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Just diagnosed and have questions

Posted by DMS on 8/31/02 at 19:47 (094094)

I was told yesterday that The pain in my feet is ctually PF. Th Doc told me to try motrin 3x a day and arch supports. So far with just the motrin I am having some slight improvement, of course, that's just the first day. After two years of pain, I'm a little skeptical that it'll be that easy to get rid of *s*.

I was wondering if anyone here can tell me of any specific exercises I can do to help stretch the calf muscles and help loosen the muscles in the bottom of my foot (the muscles themselves are so tense it feels almost like wearing a pair of shoes 2 sizes too small) without causing more damage to the Plantar Fascia?
Also, do the arthritis and muscle rub creams help to ease the pain too, or could they actually cause more of a problem?

Thanks in advance,
D

Re: Just diagnosed and have questions

Carole C in NOLA on 8/31/02 at 20:08 (094095)

It's important to be really careful, because some exercises and stretches can make things worse. Gentle, non-weightbearing stretches work best. It doesn't take much. Here is a link to some wonderful stretches that will help you to loosen things up:

bbv.cgi?n=91080

They are from Julie, a 'regular' on this board who also is a yoga instructor.

Some people use ibuprofen cream, but I haven't heard anyone say it's much more than just a little helpful.

A good start in learning how to treat your feet so that they heal, is by reading the heel pain book on this site. Gentle stretching, ice, Birkenstocks, custom orthotics, never going barefoot (even in the shower), resting your feet, and other treatments can really make a difference. It may take a while for you to completely heal, since you've had it for so long. Reading this message board is helpful for learning about various treatments to try.

Carole C

Carole C

Re: Just diagnosed and have questions

Julie on 9/01/02 at 02:13 (094112)

You say your doctor has prescribed motrin and arch supports. That hardly sounds like a comprehensive treatment plan, and makes me wonder if the doctor is a podiatrist? Family physicians usually don't know a lot about PF - that isn't a criticism, they can't know a lot about everything, it isn't their job. But it does suggest you need to see someone who does know about feet, who can evaluate your gait for possible biomechanical faults, get at the cause of your PF, and address it with a treatment programme that targets it. That will include some of the modalities that Carole told you about - but they do need to be applied systematically.

As regards exercise, you've hit the nail on the head when you say you want stretches that will loosen your tight structures without further damaging the fascia. That's precisely the problem, in a nutshell. Most weightbearing exercise will stress the fascia at its most vulnerable point, and many people here have found they do more harm than good. Do try the link Carole gave you - they are simple non-weightbearing yoga exercises for the feet and I hope you'll find that they help you.

See what the podiatrist says, but I would also suggest that you investigate night splints. A night splint holds the foot in a gently dorsiflexed position for hours at a time, which provides the consistent, gentle stretch needed by the calf muscles and achilles tendon. In time, they will lengthen, and length is what you're after.

You could also have a look at the thread that Leon started yesterday, titled 'New Achilles Stretch'.

If you've had PF for two years, yes, it will take time to heal, so be patient. Don't go barefoot, as Carole says. The right shoes are vital, so do your research on footgear.

Re: Just diagnosed and have questions

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/02/02 at 09:48 (094203)

The treatment you described is appropriate for a patient who has has plantar fasciitis for a couple of weeks, not someone who has had it for two years.

Read Scott's Heel Pain Book in order to understand treatments for PF then insist that your doc refer you to a foot specialist who can help.
Ed

Re: Just diagnosed and have questions

carrie on 9/02/02 at 13:02 (094234)

Not barefoot in the shower? What do you wear?

Re: Just diagnosed and have questions

Carole C in NOLA on 9/02/02 at 13:13 (094236)

Oh carrie, this can make HUGE difference.

First, I went to my medical supply store and bought a height-adjustable shower stool, and adjusted it to the right height so that the weight of my legs didn't even rest on my feet as I sat on it. I'd sit down on it, slip my feet out of my Birkenstocks, and then swivel so that my feet were in the shower too.

