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Will walking and weight loss help?

Posted by Janet H on 9/08/02 at 10:23 (094754)

Last year I had major pain with PF. I had the cortizone shots and that seemed to help. It just so happened that I went on a diet and walked regularly, and I lost 20 pounds. This year, I have gained most of the weight back and I have stopped walking. My heel pain is back and the cortizone shots, ortho inserts, ice and stretching don't seem to be helping. As a matter of fact, in the mornings, I have sharp shooting pains going up through my heel. My question is this: Does anyone out there think that if I lose the weight again and start walking again that the pain will subside? It makes sense to me that losing weight alleviates some of the pressure and walking will stretch the tendon. The only problem I have with this idea is that it hurts like THE DEVIL to walk for long periods of time. But, if you think it will help, I am willing to try anything. Please give me your feedback.

Janet

Re: Will walking and weight loss help?

Carole C in NOLA on 9/08/02 at 13:01 (094763)

Your feet are telling you NOT to walk!! Your feet need rest to heal just like any injured tissue. I'd say to pay attention to what your feet are telling you, and if it hurts, don't do it. I found that resting as much as possible with my feet up helped a lot when my PF was at its worst.

Losing weight until one is at a healthy weight for one's height is a great idea for many reasons, although its effect on PF seems to be unclear. It does seem to help some people. Personally, I lost about 80 pounds during the year before I got PF. I have not lost any since although I was only about half done with losing the weight I needed to lose. In my case, I am quite sure that my PF is not due to my overweight, because my feet felt just fine for several years when I was at my heaviest. On the other hand, overweight can cause some extra stress on the feet, so it probably wouldn't do any harm to lose weight by eating healthier foods.

Now that my feet are feeling better and I'm capable of leading my normal life, I'm planning to start trying to lose weight again and to start regular exercise again. I had planned tomorrow to be 'Day One' back on Weight Watchers. Thanks for reminding me.

Carole C

Re: Will walking and weight loss help?

Tonya on 9/09/02 at 13:01 (094828)

Have you considered using a stationary bike? I had open pf release on 09-May, and my pod forbid me to do any walking exercise program from the time i first seen him for the problems of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. He prescribed stationary biking and water aerobic/swimming only. This way you eleviate any chance of jarring or pounding of the heel.

Re: Will walking and weight loss help?

Carole C in NOLA on 9/10/02 at 22:04 (094966)

Yes, starting to ride a stationary bike, incorrectly (though I didn't know that at the time) caused my PF to begin with.

Carole C

Re: walking is not your only option for weight loss

elliott on 9/12/02 at 15:12 (095156)

If walking is painful, it's probably not good for you. If there are activities in a spa or fitness center your foot can handle, consider joining. It will help healthwise in many ways, possibly including your feet, not to mention give you a mental lift. I'm talking about: nonimpact aerobic things like stationary bike, elliptical, stepper, rower; upper body (preferably tethered) weights; tethered leg weights; abdominals, back; hips; etc. You may not be able to do everything, but you may be surprised that you can do many things. Start off slow and conservative (e.g. with weights use less of it maybe with more reps) and get the advice and assistance of the fitness person there. Not everyone there is a blonde beauty showing off her buns, so don't worry about being noticed and being embarrassed. It helps to have a partner or friend there to stay motivated. Soon it will become a part of your life you look forward to.

I did nothing but mope around for two years about not being able to run and promptly gained 30 pounds over that time period. Five or six months ago, besides moping, I joined my work's fitness center and, despite a very weak foot that doesn't even like walking, have slowly but surely shed 15 of those pounds without aggravating it, moping about running all the way, I might add, but feeling good mentally and physically in other ways. Get into a schedule and the pounds will melt away and the diet likely will fall into place by itself. A much better approach than yet another temporary failed diet plan, obsessing daily over the weight scale and rewarding yourself with junk food when you were good for a day (I know this from my wife).

Weight loss gets short shrift on these boards. But there is more than anecdotal evidence of a relationship between obesity and PF. So if you can do something about it, avail yourself of exercise. And you'll feel good in the process.

----

Re: Will walking and weight loss help?

