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Was: Advice on Walking

Posted by R C on 11/14/02 at 21:09 (100183)

To Chuck and Jen, and other long-time sufferers of PF:

(I missed your posts a few days ago...)

I don't have any quick answers to offer, but I thought you might appreciate a hopeful message. I had PF for over 2 years, and tried just about everything. Eventually I found a combination of things that worked for me, kept at it religiously for many months, and now I am cured. There was a very depressing time when i thought I would never again do some very ordinary but special things -- go for a walk with my wife, carry my child in my arms, help my in-laws with their luggage(!) -- without feeling significant heel pain. So try to keep your chin up, don't give up on finding a cure, and let us know how we can help you.

As for walking, I recommend keeping it to a minimum until the PF goes away.

Re: Was: Advice on Walking

Leon S. on 11/15/02 at 15:46 (100298)

R C, you mentioned that you found a combination of things that worked for you, what were they?

Re: Was: Advice on Walking

R C on 11/15/02 at 21:00 (100329)

Leon,

I had PF in the right foot only. It was a sudden onset case (I would call it acute) associated with heavy strainduring a long weekend of moving furniture. As further background, I have very flat feet and was a daily runner (2 to 3 miles, nothing spectacular).

after having tried everything short of surgery, this is what worked for me:

4 weeks in a hard cast (fiberglass, I think), with crutches. My bad foot did not touch the ground (I think this was crucial).

When the cast came off, I still had pain while walking, but the 'stone bruise' pain was completely gone. I continued with the crutches and went through 4 weeks weeks of physical therapy (the therapist was superb, which was also a key component). Gradually I weaned myself off crutches. I used tape whenever I attempted to walk without crutches. This I believe prevented re-injury during the most vulnerable period.

I continue taping even to this day (seven months after the cast), though I usually remove the tape during the evening without adverse effect. Eventually i will wean myself off tape, using it only if I expect to walk long distances or dio something strenuous. But at this point the foot appears to be completely normal.

I should also point out that I did non-weight bearing stretches, a little heat on the calves, occasional ice, gentle massage, and night splint -- these did not seem to cure the PF, but helped to hold the gains. Cortisone did nothing for me (tried three times), and orthotics were an unmitigated disaster.

I managed to lose about 25 pounds by eating less (but very carefully) and exercising, and I think that has made a very big difference: Think of how much more strain and pain there is in an injured foot if you have to carry around a 25 pound sack of potatoes.

I hope you find this in some way useful.

R C

Re: Was: Advice on Walking

pala on 11/15/02 at 21:17 (100333)

folks who live in your area might be interested in who the physical therapist is

Re: Was: Advice on Walking

R C on 11/16/02 at 12:13 (100404)

The area is Virginia Beach/Norfolk. The place to call is Atlantic Physical Therapy. Ask for Sandy.While I'm at it, I might also mention Dr. Michael Graham of Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists, who was the referring physician and the one who put me in a cast.

Re: Was: Advice on Walking

pala on 11/16/02 at 14:16 (100418)

thanks rc, it's amazing how many folks share the fact that something or someone helped without any details that can help others. you are a giver.

Re: Advice on PT?

Jen on 11/18/02 at 21:28 (100611)

Hi R C,
Thanks so much for your kind message. Frankly I am sometimes very depressed. PF is not fatal by itself, but I have been feeling the effect it has on my general health. Since I did not do any outdoor physical excercises for months, and I could not bring myself up to some indoor activities, I've been catching cold or flu easily this fall, which was very unusual in the past. And the worst part is the phychological impact. When you tried everything you can but nothing really works, it made you wonder if you can realy put up living like this for the rest of your life.

Can you give more detailed information on your physical therapy? I did PT about 20 sessions with only limited improvement. I'm thinking about going to another therapist if necessary. I live in New Jersey, and have to find a good one here. Thanks again.

Jen

Re: Advice on PT?

R C on 11/19/02 at 21:27 (100701)

I can only comment on PT in the context of having had a cast on. I wore a hard non-removable fiberglass cast for four weeks. At the end of this time, my leg had clearly atrophied to some extent -- maybe it was about 15% smaller than the good side. Plus I could barely move at the ankle or stand on that side, since the muscles and other tissues had lost their strength and flexibility. The PF had largely healed, however. The task for the therapist was to help me rebuild the strength and flexibility in all of those areas without placing in peril the gains that had been made in the PF.

We started with extremely gentle exercises (moving marbles unsing only the toes, flexing ankle against light elastic band, etc.), and progressed to weight machines and ankle weights.

Without something like casting (or what else), to precede it, I cannot say what benefit PT would have. The injury must first heal before you can rehabilitate it(?).

