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Would anyone like to share their story?

Posted by pw on 4/19/03 at 17:09 (116586)

Hi everyone -
I wonder about the 'demographics' here - varying ages, differing causes of the PF, treatment choices, etc.

I'm in my upper 40s, have had leg pain off and on for some time, but developed heel pain about a year ago. Podiatrist said it was PF, pushed for me to buy expensive orthotics. I think mine was caused by years of walking barefoot at home. The foot pain has gotten worse and I now have more consistent pain from the heel, through the calf, thigh and into hip and lower back. Getting very frustrated about the pain, as it's begun to interfere with activities: almost impossible to ride in car for very long, harder to work at computer, even standing hurts as I'm noticing more pain in my other leg as well.

Prescription anti-inflammatories did not seem to help.

Epsom salt soaks felt good, but didn't offer much relief.

Have tried ice and heat and those treatments might or might not help - I think it depends on severity of pain.

A few days ago, I found some inexpensive shoes called Okabashi which are foot therapy shoes designed for reflexology. I thought 'great!' - wore them for a days and my foot and leg hurt more!

Bought a lace-up ankle stabilizer, but the top edge of it cut into my foot and made my toes tingle.

I even soaked my foot today in hot water with baking soda! Am I desperate or what? I don't know, baking soda is good for a lot of things, so I thought why not give it a try? (lol)

Today, I've begun to take plain old Tylenol.

If anyone would like to share their story, please do.

And (gentlemen, forgive the exclusion here), but are any of you ladies on the board near menopause age? I do wonder if some of the leg pain experienced by some women might be due in part to the hormonal changes of menopause.

Everyone have a good weekend.

Re: Would anyone like to share their story?

BrianJ on 4/20/03 at 12:41 (116621)

Hi PW --

You might want to give more detail about the type of pain you are experiencing and its specific location. From your general description, you could possibly have PF, spinal stenosis, a disk issue in your back, sciatica, or circulatory/vascular issues. Also, you might want to post on the 'ask the doctors' board.

Happy Easter, and I hope you start feeling better soon.

Re: Would anyone like to share their story?

pw on 4/20/03 at 16:23 (116626)

Thanks, BrianJ -

Circulation checked ok, mild arthritis in lower back. I'm pretty sure the leg pain is the PF.

Basically, my post was just to share some of the things I've tried, and ask others details of their PF - what caused it, treatment choices, ages, etc. Just general info.

Re: Would anyone like to share their story?

Kathy G on 4/21/03 at 09:22 (116666)

Hi pw,

If you read Scott's Heel Pain Book, you'll see the results of his most recent survey on demographics of the people who have come to these Boards. Having posted here for about two years, I'd say that the present demographics are really all over the place. We have many runners here, male and female, and almost all of us do, or did, exercise on a regular basis before getting PF. My guess is that currently, age-wise, we run from the early thirties to the mid-sixties.

Each of us has a different story and background. Some of our posters are cured, or almost cured, and many of us are much better than we were when we first got PF and discovered these Boards.

My story, trying to be as brief as possible, and I tend to ramble as the regulars will tell you, is that eight years ago I developed an atypical Morton's Neuroma on my right foot. At the same time, I was also experiencing a great deal of arch pain. The timeline gets kind of fuzzy but ultimately I got custom orthotics which seemed to help the Neuroma pain a great deal but did not help my arch pain a great deal. My biggest mistake was asking my doctor if I could try Physical Therapy where they had me do all the wrong things for PF. I came out of PT with full-blown PF, and experienced heel pain for the first time. I finally had to give up my part-time job which involved standing as for me, as with many others, standing is an extremely painful activity.

From these boards, I learned not to do wall strethes or hang from the stairs and hundreds of other things not to do. I also was able to figure out the things that worked best for me. They are Vioxx, icing, resting, custom orthtoics, and doing Yoga stretches that a lovely lady named Julie who is a Yoga instructor shared with us.

I can tell you that many of our posters are almost completely healed. Some, like me, find that we can do much more than we used to but that our activity level has never come back to what it once was. One of the most encouraging things is that many find that when we overdo it, it takes less time for our feet to 'bounce back' to a near-normal state and that is very heartening.

I was going to tell you to do a seach under Yoga stretches for the stretches to do but I realized it was just as easy for me to post them so below, I have cut and pasted Julie's stretches. I would highly recommend that you try them.

Here are Julie's 'Yoga foot exercises' (I copied and pasted them from a recent post):

These are simple yoga exercises for the feet. They're part of a series for all the joints called Pawanmuktasana. That means 'energy-releasing exercises', and they release energy by speeding the removal of toxins from the joints. They work systematically and precisely on the joints and on their associated muscles, tendons and ligaments. They can be done sitting on the floor with the legs outstretched (a difficult position to hold, especially for people with low back problems), or lying down, or sitting in a chair, or standing on alternate legs (a non-no for folks with PF). Sitting in a chair and lying down are best.

These exercises can be helpful in cases of plantar fasciitis in several ways.