Carole C in NOLA on 9/12/02 at 17:24 (095178)

But I should make it clear that now that I'm over the worst part of PF, I'm resuming my stationary bike riding. I'm being VERY careful not to make the same stupid mistakes that caused my PF, and to pay attention to my feet in case I start making other stupid mistakes.

What I did wrong, that has been identified as being the cause of my PF, is that I set the recumbent bike at the highest tension and rode it barefoot with the seat too far back, every day. I started off riding pretty hard and long (for me) rather than slowly building up like I should have done. So don't do that. :)

Now Elliott, before you say a word, I had never heard of PF and I had no idea that a person's feet could be injured by riding a recumbent bike! I thought it would be a healthy thing to do.

Carole C

Re: effect of weight changes on feet?

Carole C in NOLA on 9/12/02 at 17:49 (095183)

Elliott, congratulations on losing FIFTEEN POUNDS while recovering! I am so impressed. It's not easy to lose weight when you're hurting.

During the past couple of weeks, when moving into my new home, I gained ten pounds really fast. I can't even blame it on PF, because I know why I gained it. This weight gain was mostly due to eating beaucoup slimfast bars during the move.

You know what's weird? The extra 10 pounds didn't seem to make my PF worse (after I rested and recovered), but I started having pain in my shins and on the tops of my feet and sides of my ankles that got worse after the move was over. I know, weird, huh. Beats me. It felt like maybe something circulatory, but who knows. Bear in mind that my PF is almost gone, and if I had gained weight when it was severe I might have had more PF pain.

Anyway, these peculiar pains are already starting to feel better since I got back on Weight Watchers today. I'll be interested to see if they go away as I lose weight. Today I mowed the lawn and tomorrow I'm going to try my recumbent bike carefully. If I can ride it without messing up my feet again, I think it could really help me to lose weight.

Carole C

Re: effect of weight changes on feet?

Brian M. on 9/17/02 at 02:55 (095509)

Hi,
I'm not a Dr or anything (But I am a Nurse). Run the bike thing by your Pod before jumping back on it. Also, you might try only pedaling with the heel of your foot and not the 'usual' way of placing the ball of your foot on the pedal. This will cut down on the stretching/tearing effects of hyperextending your Plantar Fascia. Just a thought...

B.

Re: Riding an exercise bike the SMART way! thanks, Brian :)

Carole C in NOLA on 9/17/02 at 06:47 (095513)

Brian, thanks for the tips! I haven't really seen a doctor for my PF since the early stages of when I was diagnosed and sent to my C.Ped (who I haven't seen since that time either). I've never seen a Pod. My PF was pretty classic so it wasn't that hard to diagnose, and my rheumatologist who diagnosed it already had me on Celebrex for arthritis.

So anyway, I'm kind of on my own here. But, I think and hope that if I start very cautiously I should be able to tell if the recumbent bike is causing any problems before they get too bad. I'm a lot more conscious of my feet now than I was before PF.

I think that pedaling with the heel or rear part of the foot, and not the ball of the foot, sounds like a VERY smart tactic. Thanks. I was experimenting with that sort of thing and what you are saying confirms what I was thinking. If I pedal with the ball of my foot, it repeatedly stretches the bottom of my foot with each go-around in a way that doesn't feel healthy. I've noticed that if I pedal with the rear part of the foot (towards the front of the heel) then the angle of my foot to my lower leg changes only minimally during the cycle and that seems to help. I agree that's the smart way to do it.

When I got my PF from riding my bike, here are some of the things that I did that were stupid and what I'm doing to correct each problem:

1. I was riding it barefoot
...... now I'm wearing my New Balance shoes always on my bike.

2. My bike was at the highest tension
...... for now the tension is at the lowest settings (zero or one).

3. I was pushing myself to ride it a long time and hard and ignoring pain
...... I'm starting at two minutes and 0.2 miles, which isn't very long or very hard either one. I plan to build up extremely gradually and back off if I start feeling pain.

4. The seat was too far back so that I was 'twanging' my Achilles tendon with each go-around.
...... I've set the seat further forward so that my knees do not really straighten or over-stretch my hamstrings or Achilles tendon.

