for pointing it out.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/28/02 at 17:45 (071686)

Our posts are crossing like mad. I've just asked you what your arm measurement is, only to find that you've told me while I was asking. We must stop meeting like this.

Anyway - I guess this sorts your problem out. Yes, I liked the BodyTrends site too. (It was the first of the 176,000 or so.)

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/28/02 at 21:02 (071722)

Seems like you're awake awfully late, Julie. I'm not used to seeing posts from you in the evening, our time!

I should find a better tape measure for the arm measurement--or ask someone to help me, since it's hard to measure to a fingertip without having to hold the tape and skew the result. But it is in the 26' neighborhood, in any case. I tried the arch exercise Elliott mentioned, and I didn't finish it because I had the awful feeling that the ball might burst. So at the bare minimum, I need to get one of the sturdier balls to use. I hadn't done much research (as I'm sure you've guessed) when I bought this one, which was the first one I saw with a size listed on it. I don't think it's made for serious use, unfortunately.

Re: you may have been right the first time

elliott on 1/28/02 at 23:27 (071742)

Web sites can be wrong, even those selling the items in question (and even though I gave a similar link in the thread above before reading this one). That link's stats differ dramatically from the magazine article's sizing. (I won't ask Nancy N's weight. :-)) The difference between 55 and 65 is huge; you can tell just by looking at them. The 65 is so huge one would think twice about having it in the home; the 75 is out of the question. I really wonder whether someone 5'6' can sit on top of the 65 in 90 degree fashion when I think I am barely doing so at 5'10'. I'll say that in the body arch, my hands just barely reach the ground with much effort. Someone 4' shorter? It wouldn't be close. If she gets enough back arch, her feet will leave the ground. It's still possible the 55 is a bit too small for her, though. 60?

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/29/02 at 04:03 (071751)

Yes, I was awake awfully late - too late, and I overslept this morning.

Elliott says on the other thread (Scott R and Nancy) that he doesn't think arm measurement is necessarily reliable, and I agree. Even though my arm measurement and yours seem to indicate that the size we suspect is right is probably right, I think it's a rather rough and ready guide. What about a person with a short body and long arms? I know several of those, and they'd be better off with a smaller ball. I only mentioned it as a possible double check.

One of the websites says that if in doubt, you should get a bigger ball, because you can always inflate it to less than full capacity.

Nancy, given your weight, and despite all I know you've lost, I'd advise you to be careful with the back arching exercises. You might find it difficult to come out of them without straining.

Yes, you surely need a sturdier ball. My osteopath recommends the original Pezzi Balls (featured on several of the websites). She also teaches bodywork/movement, and uses the balls in her classes, so she has a good deal of experience with them. If I were buying one, I would buy a Pezzi. (And I'm getting closer to doing that, thanks to this discussion.)

I look forward to hearing what you eventually end up with, and how you like it.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/29/02 at 09:19 (071767)

Julie--

I agree that for various reasons, the body arch is probably not something I want to do right away. I haven't re-read the article, but I am pretty sure it's the one you're supposed to do most carefully, and build up repetitions very slowly.

I looked at the Pezzi balls online but there is a big warning saying that they are not burst-resistant, so if they develop a puncture, you could fall flat on the ground if the ball breaks. Otherwise, they look fine, but I think I might feel better about a burst-resistant ball. BodyTrends has an 800 number to help you decide, and I may call them in the next few days to see what they recommend.

I find it really interesting that the Runner's World article is the only one that lists the 55cm ball for my height. Everything I've seen since implies that the 65cm is better for me. I keep wondering if there's a misprint in RW, or some different line of reasoning for the size they listed. I'm not sure which is right and which is wrong, but my gut feeling tells me that this 55cm ball I have is too small for me. I'll have to see what else I can come up with.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

john h on 1/29/02 at 09:59 (071774)

Julie dear you are suffering from 'double post syndrome'! I had it and got rid of it but do not know how I got rid of it.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/29/02 at 10:33 (071783)

I know, John.
I know, John.