1. They improve circulation generally. In particular they increase blood flow to the areas being worked on, which promotes healing.

2. They gently stretch the calf muscles and achilles tendons, which in time reduces the strain on the PF.

3. They strengthen the entire musculature of the feet and ankles.

4. They improve range of motion, and help to avoid losing it during the 'down time' of decreased activity.

TOE BENDING AND STRETCHING

This one works the toe joints (all 28 of them) while holding a gentle stretch through the achilles tendons and calf muscles; and works the entire musculature of the feet.

Extend one heel forward and hold this gentle stretch while working on your toes.

Curl your toes forward, as if making fists of your feet. (Don't do this so enthusiastically that you give yourself a cramp.)

Then stretch the toes and spread them: make spaces between them.

Do this nine times, breathing out as you curl the toes, and breathing in as you stretch them.

Repeat with the other foot, then with both feet.

ANKLE BENDING

This one works on the ankle joints and on the achilles/soleus/ gastrocnemuis complex. It helps to increase ankle dorsiflexion, the essential thing for PF-ers who are generally tight in this area.

Bend the feet forwards at the ankles, and then bend them back, one at a time, then together.

Do each nine times on each foot, then both feet, breathing out as you bend forwards, in as you bend back.

ANKLE ROTATIONS

Circle the feet at the ankles, slowly and carefully, nine times in each direction, first one foot, then the other, then both. Breathe freely.

****

If you co-ordinate your movements with your breath it increases their effectiveness because it (a) slows you down and (b) makes you more aware of what you're doing.

I've practised and taught these exercises for many years. They are effective and powerful, and useful for people with PF because they're both non- weight-bearing and specific. And they're very energizing.

I do them in the morning before I get out of bed, and would recommend this to anyone with PF to help avoid the 'first step' pain.

They can be done as many times a day as you like: the more the better. It's good to do them before getting up after sitting for awhile.

I hope you will find these exercises helpful.

All the best for your healing.

Message Number 105398

Julie's yoga foot exercises for PF View Thread
Posted by Sharon W on 1/13

I hope that this has helped you, pw, and I hope that you continue to come back to these boards. Don't hesitate to post on our Social Board where you can vent your absolute frustration that you can't do the things you used to be able to do. Believe me, we can all relate! We have a nice little community here and we all try to help our new friends!

Welcome, and may your healing start!

Kathy

Re: Would anyone like to share their story?

marie on 4/21/03 at 13:42 (116700)

I am 45 and am post menopausal. I was an early menopause and had no hormone treatments because my doc said I was too young for menopause. That was when I was 39. I went through it without any help or support. He finally tested me and the results not only confirmed it but he said it was the highest score he'd ever seen. I feel that my problems (TTS and PF) are related to a hormone change. There is some research about menopause and foot problems. I use a a menopause formula progesterone cream. I use it on my feet, ankles calves and knees. It has helped. You can purchase it in the vitamin dept. at Walmart. That is the only place I have seen it. All I know is that if I go several days without it I cna barely walk by the end of the week.

marie

Re: corr with menopause

lara t on 4/21/03 at 19:09 (116741)

Tell me more about the correction on menopause and feet problems (particularly TTS). I've suspected a relationship for awhile

Re: corr with menopause

Pam S. on 4/21/03 at 23:01 (116769)

HI Lara:
I have wondered about this too. All and I mean ALL of my symptoms with my feet began with menopause. SO does that mean when menopause is behind us our feet will be healed. I am dreaming.......

Re: Would anyone like to share their story?

Ellen J. on 4/27/03 at 19:49 (117233)

Hi,
Re; baking soda which you mentioned in your note, I agree that it's great for lots of thing. I use it to cure canker sores by drinking 1/2 teaspoon of it mixed with 6 oz water. It seems to make the body and mouth less acidic, relieves the pain and shortens the duration.

For me, anti-inflammatories didn't help much but I mostly avoided them anyway since I don't like to put drugs in my body if possible (other than caffeine, which is my favorite drug! I love coffee). Celebrex was a waste of money and I reacted badly to it, by the way. Advil is much better for me, but everyone's body chemistry is different so I suppose we all take to different things.

I got P.F. 4 yrs ago when I was 39.

I was a runner who overpronates moderately.

I think I got P.F. more from a pair of boots with high (2') heels rather than from running but I'm not sure. The low boots I wore were quite comfortable, but now if I try to wear them my feet 'scream' at me! If I try to wear any heels at all my feet really hurt.

My feet feel great now, as long as I don't do too much. I'm currently trying to get past this final stage without getting a bad relapse, so that I can once again exercise. I'm doing that by using the foot trainer and walking barefoot a little bit. Walking barefoot is a big no-no for p.f. sufferers. However, I am experimenting to see if by gradually getting my feet accustomed to going barefoot, I might strengthen the muscles that have become weak over the years. This thinking of mine is probably way off base and I know that I risk reinjury by doing this but am being very careful to walk barefoot on carpets and for only short periods of time. So far it's been OK. I'm not reccomending this to others--just stating what I'm doing, insane as it is.