My life has previously been quite sedentary. I'm just someone who's trying to learn a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. It's never too late to make some healthy changes, right? I'm thinking that if I build up very very gradually and carefully this time on time, speed, and tension, I won't hurt myself.

One reason I'm persisting with this exercise bike is that for some reason, I actually LIKE riding it, or at least I don't detest it. For me, liking exercise is pretty unusual and something to cultivate. The bike fits beautifully with my lifestyle and it's something I'd really like to continue if I can learn to do it without injuring my feet again.

Eventually I'd also like to get back into walking for exercise. I do walk a little for exercise by going to the Super Wal-Mart and that type of thing, but Im talking about walking 5 miles or so several times a week like I used to do when I was younger. Right now that's probably not smart, since I'm almost a hundred pounds overweight with PF and arthritis in my knees. But I'm losing weight and maybe next year this will be a possibility for me.

Carole C

Re: Riding an exercise bike the SMART way! thanks, Brian :)

Julie on 9/17/02 at 09:00 (095522)

Carole

I was very interested to read your action plan for the recumbent bike, and for what it's worth it sounds to me as though you've got it exactly right. You're starting at the gentlest level, with everything positioned well, and will be able to monitor yourself as you gradually increase. I'm sure you'll be all right.

It IS important not to lock the knee. And, I seem to remember others who have used the RB saying in the past that the best position is the midfoot at the pedal, not the heel, and certainly not the ball. I don't know: I'm, just passing that on.

It's good that you feel able to start again, and I hope it will go well!

Re: Carole

elliott on 9/17/02 at 09:07 (095523)

I'm going to differ a bit on this advice. Obviously your list indicated some basic things you did wrong when cycling. As any beginner soon learns, you pedal at the ball and should have a slight bend in your knee when pedal is at 6 o'clock. (In cycling circles, they use the acronym KOPS, for the plumb bob you could drop down from front of knee when knee is over pedals when pedal is at bottom.) Even then, a few micro-adjustments over time to the seat (especially for very long rides on outdoor bikes) may be warranted.

Aside from being less efficient, using your heel instead of the ball, while perhaps feeling better intially for your PF, I think risks other injuries, whether to the foot, the knees, or the hips. I wouldn't cycle unless you could do it the right way.

------

Re: Riding an exercise bike the SMART way! thanks, Brian :)

Carole C in NOLA on 9/17/02 at 09:30 (095525)

That makes sense to me, Julie. I noticed that it's easier to keep the pedal at a constant angle (with respect to the earth) if I pedal with the back part of my midfoot than if I pedal with either the ball of my foot or the rear part of my heel. Otherwise things kind of flop around. Thanks. I hope it will work out, but if it doesn't I suspect the problem will be my knees rather than my feet.

Carole C

Re: ball vs. heel

elliott on 9/17/02 at 09:33 (095527)

If you look at a cycling shoe, the main stiffness is at the ball and slightly behind it. Nowadays most outdoor cyclists use clipless pedals, necessitating cleats attached to a compatible shoe at the ball and slightly behind it. The cleats do have a bit of leeway (less than an inch) to adjust back and forth, and those who experience things like forefoot numbness/discomfort are advised to adjust them in the direction of the midfoot, but even at its midfoot end, it still falls out much nearer the ball.

----

Re: Elliott

Carole C in NOLA on 9/17/02 at 09:42 (095528)

Elliott, thanks for the tips! I will double-check to see if my seat is adjusted far enough forward after reading your post. I think probably there is at least a slight bend to my knee when the pedal is at every angle, and my knees no longer hyperextend on each rotation.

When I pedal with the ball of my foot, the angle of the pedal with respect to the earth seems to change during the rotation. Things seem less secure and kind of flop around, more than they do when I pedal with the midfoot. Maybe this is due to my extreme beginner status and not having as much ankle muscle built up yet.

I appreciate the comments since I regard you as a 'real bicycler' and not a novice like me.