I've told Scott.
I've told Scott.

Maybe he can do something about it. Or tell me what to do.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/29/02 at 10:36 (071784)

Nancy

I didn't realize that about the Pezzi balls. Yes, I guess you'd be safer with a burst-resistant one.

I really think the only way to be absolutely sure of the right size is to try out different sizes, perhaps with the help of someone who knows something about it. Even then you'd probably get differences of opinion. The proof of the pudding....

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Glennx on 1/29/02 at 13:11 (071801)

I have a 'Crystal' brand ball (25-incher). It comes with a 3/4' wide tape 78' long, which prevents overinflation. Each end of the tape has a hole in it. The inflation valve goes through the two end holes in the tape, and then into the ball. As you inflate the ball the tape wraps around the ball's circumference. The idea is to not inflate past the 78' ( tape-limiting) circumference. Mine is underinflated some, probably at 23' diameter. The Crystal does not state it is burst resistant. I'm not sure what 'resistant' would really mean here. It does state that weight on the ball should not exceed 300 pounds, which may be a more useful measure of strength. There's almost certainly a margin of error factored into that limit. Other quality exercise balls will probably have similar weight tolerences and size-limiting inflation tapes.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

john h on 1/29/02 at 15:30 (071823)

Julie Julie Julie: when you write your message and then hit the 'Post Message Button' what do you do next? If you hit the 'back' button I am thinking that may cause a double post. If you just access the Heelspurs board screen hiding behind your postage message and proceed on it might be that could solve the problem. I am thinking that is what I did after double posting for about a week.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/29/02 at 18:20 (071846)

Indeed, I think the Back button is the culprit. I was getting double posts too, but not in the traditional sense of two messages posted at the same time. Some of mine would be posted an hour or so later because I would forget what I was doing and keep hitting the Back button, and then when I got to the posting page, the message would post again. I told Scott about it and thought he had fixed it, but perhaps not. I wonder if it is just us Mac folk having this problem, or if others are experiencing it, too? At any rate, I have started closing my browser window and opening a new one after posting in order to prevent duplicates.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Nancy N on 1/29/02 at 18:43 (071849)

Glenn--

Burst-resistance is apparently an attribute of the material used to make the ball. From my reading, I gather that the original vinyl balls are very strong, but very susceptible to puncture/scrapes/scratches, and if somehow were 'injured,' have the potential to burst very quickly, leaving the user no chance to avoid a possible fall. The burst-resistant balls are made of a different material (I don't remember what, sorry) that is still susceptible to nails, pins, etc, but when it is compromised, the material holds together better and releases the air much more slowly, minimizing the risk to the user. The weight tolerances vary--some I have seen are good for 600 or even 1000 pounds.

The sizing tape is an excellent idea. I'll have to look for that feature as I'm deciding what to do from here.

Re: Mac folk

Carole C in NOLA on 1/29/02 at 19:05 (071857)

Nancy N, you are right. I think it's just you MacPeople that are having this problem. I'm not, at any rate.

Carole C

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Glennx on 1/29/02 at 19:30 (071863)

That's interesting. I hadn't appreciated how much engineering went into some exercise balls.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

Julie on 1/30/02 at 02:59 (071891)

John John John John.... thank you, but I don't hit the back button. After I post a message I wait for the little world wheel to stop spinning, and then I return to the 'messages since your last visit' board (from where I always read and post). Then I go (sometimes, not always) to 'View Thread' so that I can see if my message makes sense. Whether or not I do that makes no difference. Most of my posts appear as singletons. There seems to be no reason why the occasional one should appear two or three times.

Re: Buying an exercise ball

John h on 1/30/02 at 13:35 (071947)

test test test

Re: Buying an exercise ball

john h on 1/31/02 at 09:15 (072056)

Nancy N: when you post your message you will find the messages you were reading hiding behind the screen you just made your post on. Just bring that screen up front and you will continue reading the messages from where you last posted with no double post. Dr. Z is a PC guy and he has caught the 'Double Post Syndrome'.