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pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Posted by susan K on 9/02/03 at 10:23 (128549)

has anyone else experienced pain in various parts of the body from having had pf for a while? i have neck pain, occasional back pain, etc. the list goes on! i'm assuming having a biomechanical imbalance throws the entire body out of wack??

Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Sharon W on 9/02/03 at 11:17 (128555)


I don't know what's going on in your case and it would certainly be a good idea to ask your doctor.

If PF pain is causing you to feel pain in other areas of your body I suppose that might be what is called 'referred pain,' where the pain is felt in a different place than where the actual damage is -- but it isn't something I personally have ever had with PF, only with nerve problems ('carpal tunnel syndrome' or peripheral neuropathy causing back and shoulder pain).

You are right that having PF can cause you to change the way you walk, and changing the way you walk can cause you to hurt other parts of your body like knees, hips, back... (I think, for example, that I developed my 'trick knee' because of favoring a sprained ankle...)

Good luck to you!


Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

R C on 9/02/03 at 13:25 (128567)


After I had PF in my right foot for about 2 years, my left hip became inflamed. This is because I put more weight on my left side in order to minimize the strain on my injured foot. This is not so unusual -- my golf instructor, who also had PF in the right foot, needed surgery on his left knee because of chronic compensating.

Also, I had to be on crutches for about 10 weeks, and that messed up my shoulders (primarily left).

Fortunately, everything is pretty much under control now.

Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Ed Davis,DPM on 9/02/03 at 14:51 (128574)


That is something we see very frequently. We often see PF patients with achilles pain because they over-contract the calf muscle to avoid placing pressure on the heel. Patients often walk on the sides of their feet to avoid placing strain on the fascia. That can lead to ankle sprains, lateral foot pain, exaccerbations of sciatica. Limping from foot pain can cause various types of postural symtomatology including low back pain.

Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Rick R on 9/02/03 at 17:23 (128589)


My PF journey started in 1986, resulted in surgery in 1996 and a liveable albiet modified lifestyle thereafter. My lower back, however, has gone from liveable to unbearable. I spend about 10 - 20% of my life kinked up like a pretzel. I have several days per month where I cannot get myself dressed. I believe it's all tied together (the symptoms not the clothes, otherwise problem solved).

My last visit to the orthopedic surgeon was about 2-3 years ago ( a highly regarded back specialist in the Chicago area). He didn't see anything drastically wrong (X-ray no MRI). I have seen a chiropractor with no results. Fortunately he was smart enough not to view this as a simple crack the back and take the cash scenario.

I'd like to be able to pick up grandchildren someday at least while their grandmothers can(none yet but my daughters are in their 20's).

It's just like the initial PF thing that I couldn't get taken seriously for many years and several doctors. Everybody has back pain I'm just another jamoke. Any suggestions?



Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

francesc on 9/02/03 at 17:37 (128597)

hi rick,

i have had low-back pain for many years (unrelated to my PF). i would recommend that you try to seek out a physical therapist who specializes in backs or a chiropractor who specializes in prevention rather than just treating the symptoms.

i go to a place with such a chiropractor and i was given lots of exercises to do to strengthen my core area (abs and back), lectures on how to keep a neutral spine, etc. i have a disk problem and i believe that if you do, it will not show up on an x-ray.

also, did your chiro check if your legs are the same length? this can cause many low back problems because your pelvis is connected to your lower back. this was by far more painful than my usual low back problems.
if your pain is very low, almost at your tailbone, you might have this type of problem.

hope this helps,

Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

john h on 9/02/03 at 17:50 (128599)

Rick:Back pain is somewhat like PF in that they frequently do not know exactly what the pain generator is. One person can have horroble MRI's an very little pain and another a good MRI with serious back pain. I can go out and lift a 100 lb riding mower on its end and no problem and then I may just may make a slight insignificant movement while brushing my teeth and be in some serious pain for several days to a week. I could run a martathon or play basketall games and do no harm and then bend over to pick up a brief case and lights out. My most effective way to control the pain has been heat at night using the Blue Stuff with MSM and use the Lidocaine Patch during the day (prescription only). I have very little pain on my feet but riding a car or sitting for any length of time causes discomfort. I have tried, discograms,epidurals, facet injections, myleograms,all known NASID's. I did get some temporary relief from Medrol but as you probably know you cannot take that long term. I can go several weeks and not be to bad. My MRI's clearly show disc deterioriation in the three lower disc. No pain in the legs just lower. Doctors use the catch all diagnosis of 'Failed Low Back Surgery Syndrome'. The only option would seem to be a fusion but you are aware of the risk with that I am sure. I do have a Doctor friend who had suffered with back pain for 10 years. He had a fusion at three levels several years ago and is now 100% and swims and bikes etc without any pain at all. I have been to the Texas Back Institute who are at the forefront of the latest in back technology. We recently had a VAX-D treatment center open in Little Rock which I have thought about. You might check this out by doing a search. Nothing to lose here except your money. It is an FDA approved treatment. Good luck..

Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Rick R on 9/02/03 at 18:22 (128602)


Good catch! Yes I have gone down the PT path, and indeed my left leg is .5 in longer and that is the bad side for PF. Yes the pain is way low to start but it can trigger spasms around waist high to mid back. My Chiropractor was very much into prevention. He has taken care of many well known athletes, Carelton Fisk, Ryne Sandburg, geez I forget, many others. It is exactly his approach to go for core strengthening. When he thought he had done all he could for me he sent me to his wife, who was 'Hydro' on the American Gladiators. She is a delightfull person and one heck of an athlete. At this point in my life a $50 per month club membership just isn't in the cards.

My problem is twofold. I can't seem to stay well enough to keep exercising, and I'm working 65 - 70 hour weeks. It seems I just get to where I can do anything at all and out it goes. I initiated another triumphiant return to glory last night, we'll see how long it will last. The last two were cut short by a swimming and coughing, yup actually treading water and a couple of weeks later, a slight cough precipitated pretzel immatations.

As much as I believe that working on the strength is the right thing to do, I have the sneeking suspicion that I may be more messed up than anyone knows(not including the voices of course).

Thanks for the input, I can tell you have been on much the same trail.


Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Rick R on 9/02/03 at 18:53 (128609)

Thanks John,

Your situation is quite similar to mine. I too used to do pretty much anything with little regard to my back (but darned carefull of my feet)and every so often for no apparent reason, often associted with some bending, zap. I began to take notes and I did reach the conclusion, much to my chagrin, that the silly bending thing, changing a diaper, getting off the toilet whatever, wasn't the real event. I found I could pinpoint something within a 3 day window that was the real cluprit. Full contact basketball, lifting and throwing my son into a garage door caught up to me two days later while bending to change a headlight.

I learned to curb my activity to something more appropriate for my age and perhaps more acceptable to my son. Never did develop an outside shot though, so I'm pretty much toast for basketball. Now I still have the silly things happen but don't have any stupid things to feel guilty about.

I did have an incident around 21 years of age(1977). I was doing squats with 425lbs and needed to toss it off. For some strange reason I looked back and wouldn't you know it some weener was standing right behind me. I could have killed him. I completed the lift but felt my first twinge sensation. This was not imeediatltly followed by any other symptom. It could be I was in good enough shape to remain stable. I didn't start having the bad things happen until about 10 years later. It wasn't a major limiting factor until the last 2 -3 years. It's taking less and less happening more and more.



Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Ed Davis,DPM on 9/02/03 at 21:10 (128625)


Gait and posture are closely related. One small clue of the relationship is when back pain gets worse after standing/walking. Feet are shock absorbers and one way to ruin them as shock absorbers is to cut the fascia. A good motion contol running shoe with an orthotic is even more essential after plantar fascial release surgery.

Further checking of your back appears indicated. Consider seeing neurosurgeon for a thorough back exam.

Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Dorothy on 9/02/03 at 23:25 (128640)

There is a video called 'Say Goodbye to Back Pain' that I and many other people have found very helpful. It is used when acute and also when 'chronic'. I will type here what is said on its back and front covers:
'The best way to eliminate back pain is with exercise. From ordinary backaches to slipped discs, this program contains the number one exercise system and shows you how to get the most out of it....This program is the result of the pioneering work of Hans Kraus, M.D., President John F. Kennedy's back doctor and recognized authority on low back pain, sports and rehabilitative medicine...'An exercise video that works.'..Executive Fitness Newsletter. 'Any physician who treats patients with back pain should obtain this cassette.'... Leslie P. Dornfeld, M.D..... Over 200,000 people have learned these methods at YMCAs nationwide. Alexander Melleby, M.S., founder of the Y program, will gently guide you through the easy but amazingly effective exercise routines....'