Carole C

Re: a question and a suggestion

elliott on 9/17/02 at 10:16 (095530)

Is there a strap over the pedal to hold your foot in place? If there's not, you'll never get enough power into your cycling motion, as the foot will come loose on the upswing, and you just can't pedal as fast and efficiently as you'd like; it really detracts from your workout and you'll burn less calories for the given time. Nowadays, only kids for the most part have strapless non-clipless pedals. If there is a strap, it's probably impossible to get your heel on the pedal; even true midfoot would be tough--an indication that it's not intended to pedal with the heel.

The suggestion is to get an outdoor bike and go for long rides. There are two main advantages: First, you are more motivated and less bored due to the change in scenery, and given NO, all of it no doubt beautiful. While most people have trouble riding a stationary bike daily and for more than half an hour, you can go for hours outdoors, which is all the more reason it is important to be 'dialled in' correctly), and you can get those oh-so-gentle clipless pedals, which allow your foot to float horizontally on the pedal while still locked in to it vertically, thereby allowing an efficient pedal stroke but still aiding in preventing any foot or knee injuries or sometimes allowing those with them to still ride. Of course, there are some minor drawbacks, e.g. increased likelihood of getting hit/killed by a vehicle. If you're ever serious about an outdoor bike, let me know and I'll post a whole bunch about getting fit, pedals, etc.

----

Re: a question and a suggestion

Carole C in NOLA on 9/17/02 at 11:22 (095533)

There isn't a strap. A strap might have come with the bike but if so I didn't put it on because in the past I had thought them annoying. I'll look in the drawer where I store things like that and see if I find one.

Eventually I do plan to get an outdoor bike, but it would be pretty pointless to ride an outdoor bike for 2 minutes which is how long I'm riding each day so far. But in time I will be riding longer and could switch. The summers are brutally hot and oppressively humid here but summer is nearly over. You are right about the scenery being beautiful and it would be a great way to explore my new neighborhood. If I ever get into really good shape and can ride for a half hour or more, I've heard there are bike trails along the levees which should provide a great view and a place to ride undisturbed and without having to risk being hit/killed.

Right now I don't dare push myself until I'm sure that what I'm doing isn't going to give me PF again. My first goal is to slowly work up to riding a mile in five minutes at least four days a week. As wimpy as that may sound, I would be very happy to make that much progress. At that point, I think I would feel pretty sure that my basic approach is right. Then I'd keep slowly continuing to increase the time that I ride.

Strangely, I actually LIKE riding my stationary bike and I don't have much trouble riding it daily (well, other than the catastrophe of PF last year, and some knee pain that keeps me from over-doing). So right now I'm not serious about an outdoor bike, but also I'm not ruling that out for later on when I can ride a half hour or more.

Carole C

Re: a question and a suggestion

elliott on 9/17/02 at 13:25 (095540)

I have a lot to say here.

First of all, get a strap, or perhaps a new precision stationary bike having one if necessary. It's just not the same if your feet are resting loose on the pedals, and that probably has to do with that weird angle-with-the-earth stuff you're talking about too. Your speed will increase with the strap too.

Next, actually, in general, as is common knowledge among cyclists, public bike trails (other than the narrow, rough, obstacle-laden off-road variety intended for mountain bikers and I doubt your cup of tea) are just about the WORST place to ride safely, as you'll find yourself colliding with runners, dogs with or without leashes, skateboarders, rollerbladers, other cyclists, etc., all who think they own the trail. Not the place at all to get a serious ride in even if it's called a bike trail.

Next, while darkness and rain are valid reasons (safety) not to be outside on a bike, things like hotness are not, because then you'll find yourself making an excuse for 3/4 of the year; every cyclist knows this. Just get out there, you'll find that the breeze generated by your movement cools you quite a bit, and when it's real hot you just slow the pace down, shorten the ride if necessary and make sure to stay well-hydrated.

Next, as cautious as you're trying to be, your approach is backwards. Start with time, only later go to speed. That is, build up slowly to say at least half an hour, no matter how slow the pace, before even thinking about your speed. You need to get a base first and do it safely; this is how, not by shooting for one 5-minute mile.

Finally, you will find that you can ride an outdoor bike a lot longer and farther than you think since, unlike a stationary bike, outdoors you coast a lot (but you do work a bit harder outside due to changing road conditions, grades, air resistance; the gears help with that).