After a few weeks, I added shower shoes to my shower regimen so that I could stand up. Birkenstock sells some waterproof shoes, but when I wanted them it seemed like everyplace was out of them. So, I went to a local shoe store and got some waterproof Nike sandals. They have a sole that's made of the same type of plastic as in flip-flops, but about an inch thick or more. They seem to work well for me just for the duration of a shower, even though they don't have the orthotic footbed and I wouldn't wear them for longer than a shower takes.

I hope this helps! I found that not standing barefoot in the shower helped me IMMENSELY! So let's hope it helps you too. :)

Carole C

Re: Just diagnosed and have questions

Carole C in NOLA on 8/31/02 at 20:08 (094095)

It's important to be really careful, because some exercises and stretches can make things worse. Gentle, non-weightbearing stretches work best. It doesn't take much. Here is a link to some wonderful stretches that will help you to loosen things up:

bbv.cgi?n=91080

They are from Julie, a 'regular' on this board who also is a yoga instructor.

Some people use ibuprofen cream, but I haven't heard anyone say it's much more than just a little helpful.

A good start in learning how to treat your feet so that they heal, is by reading the heel pain book on this site. Gentle stretching, ice, Birkenstocks, custom orthotics, never going barefoot (even in the shower), resting your feet, and other treatments can really make a difference. It may take a while for you to completely heal, since you've had it for so long. Reading this message board is helpful for learning about various treatments to try.

Carole C

Carole C

Re: Just diagnosed and have questions

Julie on 9/01/02 at 02:13 (094112)

You say your doctor has prescribed motrin and arch supports. That hardly sounds like a comprehensive treatment plan, and makes me wonder if the doctor is a podiatrist? Family physicians usually don't know a lot about PF - that isn't a criticism, they can't know a lot about everything, it isn't their job. But it does suggest you need to see someone who does know about feet, who can evaluate your gait for possible biomechanical faults, get at the cause of your PF, and address it with a treatment programme that targets it. That will include some of the modalities that Carole told you about - but they do need to be applied systematically.

As regards exercise, you've hit the nail on the head when you say you want stretches that will loosen your tight structures without further damaging the fascia. That's precisely the problem, in a nutshell. Most weightbearing exercise will stress the fascia at its most vulnerable point, and many people here have found they do more harm than good. Do try the link Carole gave you - they are simple non-weightbearing yoga exercises for the feet and I hope you'll find that they help you.

See what the podiatrist says, but I would also suggest that you investigate night splints. A night splint holds the foot in a gently dorsiflexed position for hours at a time, which provides the consistent, gentle stretch needed by the calf muscles and achilles tendon. In time, they will lengthen, and length is what you're after.

You could also have a look at the thread that Leon started yesterday, titled 'New Achilles Stretch'.

If you've had PF for two years, yes, it will take time to heal, so be patient. Don't go barefoot, as Carole says. The right shoes are vital, so do your research on footgear.

Re: Just diagnosed and have questions

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/02/02 at 09:48 (094203)

The treatment you described is appropriate for a patient who has has plantar fasciitis for a couple of weeks, not someone who has had it for two years.

Read Scott's Heel Pain Book in order to understand treatments for PF then insist that your doc refer you to a foot specialist who can help.
Ed

Re: Just diagnosed and have questions

carrie on 9/02/02 at 13:02 (094234)

Not barefoot in the shower? What do you wear?

Re: Just diagnosed and have questions

Carole C in NOLA on 9/02/02 at 13:13 (094236)

Oh carrie, this can make HUGE difference.

First, I went to my medical supply store and bought a height-adjustable shower stool, and adjusted it to the right height so that the weight of my legs didn't even rest on my feet as I sat on it. I'd sit down on it, slip my feet out of my Birkenstocks, and then swivel so that my feet were in the shower too.

After a few weeks, I added shower shoes to my shower regimen so that I could stand up. Birkenstock sells some waterproof shoes, but when I wanted them it seemed like everyplace was out of them. So, I went to a local shoe store and got some waterproof Nike sandals. They have a sole that's made of the same type of plastic as in flip-flops, but about an inch thick or more. They seem to work well for me just for the duration of a shower, even though they don't have the orthotic footbed and I wouldn't wear them for longer than a shower takes.

I hope this helps! I found that not standing barefoot in the shower helped me IMMENSELY! So let's hope it helps you too. :)

Carole C