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What form of home exercise will not aggravate PF?

Posted by Andy O on 7/16/03 at 11:11 (124540)

My PF has gone in remission, but I have recently resumed using my treadmill and found that my feet are becoming aggravated again, so I'll have to stop.
But there must be a different form of exercise (aside from swimming) that I can do. How about elliptical trainers, or exercise bikes. Are these safer for PF sufferers than treadmills?

Re: What form of home exercise will not aggravate PF?

Sharon W on 7/16/03 at 12:45 (124549)


Treadmills are VERY bad for PF; I don't know the details of why but one of the doctors explained it to us at some point... I've found that I can ride an exercise bike, although some have found that those will aggravate it, too. I don't know about elliptical trainers.

Do you know about Julie's Yoga Stretches? They sure did seem to help ME. (What I just wrote should have provided you with a link to them...)


Re: What form of home exercise will not aggravate PF?

CELIA on 7/16/03 at 16:27 (124565)

Hi Andy! I have had PF for five years now! I have a friend who's recuperated from PF, but he caught it at an early stage. I didn't with mine. ;0( Anyway, one thing that my friend was telling me was that his doctor said not to use the elliptical. I had to know this because when I used the elliptical, I would get a great workout, but I would also be in pain the next day! I guess what happens is that while you're moving your feet, your calves and achilles are also having to do a different type of movement since you're stationary. The way the elliptical moves, it creates a lot of stress on your calves, achilles, heels, and arches. Almost creating a domino effect. As soon as I stopped using the elliptical, my feet felt less painful. Now I just hop on the stationary bike and use that; not for too long either.

Swimming is definitely the best workout! I purchased this floater belt (The Aqua Jogger) which ties up around my waist like a belt and allows me to do all kinds of exercises while in the deep end. It keeps you afloat so you can get a great workout. Anyway, hope this helped you at all.


Re: What form of home exercise will not aggravate PF?

Ellen J. on 7/16/03 at 19:27 (124579)

Hi Andy,
I had a very bad experience on a treadmill while recovering from P.F. and I will not use them anymore. According to one person, it creates a foot drag which lengthens the stride beyond what's normal and therefore increases the lower leg/foot angle putting stress on the achilles and fascia. I now walk for exercise and bicycle. The walking is fine and the cycling works as long as I don't do too many long steep hills (unfortunately common in Vermont). I also began using a rowing machine at the fitness center and I'm very careful not to come too far forward which would, like the treadmill, put too much of an angle between the lower leg and foot. One person on this message board suggested decreasing the rowing machine resistance while increasing the tempo. That's a good idea as long as you can easily control how far forward you go, without momentum (due to the high tempo), throwing you forward too far.
Good luck!
Ellen J.

Re: What form of home exercise will not aggravate PF?

R C on 7/16/03 at 22:41 (124602)

Treadmills tend to aggravate PF since they usually operate on an incline, which tightens the calves and arches even more. Avoid.

A stationary bike might be suitable. There is pressure on the foot, but at low resistance settings it might not be a problem. I've used a recumbent bike for about a year now with no recurrence of PF.

Another thing I do is keep a set of dumbells by the TV remote. If the TV is on, then I'm exercising with the dumbbells. With a bit of creativity, they can be used to work a variety of muscles. As long as you keep moving, you can work up the heart rate -- it might not be the ideal aerobic exercise, but it helps. I started with 5 lbs and went up to 10 pound weights.

You really ought to consider swimming, though. I had never swum before, but after PF ended my running, I had to do something for exercise. I started going to the rec center pool regularly, and have become pleasantly addicted. I feel great, lost all the excess weight, and have vital stats of a much younger guy.

Re: What form of home exercise will not aggravate PF?

john h on 7/17/03 at 09:35 (124614)

If you use a bike make sure your feet are well into the stirrups as you do not want to be pushing with your toes as this puts tension on the fascia. I ride a bike regularly (recliner type). Tension settings seem to be no problem as long as feet are well into stirrups.

Re: What form of home exercise will not aggravate PF?

Joanne W on 7/18/03 at 18:41 (124760)

I don't know what's good, but Nordic
Trak is probably a big reason I got heelspurs in the first place. I was very lax about stretching before and after, and I've had two years of constant pain from it.

Re: What form of home exercise will not aggravate PF?

Pam S. on 7/18/03 at 23:42 (124769)

OK friends... all of this exercise talk has me really nervous. I do the elliptical several times a week because I THOUGHT that was better than walking on the hard street. Maybe we should walk on the grass in a park if we have access to one.

This summer I was hiking on a trail for 5 miles and my feet did not hurt one bit the next day or the next. I could not believe it.

Should I stop the elliptical machine now? Maybe that is why I am in pain. Should we ask the foot drs what they think? This is a big concern because keeping in shape is important for all of us for reasons we all know.

I believe what you say about the treadmill. I stopped that last year. Swimming is such an effort for women - I hate to say it but if you color your hair you have to be careful. The water is cold too. What to do What to do?????

Re: What form of home exercise will not aggravate PF?

john h on 7/19/03 at 10:21 (124781)

From my observations on this board what causes pain for one person may not bother another at all.