I can agree with trying to reach 30 minutes on the stationary without problems before buying an outdoor bike. If you ever get an outdoor bike and stay motivated, in no time you'll save the stationary for rain, darkness, and the like. Being outdoors is a great escape.

[[[[[[[[

Re: Thanks, Elliott. :) (nm)

Carole C in NOLA on 9/17/02 at 13:35 (095542)

.

Re: Will walking and weight loss help?

Carole C in NOLA on 9/08/02 at 13:01 (094763)

Your feet are telling you NOT to walk!! Your feet need rest to heal just like any injured tissue. I'd say to pay attention to what your feet are telling you, and if it hurts, don't do it. I found that resting as much as possible with my feet up helped a lot when my PF was at its worst.

Losing weight until one is at a healthy weight for one's height is a great idea for many reasons, although its effect on PF seems to be unclear. It does seem to help some people. Personally, I lost about 80 pounds during the year before I got PF. I have not lost any since although I was only about half done with losing the weight I needed to lose. In my case, I am quite sure that my PF is not due to my overweight, because my feet felt just fine for several years when I was at my heaviest. On the other hand, overweight can cause some extra stress on the feet, so it probably wouldn't do any harm to lose weight by eating healthier foods.

Now that my feet are feeling better and I'm capable of leading my normal life, I'm planning to start trying to lose weight again and to start regular exercise again. I had planned tomorrow to be 'Day One' back on Weight Watchers. Thanks for reminding me.

Carole C

Re: Will walking and weight loss help?

Tonya on 9/09/02 at 13:01 (094828)

Have you considered using a stationary bike? I had open pf release on 09-May, and my pod forbid me to do any walking exercise program from the time i first seen him for the problems of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. He prescribed stationary biking and water aerobic/swimming only. This way you eleviate any chance of jarring or pounding of the heel.

Re: Will walking and weight loss help?

Carole C in NOLA on 9/10/02 at 22:04 (094966)

Yes, starting to ride a stationary bike, incorrectly (though I didn't know that at the time) caused my PF to begin with.

Carole C

Re: walking is not your only option for weight loss

elliott on 9/12/02 at 15:12 (095156)

If walking is painful, it's probably not good for you. If there are activities in a spa or fitness center your foot can handle, consider joining. It will help healthwise in many ways, possibly including your feet, not to mention give you a mental lift. I'm talking about: nonimpact aerobic things like stationary bike, elliptical, stepper, rower; upper body (preferably tethered) weights; tethered leg weights; abdominals, back; hips; etc. You may not be able to do everything, but you may be surprised that you can do many things. Start off slow and conservative (e.g. with weights use less of it maybe with more reps) and get the advice and assistance of the fitness person there. Not everyone there is a blonde beauty showing off her buns, so don't worry about being noticed and being embarrassed. It helps to have a partner or friend there to stay motivated. Soon it will become a part of your life you look forward to.

I did nothing but mope around for two years about not being able to run and promptly gained 30 pounds over that time period. Five or six months ago, besides moping, I joined my work's fitness center and, despite a very weak foot that doesn't even like walking, have slowly but surely shed 15 of those pounds without aggravating it, moping about running all the way, I might add, but feeling good mentally and physically in other ways. Get into a schedule and the pounds will melt away and the diet likely will fall into place by itself. A much better approach than yet another temporary failed diet plan, obsessing daily over the weight scale and rewarding yourself with junk food when you were good for a day (I know this from my wife).

Weight loss gets short shrift on these boards. But there is more than anecdotal evidence of a relationship between obesity and PF. So if you can do something about it, avail yourself of exercise. And you'll feel good in the process.

----

Re: Will walking and weight loss help?

Carole C in NOLA on 9/12/02 at 17:24 (095178)

But I should make it clear that now that I'm over the worst part of PF, I'm resuming my stationary bike riding. I'm being VERY careful not to make the same stupid mistakes that caused my PF, and to pay attention to my feet in case I start making other stupid mistakes.

