Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

Leg Cramping

Posted by Noreen on 8/30/02 at 14:36 (093993)

For the last few days, I've been experiencing cramping/throbbing in the calves of my legs. This occurs when I'm sitting or lying down. I've been dx with PF about 2 months ago and am using orthotics. Should I do more or less calf stretches? Not sure what helps. Anyone else with this symptom?

Re: Leg Cramping

Suzanne D on 8/30/02 at 17:48 (094007)

Dear Noreen,

Many of us have found out that after the initial pain of PF began, we noticed other pains in the legs and knees after a time. That seems to be in part because of the 'different' way we may be walking to compensate for the pain in our feet. Also, everything is 'connected', and tight calf muscles seem to be a part of the whole situation.

I don't know how much you are stretching, so I can't say whether you should do more or less. Others more educated in physical therapy might be able to answer your question on that.

I would just advise you to stretch gently and to do non weight-bearing stretches (staying away from the leaning against the wall stretch as well as the hanging off the stairs stretch that are often recommended).

Rest as much as you can, and do your standing and walking for short periods of time with rest in between if possible.

I don't know if you have custom orthotics or not, but if you do, perhaps your doctor might need to make some adjustments to them.

A year ago when my pain was a lot worse, sometimes I would be icing my feet while putting a heating pad on my legs! Sounds crazy, but it seemed to give a little relief.

Best wishes to you!
Suzanne :-)

Re: Leg Cramping

Noreen on 8/31/02 at 07:03 (094055)

Thanks, Suzanne. What type of calf stretching do you recommend. I have been doing the leaning against the wall one!

Re: Leg Cramping

Suzanne D on 8/31/02 at 09:28 (094061)

Hi, Noreen. I'll defer to two friends on this board for your answer: Julie and Carole C. Julie is a yoga teacher and recovered PF sufferer who has given a tremendous amount of help on this site. Carole is a computer whiz and recovered PF sufferer, too, with a lot of common sense! She bookmarked this past post of Julie's about stretching to make it easy for others to access. Here it is from a post of hers.

I think if you click on this, it will take you to the post Julie is talking about:

bbv.cgi?n=91080

In this post, Julie describes clearly stretching methods. I, too, did the wall stretch for some time until I read more here about how it could be harmful to many.

Good luck to you!
Suzanne :-)

Re: Leg Cramping

Carole C in NOLA on 8/31/02 at 20:15 (094096)

I am a computer whiz? Wow! I didn't know that. Thanks, Suzanne, though I'm not sure how I earned that compliment. :)

Julie's stretches are great, but during the worst phases of PF I'd avoid the wall stretches like the plague! Some people have been badly injured by them. The tissues in the feet are so tender and in my experience they are easily re-damaged when PF is in an acute, very painful stage. Julie's stretches are gentle and they are all that is needed for PF.

Carole C

Re: Leg Cramping

Julie on 9/01/02 at 02:22 (094113)

Noreen, the wall stretch is in fact an excellent stretch for the calf muscles and achilles tendon, which is why it's so frequently advised for PF sufferers: tightness in those structures is one of the main causes of PF. But it's only a good stretch for healthy tissue. When you're dealing with injured tissue, as in PF, you need a different approach. The calf muscles, achilles tendon and plantar fascia are a continuum. So the wall stretch and other weightbearing calf stretches also pull on the fascia stress it at its weakest point, where it inserts in the heel bone. They can also irritate a tight achilles tendon.

That's why - I feel - it's better to stay away from them.

Re: AMEN Julie! I flared up my left leg and got a charley horse after doing the wall stretch on it a few days ago...

Mahatmelissama on 9/09/02 at 12:54 (094825)

I mostly stretched left leg to see what would happen. Got charley horse and pain in left calf! (Woke up in the middle of night)

I will now only do non weight baring ones from now on.

Re: AMEN Julie! I flared up my left leg and got a charley horse after doing the wall stretch on it a few days ago...