As far as exercises goes, when I was down and out with a cast and a messed up hip (from using crutches!), I still did gut crunches and did a pair of 5 pound dumbbells -- even with the TV on. After a while you can get creative with different exercises with dumbbells, and end up working a lot of muscle areas. Amazing what it can do to lift your mood after doing some dumbell exercise and watching a sitcom!

I wish you well--

Re: Advice on PT?

Jen on 11/21/02 at 13:02 (100808)

Thanks very much for the information you gave. Although we have different situations -I was not in cast, I can tell the individualized step by step approach is important in PT. And that is missing in my two-months PT. I received ultrasound and electro-stimulation treatments and sometimes massage, but I feel like the patients in that place are on an invisible assembly line. The only difference is that you don't move while the person who connects you up to the machines come to you when they remember it. And I in the acute stage of PF was instructed by the therapist to stay standing on my toes to do the excercises. It caused more pain and perhaps reinjury. He was in disbelieve when I told him. Then I had to give up with him. Now I know what to look for when trying another PT.
Take care, and be happy & healthy!

Re: Advice on PT?

Mahatmelissama on 11/22/02 at 11:23 (100906)

Omigoodness..pls try another PT!

I had similar experience with PT...he wanted me to do the runner's stretch and kept me doing it for 15 minutes, exclaiming how unflexible I seemed to be.

I had extreme bad pain for 3 days after that and called him and told him.

I now go to a chiropractor who usually leaves me feeling BETTER not WORSE after treatment (once in a blue moon worse but nothing majorly bad).

Re: Advice on PT?

pala on 11/22/02 at 12:17 (100910)

i have had a pt who saw four patients at one time. ran from one to the other. if i said something she did hurt, she did it harder. she was a monster. i now have a pt who sees one patient at a time. me. she never causes pain. ever. when her department was getting rid of an old tilt table that costs a lot of money she gave it to me!!! there are doctors and then there are doctors. there are pt's and then there are pt's. it's a big world out there. i've learned not to put up with the slightest bull from any of them. a cheeky secretary? i'm outa there. a dentist who doesn't quite hear that i want the one tooth x rayed not the whole mouth. outa there. the pod, doctor pt touches rough, doesnt listen well, is too busy to treat me well. you guessed it. outa there. i am paying big bucks. i'm treated great in every way or , well, you guessed it. i learned this after being horribly harmed by many of the above. or at least made to feel like dirt. i'm in charge, i'm empowered. they will provide value for dollars or they will be summarily dismissed. i am never rude by the way. i am friendly and very firm now. most hote it. the good ones love it and respect me for it. the good ones don't shy away from patients like me. they encourage my attitude. needless to say i must be willling to make the appt. travel to it and drop it the minute my instincts tell me to run, hobble or crawl away. this is a hsassle. but i know it will be more than a hassle, it will be a nightmare, if one of them gets to 'do' me like they did me before i got savvy.

Re: Was: Advice on Walking

Leon S. on 11/15/02 at 15:46 (100298)

R C, you mentioned that you found a combination of things that worked for you, what were they?

Re: Was: Advice on Walking

R C on 11/15/02 at 21:00 (100329)

Leon,

I had PF in the right foot only. It was a sudden onset case (I would call it acute) associated with heavy strainduring a long weekend of moving furniture. As further background, I have very flat feet and was a daily runner (2 to 3 miles, nothing spectacular).

after having tried everything short of surgery, this is what worked for me:

4 weeks in a hard cast (fiberglass, I think), with crutches. My bad foot did not touch the ground (I think this was crucial).

When the cast came off, I still had pain while walking, but the 'stone bruise' pain was completely gone. I continued with the crutches and went through 4 weeks weeks of physical therapy (the therapist was superb, which was also a key component). Gradually I weaned myself off crutches. I used tape whenever I attempted to walk without crutches. This I believe prevented re-injury during the most vulnerable period.

I continue taping even to this day (seven months after the cast), though I usually remove the tape during the evening without adverse effect. Eventually i will wean myself off tape, using it only if I expect to walk long distances or dio something strenuous. But at this point the foot appears to be completely normal.

I should also point out that I did non-weight bearing stretches, a little heat on the calves, occasional ice, gentle massage, and night splint -- these did not seem to cure the PF, but helped to hold the gains. Cortisone did nothing for me (tried three times), and orthotics were an unmitigated disaster.

I managed to lose about 25 pounds by eating less (but very carefully) and exercising, and I think that has made a very big difference: Think of how much more strain and pain there is in an injured foot if you have to carry around a 25 pound sack of potatoes.

I hope you find this in some way useful.

R C

Re: Was: Advice on Walking

pala on 11/15/02 at 21:17 (100333)

folks who live in your area might be interested in who the physical therapist is

Re: Was: Advice on Walking

R C on 11/16/02 at 12:13 (100404)

The area is Virginia Beach/Norfolk. The place to call is Atlantic Physical Therapy. Ask for Sandy.While I'm at it, I might also mention Dr. Michael Graham of Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists, who was the referring physician and the one who put me in a cast.