What I did wrong, that has been identified as being the cause of my PF, is that I set the recumbent bike at the highest tension and rode it barefoot with the seat too far back, every day. I started off riding pretty hard and long (for me) rather than slowly building up like I should have done. So don't do that. :)

Now Elliott, before you say a word, I had never heard of PF and I had no idea that a person's feet could be injured by riding a recumbent bike! I thought it would be a healthy thing to do.

Carole C

Re: effect of weight changes on feet?

Carole C in NOLA on 9/12/02 at 17:49 (095183)

Elliott, congratulations on losing FIFTEEN POUNDS while recovering! I am so impressed. It's not easy to lose weight when you're hurting.

During the past couple of weeks, when moving into my new home, I gained ten pounds really fast. I can't even blame it on PF, because I know why I gained it. This weight gain was mostly due to eating beaucoup slimfast bars during the move.

You know what's weird? The extra 10 pounds didn't seem to make my PF worse (after I rested and recovered), but I started having pain in my shins and on the tops of my feet and sides of my ankles that got worse after the move was over. I know, weird, huh. Beats me. It felt like maybe something circulatory, but who knows. Bear in mind that my PF is almost gone, and if I had gained weight when it was severe I might have had more PF pain.

Anyway, these peculiar pains are already starting to feel better since I got back on Weight Watchers today. I'll be interested to see if they go away as I lose weight. Today I mowed the lawn and tomorrow I'm going to try my recumbent bike carefully. If I can ride it without messing up my feet again, I think it could really help me to lose weight.

Carole C

Re: effect of weight changes on feet?

Brian M. on 9/17/02 at 02:55 (095509)

Hi,
I'm not a Dr or anything (But I am a Nurse). Run the bike thing by your Pod before jumping back on it. Also, you might try only pedaling with the heel of your foot and not the 'usual' way of placing the ball of your foot on the pedal. This will cut down on the stretching/tearing effects of hyperextending your Plantar Fascia. Just a thought...

B.

Re: Riding an exercise bike the SMART way! thanks, Brian :)

Carole C in NOLA on 9/17/02 at 06:47 (095513)

Brian, thanks for the tips! I haven't really seen a doctor for my PF since the early stages of when I was diagnosed and sent to my C.Ped (who I haven't seen since that time either). I've never seen a Pod. My PF was pretty classic so it wasn't that hard to diagnose, and my rheumatologist who diagnosed it already had me on Celebrex for arthritis.

So anyway, I'm kind of on my own here. But, I think and hope that if I start very cautiously I should be able to tell if the recumbent bike is causing any problems before they get too bad. I'm a lot more conscious of my feet now than I was before PF.

I think that pedaling with the heel or rear part of the foot, and not the ball of the foot, sounds like a VERY smart tactic. Thanks. I was experimenting with that sort of thing and what you are saying confirms what I was thinking. If I pedal with the ball of my foot, it repeatedly stretches the bottom of my foot with each go-around in a way that doesn't feel healthy. I've noticed that if I pedal with the rear part of the foot (towards the front of the heel) then the angle of my foot to my lower leg changes only minimally during the cycle and that seems to help. I agree that's the smart way to do it.

When I got my PF from riding my bike, here are some of the things that I did that were stupid and what I'm doing to correct each problem:

1. I was riding it barefoot
...... now I'm wearing my New Balance shoes always on my bike.

2. My bike was at the highest tension
...... for now the tension is at the lowest settings (zero or one).

3. I was pushing myself to ride it a long time and hard and ignoring pain
...... I'm starting at two minutes and 0.2 miles, which isn't very long or very hard either one. I plan to build up extremely gradually and back off if I start feeling pain.

4. The seat was too far back so that I was 'twanging' my Achilles tendon with each go-around.
...... I've set the seat further forward so that my knees do not really straighten or over-stretch my hamstrings or Achilles tendon.

My life has previously been quite sedentary. I'm just someone who's trying to learn a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. It's never too late to make some healthy changes, right? I'm thinking that if I build up very very gradually and carefully this time on time, speed, and tension, I won't hurt myself.

One reason I'm persisting with this exercise bike is that for some reason, I actually LIKE riding it, or at least I don't detest it. For me, liking exercise is pretty unusual and something to cultivate. The bike fits beautifully with my lifestyle and it's something I'd really like to continue if I can learn to do it without injuring my feet again.