Julie on 9/10/02 at 01:57 (094873)

Poor Mahatmelissama! But I can't blame you for trying: sometimes we get desperate.

At least it didn't insult your achilles or make your PF worse. And the charley-horse will go.

Re: Leg Cramping

Suzanne D on 8/30/02 at 17:48 (094007)

Dear Noreen,

Many of us have found out that after the initial pain of PF began, we noticed other pains in the legs and knees after a time. That seems to be in part because of the 'different' way we may be walking to compensate for the pain in our feet. Also, everything is 'connected', and tight calf muscles seem to be a part of the whole situation.

I don't know how much you are stretching, so I can't say whether you should do more or less. Others more educated in physical therapy might be able to answer your question on that.

I would just advise you to stretch gently and to do non weight-bearing stretches (staying away from the leaning against the wall stretch as well as the hanging off the stairs stretch that are often recommended).

Rest as much as you can, and do your standing and walking for short periods of time with rest in between if possible.

I don't know if you have custom orthotics or not, but if you do, perhaps your doctor might need to make some adjustments to them.

A year ago when my pain was a lot worse, sometimes I would be icing my feet while putting a heating pad on my legs! Sounds crazy, but it seemed to give a little relief.

Best wishes to you!
Suzanne :-)

Re: Leg Cramping

Noreen on 8/31/02 at 07:03 (094055)

Thanks, Suzanne. What type of calf stretching do you recommend. I have been doing the leaning against the wall one!

Re: Leg Cramping

Suzanne D on 8/31/02 at 09:28 (094061)

Hi, Noreen. I'll defer to two friends on this board for your answer: Julie and Carole C. Julie is a yoga teacher and recovered PF sufferer who has given a tremendous amount of help on this site. Carole is a computer whiz and recovered PF sufferer, too, with a lot of common sense! She bookmarked this past post of Julie's about stretching to make it easy for others to access. Here it is from a post of hers.

I think if you click on this, it will take you to the post Julie is talking about:

bbv.cgi?n=91080

In this post, Julie describes clearly stretching methods. I, too, did the wall stretch for some time until I read more here about how it could be harmful to many.

Good luck to you!
Suzanne :-)

Re: Leg Cramping

Carole C in NOLA on 8/31/02 at 20:15 (094096)

I am a computer whiz? Wow! I didn't know that. Thanks, Suzanne, though I'm not sure how I earned that compliment. :)

Julie's stretches are great, but during the worst phases of PF I'd avoid the wall stretches like the plague! Some people have been badly injured by them. The tissues in the feet are so tender and in my experience they are easily re-damaged when PF is in an acute, very painful stage. Julie's stretches are gentle and they are all that is needed for PF.

Carole C

Re: Leg Cramping

Julie on 9/01/02 at 02:22 (094113)

Noreen, the wall stretch is in fact an excellent stretch for the calf muscles and achilles tendon, which is why it's so frequently advised for PF sufferers: tightness in those structures is one of the main causes of PF. But it's only a good stretch for healthy tissue. When you're dealing with injured tissue, as in PF, you need a different approach. The calf muscles, achilles tendon and plantar fascia are a continuum. So the wall stretch and other weightbearing calf stretches also pull on the fascia stress it at its weakest point, where it inserts in the heel bone. They can also irritate a tight achilles tendon.

That's why - I feel - it's better to stay away from them.

Re: AMEN Julie! I flared up my left leg and got a charley horse after doing the wall stretch on it a few days ago...

Mahatmelissama on 9/09/02 at 12:54 (094825)

I mostly stretched left leg to see what would happen. Got charley horse and pain in left calf! (Woke up in the middle of night)

I will now only do non weight baring ones from now on.

Re: AMEN Julie! I flared up my left leg and got a charley horse after doing the wall stretch on it a few days ago...

Julie on 9/10/02 at 01:57 (094873)

Poor Mahatmelissama! But I can't blame you for trying: sometimes we get desperate.

At least it didn't insult your achilles or make your PF worse. And the charley-horse will go.