Re: Was: Advice on Walking

pala on 11/16/02 at 14:16 (100418)

thanks rc, it's amazing how many folks share the fact that something or someone helped without any details that can help others. you are a giver.

Re: Advice on PT?

Jen on 11/18/02 at 21:28 (100611)

Hi R C,
Thanks so much for your kind message. Frankly I am sometimes very depressed. PF is not fatal by itself, but I have been feeling the effect it has on my general health. Since I did not do any outdoor physical excercises for months, and I could not bring myself up to some indoor activities, I've been catching cold or flu easily this fall, which was very unusual in the past. And the worst part is the phychological impact. When you tried everything you can but nothing really works, it made you wonder if you can realy put up living like this for the rest of your life.

Can you give more detailed information on your physical therapy? I did PT about 20 sessions with only limited improvement. I'm thinking about going to another therapist if necessary. I live in New Jersey, and have to find a good one here. Thanks again.

Jen

Re: Advice on PT?

R C on 11/19/02 at 21:27 (100701)

I can only comment on PT in the context of having had a cast on. I wore a hard non-removable fiberglass cast for four weeks. At the end of this time, my leg had clearly atrophied to some extent -- maybe it was about 15% smaller than the good side. Plus I could barely move at the ankle or stand on that side, since the muscles and other tissues had lost their strength and flexibility. The PF had largely healed, however. The task for the therapist was to help me rebuild the strength and flexibility in all of those areas without placing in peril the gains that had been made in the PF.

We started with extremely gentle exercises (moving marbles unsing only the toes, flexing ankle against light elastic band, etc.), and progressed to weight machines and ankle weights.

Without something like casting (or what else), to precede it, I cannot say what benefit PT would have. The injury must first heal before you can rehabilitate it(?).

As far as exercises goes, when I was down and out with a cast and a messed up hip (from using crutches!), I still did gut crunches and did a pair of 5 pound dumbbells -- even with the TV on. After a while you can get creative with different exercises with dumbbells, and end up working a lot of muscle areas. Amazing what it can do to lift your mood after doing some dumbell exercise and watching a sitcom!

I wish you well--

Re: Advice on PT?

Jen on 11/21/02 at 13:02 (100808)

Thanks very much for the information you gave. Although we have different situations -I was not in cast, I can tell the individualized step by step approach is important in PT. And that is missing in my two-months PT. I received ultrasound and electro-stimulation treatments and sometimes massage, but I feel like the patients in that place are on an invisible assembly line. The only difference is that you don't move while the person who connects you up to the machines come to you when they remember it. And I in the acute stage of PF was instructed by the therapist to stay standing on my toes to do the excercises. It caused more pain and perhaps reinjury. He was in disbelieve when I told him. Then I had to give up with him. Now I know what to look for when trying another PT.
Take care, and be happy & healthy!

Re: Advice on PT?

Mahatmelissama on 11/22/02 at 11:23 (100906)

Omigoodness..pls try another PT!

I had similar experience with PT...he wanted me to do the runner's stretch and kept me doing it for 15 minutes, exclaiming how unflexible I seemed to be.

I had extreme bad pain for 3 days after that and called him and told him.

I now go to a chiropractor who usually leaves me feeling BETTER not WORSE after treatment (once in a blue moon worse but nothing majorly bad).

Re: Advice on PT?

pala on 11/22/02 at 12:17 (100910)

i have had a pt who saw four patients at one time. ran from one to the other. if i said something she did hurt, she did it harder. she was a monster. i now have a pt who sees one patient at a time. me. she never causes pain. ever. when her department was getting rid of an old tilt table that costs a lot of money she gave it to me!!! there are doctors and then there are doctors. there are pt's and then there are pt's. it's a big world out there. i've learned not to put up with the slightest bull from any of them. a cheeky secretary? i'm outa there. a dentist who doesn't quite hear that i want the one tooth x rayed not the whole mouth. outa there. the pod, doctor pt touches rough, doesnt listen well, is too busy to treat me well. you guessed it. outa there. i am paying big bucks. i'm treated great in every way or , well, you guessed it. i learned this after being horribly harmed by many of the above. or at least made to feel like dirt. i'm in charge, i'm empowered. they will provide value for dollars or they will be summarily dismissed. i am never rude by the way. i am friendly and very firm now. most hote it. the good ones love it and respect me for it. the good ones don't shy away from patients like me. they encourage my attitude. needless to say i must be willling to make the appt. travel to it and drop it the minute my instincts tell me to run, hobble or crawl away. this is a hsassle. but i know it will be more than a hassle, it will be a nightmare, if one of them gets to 'do' me like they did me before i got savvy.