Eventually I'd also like to get back into walking for exercise. I do walk a little for exercise by going to the Super Wal-Mart and that type of thing, but Im talking about walking 5 miles or so several times a week like I used to do when I was younger. Right now that's probably not smart, since I'm almost a hundred pounds overweight with PF and arthritis in my knees. But I'm losing weight and maybe next year this will be a possibility for me.

Carole C

Re: Riding an exercise bike the SMART way! thanks, Brian :)

Julie on 9/17/02 at 09:00 (095522)

Carole

I was very interested to read your action plan for the recumbent bike, and for what it's worth it sounds to me as though you've got it exactly right. You're starting at the gentlest level, with everything positioned well, and will be able to monitor yourself as you gradually increase. I'm sure you'll be all right.

It IS important not to lock the knee. And, I seem to remember others who have used the RB saying in the past that the best position is the midfoot at the pedal, not the heel, and certainly not the ball. I don't know: I'm, just passing that on.

It's good that you feel able to start again, and I hope it will go well!

Re: Carole

elliott on 9/17/02 at 09:07 (095523)

I'm going to differ a bit on this advice. Obviously your list indicated some basic things you did wrong when cycling. As any beginner soon learns, you pedal at the ball and should have a slight bend in your knee when pedal is at 6 o'clock. (In cycling circles, they use the acronym KOPS, for the plumb bob you could drop down from front of knee when knee is over pedals when pedal is at bottom.) Even then, a few micro-adjustments over time to the seat (especially for very long rides on outdoor bikes) may be warranted.

Aside from being less efficient, using your heel instead of the ball, while perhaps feeling better intially for your PF, I think risks other injuries, whether to the foot, the knees, or the hips. I wouldn't cycle unless you could do it the right way.

------

Re: Riding an exercise bike the SMART way! thanks, Brian :)

Carole C in NOLA on 9/17/02 at 09:30 (095525)

That makes sense to me, Julie. I noticed that it's easier to keep the pedal at a constant angle (with respect to the earth) if I pedal with the back part of my midfoot than if I pedal with either the ball of my foot or the rear part of my heel. Otherwise things kind of flop around. Thanks. I hope it will work out, but if it doesn't I suspect the problem will be my knees rather than my feet.

Carole C

Re: ball vs. heel

elliott on 9/17/02 at 09:33 (095527)

If you look at a cycling shoe, the main stiffness is at the ball and slightly behind it. Nowadays most outdoor cyclists use clipless pedals, necessitating cleats attached to a compatible shoe at the ball and slightly behind it. The cleats do have a bit of leeway (less than an inch) to adjust back and forth, and those who experience things like forefoot numbness/discomfort are advised to adjust them in the direction of the midfoot, but even at its midfoot end, it still falls out much nearer the ball.

----

Re: Elliott

Carole C in NOLA on 9/17/02 at 09:42 (095528)

Elliott, thanks for the tips! I will double-check to see if my seat is adjusted far enough forward after reading your post. I think probably there is at least a slight bend to my knee when the pedal is at every angle, and my knees no longer hyperextend on each rotation.

When I pedal with the ball of my foot, the angle of the pedal with respect to the earth seems to change during the rotation. Things seem less secure and kind of flop around, more than they do when I pedal with the midfoot. Maybe this is due to my extreme beginner status and not having as much ankle muscle built up yet.

I appreciate the comments since I regard you as a 'real bicycler' and not a novice like me.

Carole C

Re: a question and a suggestion

elliott on 9/17/02 at 10:16 (095530)

Is there a strap over the pedal to hold your foot in place? If there's not, you'll never get enough power into your cycling motion, as the foot will come loose on the upswing, and you just can't pedal as fast and efficiently as you'd like; it really detracts from your workout and you'll burn less calories for the given time. Nowadays, only kids for the most part have strapless non-clipless pedals. If there is a strap, it's probably impossible to get your heel on the pedal; even true midfoot would be tough--an indication that it's not intended to pedal with the heel.

