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Exercise and PF / getting back to normal

Posted by sam f on 5/10/02 at 08:18 (083353)

After 18 months of PF I finally feel that the time has come to start gentle exercise again, but I have lots of worries about pushing too far and what signs I should be looking out for to know when to stop and what type of exercise is recommended.

The pain has not gone, but has subsided to a bruised feeling in the heels and once in a while stabbing pain - most importantly the symptoms have been constant for about 4 months (whilst not better at least they are not worse).

I am a runner so need to build up slowly to running again. I have been swimming and cycling to keep (relatively) fit over the last 18 months. Ideally I would like to do cardio work in a gym and have tried a little (no more than 5 mins on each or sperate visits to the gym) of rowing, step machine, ski machine and walking uphill on a treadmill all of which give me stabbing pain but settle after a few minutes.

Is this pain something to worry about (ie damaging the pf more, or just my body saying it does not like it but not making anything worse), or should I continue to exercise through this as long as it does not get worse. Also is it better to do somethign like rowing which is not weight bearing but stretches the pf muscles, or something moderate like a gentle programme on a ski machine with the feet kept flat?

I would be interested to hear views on all of this and wondered if there was any tips people could give me to try and aid my return to fitness without having a relapse.

Re: Exercise and PF / getting back to normal

monte on 5/10/02 at 08:32 (083356)

Sam...I am in my 17th month with PF. I know your frustration. The main thing that I must stress is...IF IT HURTS...DON'T DO IT. DO not walk on the treadmill uphill. This is no good for PF. You are causing more damage and prolonging any chances of proper healing. I was a workout nut before all this. I did too many calf raises with too much weight too many times a week and followed it up with uphill treadmill running. So...I caused my own damage. I did the row machine and found that my feet did not play a big part in the motion. Use your arms and back. Also, tape your feet prior to working out to protect the fascia. Please go slow. I too have to get back to it at some point, but I am listening to my body and will do what it says so that I won't have to do what it dictates. Others can provide you with valuable feedback and suggestions. Good Luck.

Re: Exercise and PF / getting back to normal

Carole C in NOLA on 5/10/02 at 08:40 (083357)

Sam, I'm not a foot doctor, but I'm mostly recovered and beginning to exercise again. Here's what I think, for what it's worth.

It's important to your recovery to avoid setbacks. It takes a couple of days after doing something before all the negative effects show up. I think that starting at a low level and methodically building up gradually is the best strategy. Pay attention to how you feel for a few days after you try something new. You'll get to where you want to be FASTER this way than if you over-do and have repeated setbacks.

I think that the stabbing pain which you describe is what is keeping you from recovering further, and that it is possibly causing you a series of minor setbacks that are impeding your recovery. As far as what form of exercise would be best, I would urge you to avoid anything that causes you substantial pain until you can do it without much pain.

Don't try to 'run through the pain', if you want to get over PF. Hope this helps.

Carole C

Re: Exercise and PF / getting back to normal

Julie on 5/10/02 at 10:07 (083373)

Sam, you're right to be cautious now. You're doing well, and are at the point where it would be a pity to cause yourself a real setback.

All the exercises, apart from rowing, that you mention, are weight-bearing, and are causing you stabbing pain which IS your body telling you it doesn't like what you're doing to it. I would suggest that you forget the treadmill, the ski machine, and certainly the step, for now - for as long as it takes for them not to cause pain.

Stick to your swimming and cycling, and add whatever other non weight-bearing exercise you think you might enjoy. You could try the yoga foot exercises I posted the other day, which will strengthen your foot and leg muscles. Theraband is good for strengthening too, and you could investigate the foot trainer. Click on the link if it comes up blue, otherwise go to http://www.foottrainer.com/

Be judicious now, and I'm sure your healing will progress nicely. When it comes time to start running again, take it slow and easy, and give yourself plenty of time (a couple of days) between attempts to judge their effects.