I'm also walking short distances outdoors to try and exercise my feet and make them more fit. I'm careful to avoid steep hills.

One thing that really aggravates my feet is STRESS. My feet have been feeling great lately until the other day when my pet rabbit began having seizures. I had hand-raised her from a newborn (she was orphaned) and was quite attached. The stress involved with rushing to the vets, multiple phone calls to various info sources, etc. caused my feet to react. I was surprised by this
but it makes sense, I guess. The rabbit is still alive with probable encephalitis and now that she's recovering, my feet feel better.

I also wonder if anyone else out there has dreams about their feet. Whenever I experienced anxiety about certain things that occured in life, I would have dreams about walking with bare feet on thorns, snow, etc. and looking for shoes to cover my feet from the discomfort. Then I got p.f. and still have dreams about my feet, though the current dreams are of healthy feet and running--fun things.
Well, sorry to ramble. You told us to tell our story and I guess I overdid it!
Ellen

Re: Would anyone like to share their story?

Dorothy C. on 5/07/03 at 18:36 (118052)

I think the PF I have been experiencing for about 6-8 months stems from several factors. Being overweight, I decided to increase my activity level and began a very vigorous walking program, all on hard and extremely uneven surfaces. Being cheap about some things, I decided to stick with my old, worn-out sneakers that had long before lost their cushioning. Around the same time, I heard the author of the book 'AstroFit' interviewed and he commented on a simple exercise that he thought was key to maintaining good bone health; it involved simply bouncing up and down on one's heels, on a hard surface; the point being to provide enough shock to the bones to stimulate bone strength ... please understand this is from memory and paraphrase and quite awhile ago, so my current recounting may be full of error.... anyway, as I walked on the hard, uneven surfaces in my much worn sneakers, I did, indeed, pause at every intersection and proceed to bounce my somewhat round body up and down on those precious heels in the belief that I was doing something good for my skeletal system like the NASA astronauts did!
Then my husband and I decided to resume a regular yoga practice, did 'Downward Dog' too soon and too much. I also have some history of sciatica and that seemed to rear its ugly head around the same time. All together, these things finally brought my feet into full rebellion and they screamed, 'Enough! We quit!' Since all of this, I have rested, done some stretches, tried various shoes...all with only mild improvement. Then I purchased some Foot Trainers, continued to explore various shoes (I am a great fan of Dansko) and am feeling ready to begin a wiser, better, appropriate exercise regimen again. I think the Foot Trainers are very helpful. I think Danskos are very helpful. I think massage is very helpful. Recently, I added some supplements (Per Sharon's post on this site) that I think are helpful, but still experimenting with all. I think this website is VERY helpful and I am very grateful for it. End of story, thus far.

Re: Would anyone like to share their story?

Sandra D on 5/08/03 at 09:25 (118086)

My heel pain started in 1998. I kept noticing that my right heel hurt when I got up in the morning. Finally after about 4 months of pain, I went to my doctor and described the pain and was told that I had PF. He gave me a shot or cortizone and told me the pain would probably go away. WRONG, the shot helped for about 3 months and the the pain came back with a vegenance. I bought new tennis shoes and suffered for about another year. Finally I went back to the doctor (MD) and got another shot and he set me up with some threapy. The exercises they taught me helped some. The night splint has helped some also. It was not until about 3 weeks ago I found this site I leared about taping. The taping has been a God-send. I have also subscribed to a magazine for my shoes. This short note cannot begin to explain the pain I have felt. Some days tears flowed down my face just getting up in the morning and trying to work. I religously view this site daily. I am trying the yoga exercises now, because stretching hurts so much. Some days I can only use rest and ice. I have just started a serious diet hoping that losing weight will also help with the pain. I work with social services so sometime I am on my feet a lot. Also jut recently I started a Wedding Service, doing most of the catering. 16 hours on and off my feet have been brutal. I fully intend recover. Thanks to all of you who have shared stories, this site makes my day.

Re: Would anyone like to share their story?

Sarah T. on 5/09/03 at 01:15 (118154)

Hi Sandra, Thought I would reply to your story. This is the first time I've been to this site... It's comforting to realize that other people are in agony too and that i'm not just a big wuss!! I was allergic to my child during my pregnancy and was treated with steroids, causing serious weight gain. i beleive this to be what brought on my PF. I had a cortisone injection about 10 months ago, but am miserable again. I had ortotics made, but didn't really wear them as I thought erroneously that the shot had fixed my problem. I am currently trying to be seen again by a podiatrist, but have found wonderful advice here!! I am anxious to try combinations of remedies..but I am also disheartened...feeling that it is so unfair that I will have to be conscious of my feet the rest of my life. I'm only 29!!! I am also hoping weight loss will help, but that's a whole other issue. Tell me in detail how to do the taping, if you would. I have very high arches and would like extra support. Also, tell me a bit more about your night splint...Thanks much!