The suggestion is to get an outdoor bike and go for long rides. There are two main advantages: First, you are more motivated and less bored due to the change in scenery, and given NO, all of it no doubt beautiful. While most people have trouble riding a stationary bike daily and for more than half an hour, you can go for hours outdoors, which is all the more reason it is important to be 'dialled in' correctly), and you can get those oh-so-gentle clipless pedals, which allow your foot to float horizontally on the pedal while still locked in to it vertically, thereby allowing an efficient pedal stroke but still aiding in preventing any foot or knee injuries or sometimes allowing those with them to still ride. Of course, there are some minor drawbacks, e.g. increased likelihood of getting hit/killed by a vehicle. If you're ever serious about an outdoor bike, let me know and I'll post a whole bunch about getting fit, pedals, etc.

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Re: a question and a suggestion

Carole C in NOLA on 9/17/02 at 11:22 (095533)

There isn't a strap. A strap might have come with the bike but if so I didn't put it on because in the past I had thought them annoying. I'll look in the drawer where I store things like that and see if I find one.

Eventually I do plan to get an outdoor bike, but it would be pretty pointless to ride an outdoor bike for 2 minutes which is how long I'm riding each day so far. But in time I will be riding longer and could switch. The summers are brutally hot and oppressively humid here but summer is nearly over. You are right about the scenery being beautiful and it would be a great way to explore my new neighborhood. If I ever get into really good shape and can ride for a half hour or more, I've heard there are bike trails along the levees which should provide a great view and a place to ride undisturbed and without having to risk being hit/killed.

Right now I don't dare push myself until I'm sure that what I'm doing isn't going to give me PF again. My first goal is to slowly work up to riding a mile in five minutes at least four days a week. As wimpy as that may sound, I would be very happy to make that much progress. At that point, I think I would feel pretty sure that my basic approach is right. Then I'd keep slowly continuing to increase the time that I ride.

Strangely, I actually LIKE riding my stationary bike and I don't have much trouble riding it daily (well, other than the catastrophe of PF last year, and some knee pain that keeps me from over-doing). So right now I'm not serious about an outdoor bike, but also I'm not ruling that out for later on when I can ride a half hour or more.

Carole C

Re: a question and a suggestion

elliott on 9/17/02 at 13:25 (095540)

I have a lot to say here.

First of all, get a strap, or perhaps a new precision stationary bike having one if necessary. It's just not the same if your feet are resting loose on the pedals, and that probably has to do with that weird angle-with-the-earth stuff you're talking about too. Your speed will increase with the strap too.

Next, actually, in general, as is common knowledge among cyclists, public bike trails (other than the narrow, rough, obstacle-laden off-road variety intended for mountain bikers and I doubt your cup of tea) are just about the WORST place to ride safely, as you'll find yourself colliding with runners, dogs with or without leashes, skateboarders, rollerbladers, other cyclists, etc., all who think they own the trail. Not the place at all to get a serious ride in even if it's called a bike trail.

Next, while darkness and rain are valid reasons (safety) not to be outside on a bike, things like hotness are not, because then you'll find yourself making an excuse for 3/4 of the year; every cyclist knows this. Just get out there, you'll find that the breeze generated by your movement cools you quite a bit, and when it's real hot you just slow the pace down, shorten the ride if necessary and make sure to stay well-hydrated.

Next, as cautious as you're trying to be, your approach is backwards. Start with time, only later go to speed. That is, build up slowly to say at least half an hour, no matter how slow the pace, before even thinking about your speed. You need to get a base first and do it safely; this is how, not by shooting for one 5-minute mile.

Finally, you will find that you can ride an outdoor bike a lot longer and farther than you think since, unlike a stationary bike, outdoors you coast a lot (but you do work a bit harder outside due to changing road conditions, grades, air resistance; the gears help with that).

I can agree with trying to reach 30 minutes on the stationary without problems before buying an outdoor bike. If you ever get an outdoor bike and stay motivated, in no time you'll save the stationary for rain, darkness, and the like. Being outdoors is a great escape.

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Re: Thanks, Elliott. :) (nm)

Carole C in NOLA on 9/17/02 at 13:35 (095542)

.