Re: Exercise and PF / getting back to normal

Pamela S on 5/10/02 at 13:16 (083434)

I found that the ellyptical machine worked fine for me when I was recovering - yes, it's weight-bearing, but because of the way the pedals work, you don't pull at your plantar fascia, and it is definitely aerobic! It is probably a better machine than the stair master or others at this point.

Re: Exercise and PF / getting back to normal

J. King on 5/10/02 at 13:36 (083437)

PF can become a lifetime injury if you abuse your feet too much. I have
had it for years and now my feet hurt all the time. I would not do anything that is going to reinjure my feet. Swim, bike whatever but don't hurt the feet or you may end up limping for a long time. I used to run and now I can hardly walk. Be careful how you treat your feet.

Re: Exercise and PF / getting back to normal

monte on 5/10/02 at 08:32 (083356)

Sam...I am in my 17th month with PF. I know your frustration. The main thing that I must stress is...IF IT HURTS...DON'T DO IT. DO not walk on the treadmill uphill. This is no good for PF. You are causing more damage and prolonging any chances of proper healing. I was a workout nut before all this. I did too many calf raises with too much weight too many times a week and followed it up with uphill treadmill running. So...I caused my own damage. I did the row machine and found that my feet did not play a big part in the motion. Use your arms and back. Also, tape your feet prior to working out to protect the fascia. Please go slow. I too have to get back to it at some point, but I am listening to my body and will do what it says so that I won't have to do what it dictates. Others can provide you with valuable feedback and suggestions. Good Luck.

Re: Exercise and PF / getting back to normal

Carole C in NOLA on 5/10/02 at 08:40 (083357)

Sam, I'm not a foot doctor, but I'm mostly recovered and beginning to exercise again. Here's what I think, for what it's worth.

It's important to your recovery to avoid setbacks. It takes a couple of days after doing something before all the negative effects show up. I think that starting at a low level and methodically building up gradually is the best strategy. Pay attention to how you feel for a few days after you try something new. You'll get to where you want to be FASTER this way than if you over-do and have repeated setbacks.

I think that the stabbing pain which you describe is what is keeping you from recovering further, and that it is possibly causing you a series of minor setbacks that are impeding your recovery. As far as what form of exercise would be best, I would urge you to avoid anything that causes you substantial pain until you can do it without much pain.

Don't try to 'run through the pain', if you want to get over PF. Hope this helps.

Carole C

Re: Exercise and PF / getting back to normal

Julie on 5/10/02 at 10:07 (083373)

Sam, you're right to be cautious now. You're doing well, and are at the point where it would be a pity to cause yourself a real setback.

All the exercises, apart from rowing, that you mention, are weight-bearing, and are causing you stabbing pain which IS your body telling you it doesn't like what you're doing to it. I would suggest that you forget the treadmill, the ski machine, and certainly the step, for now - for as long as it takes for them not to cause pain.

Stick to your swimming and cycling, and add whatever other non weight-bearing exercise you think you might enjoy. You could try the yoga foot exercises I posted the other day, which will strengthen your foot and leg muscles. Theraband is good for strengthening too, and you could investigate the foot trainer. Click on the link if it comes up blue, otherwise go to http://www.foottrainer.com/

Be judicious now, and I'm sure your healing will progress nicely. When it comes time to start running again, take it slow and easy, and give yourself plenty of time (a couple of days) between attempts to judge their effects.

Re: Exercise and PF / getting back to normal

Pamela S on 5/10/02 at 13:16 (083434)

I found that the ellyptical machine worked fine for me when I was recovering - yes, it's weight-bearing, but because of the way the pedals work, you don't pull at your plantar fascia, and it is definitely aerobic! It is probably a better machine than the stair master or others at this point.

Re: Exercise and PF / getting back to normal

J. King on 5/10/02 at 13:36 (083437)

PF can become a lifetime injury if you abuse your feet too much. I have
had it for years and now my feet hurt all the time. I would not do anything that is going to reinjure my feet. Swim, bike whatever but don't hurt the feet or you may end up limping for a long time. I used to run and now I can hardly walk. Be careful how you treat your feet.