If you find sites where reviews and evaluative statements are made, so many people say this is the only thing that actually helped them with their back problems.
It is not slick and fancy, but it works. My husband and I kind of laugh at its style, but we also love it for what it does. I have had my VHS copy for years and I finally bought a second one because I was afraid my original would break or wear out - and I am superstitiously attached to it. It is when I begin to neglect the movements here that my back reminds me of the importance of doing them. In my past, I have done them when I have had to crawl, when it has taken me a very long time to do them in the most basic way, when I have been crying doing them...but I did them and they got me better. If you follow back research and reports, you know that the ONLY thing that helps with back pain - from any source - is exercise and exercise of specific types. I always urge people to try this video and often you can see in their eyes that they don't believe it could help and so they don't try it - but everyone I know of who has back problems (of a wide variety of types and manifestations) who has used the video has gotten better. It had gotten hard to find but collage video (all exercise videos) still carried it when I got my second copy a couple of years ago. (www.collagevideo.com). I have NO affiliation with or interest in the video, its production, its profits - if any, or collage video or anything at all beyond just knowing how it can help. Back pain can be a cruel companion in life, as you well know, and so do I; so I would urge you or anyone else to give this an honest try. Best wishes to you.

Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Rick R on 9/03/03 at 06:52 (128652)

Thank you Ed,

I am told my gait both walking and running is very good. The chiropractor I tried out was a bit surprised given the leg differential. My back is better after standing. Sitting is the worst, laying on my stomach is out of the question. When I'm having a bad time of it the longer I stand the better I feel and the more I straighten up. If I can get up on my feet and gradually start to walk I can get going. I put my keyboard up on a box and just stand all day at work. I have called from the parking lot to get help getting out of the car which is the worst part of the day. If I stop and sit I'm screwed. Of course this brings the old PF back into play.

I wear Asics with the gel cusion. I use orthotics in my work shoes,(Rockports). If I am standing all day I wear running shoes with orthotics. When I run ( haven't been able to for 18 months)I use a combination of tape with arch supports wrapped in with ace bandages. This is more aggressive support than orthotics. I have learned throught the years not to be a heal striker. I am quiet enough to scare the blazes out of people if I don't make some deliberate noise as I approach. Thank you very much for the input.


Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

susan K on 9/03/03 at 08:25 (128662)

Ed. i have tried many different types of orthotics and have had no success, if anything it makes my pf pain worse. the only shoe i can wear are naot clogs because the insert if made out of cork and my foot molds to them. my feet have gotten so used to wearing clogs since my pf release surgery several years ago, i find it very uncomfortable to wear an inclosed shoe because of the sensitivity to my feet. this is very frustrating because it would seem that wearing a motion control shoe with a good cork orthotic would solve my problem, but i can't seem to find anyone who can make a decent orthotic! so i go around in circles trying to find answers to my pf pain, and in the process other parts of my body are hurting.......... any suggestions??

Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Aly on 9/03/03 at 08:41 (128668)

Hi Rick,

I've had back and neck problems for years, sometimes so bad that I can't turn my head or bend down. Exercise did help, but alas I'm not the most self-disciplined person...

About 4-5 months ago I started stretching my hamstrings (on the floor or in bed - not weight-bearing) for my PF - and about 2 months into it I realized my back and neck problems were almost gone! It did take some time, but instead of weekly chiro appointments, I now can go monthly, or longer. Who knows, maybe I can stop altogether!

All of us are different, so what works for me may have no effect on you whatsoever, but it's a simple thing to try. I stretch when I wake up, and before bed, trying to get my nose down as close to my straight leg as possible. I hold that for 15 seconds or so, twice on each side.

Good luck to you!


Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Rick R on 9/03/03 at 11:21 (128690)

Thanks for the input. I'm open to about anything.


Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

francesc on 9/03/03 at 13:52 (128701)

hi rick,

yeah, i've had back problems for so long, i feel like i could almost be a physical therapist! ;-)

did you get orthotics for your PF? if so, did your podiatrist put a lift in the foot that's got the shorter leg?

also, i understand the work situation. i was a software engineer/computer programmer for 15 years and after i stopped working to stay home with the kids, my back is so much better! sitting hunched over a keyboard and screen was awful for my back.

i know it seems like the $50/month for a club membership is expensive but, you should be able to do your exercises at home. can you get one of those exercise balls? the big ones that you can do core strengthening with? they cost around $25. and they are good for teaching you how to keep your spine in a neutral position.

the other thing is, while walking is difficult with the PF, it was one of the best things for my back!

i believe it that a fit of coughing will cause your back problems to flare up. i had problems with morning sickness causing my back to cramp. :-) aren't you glad you aren't pregnant??

can you get an MRI done? it sounds like you have a severe problem.

also, i am assuming you are doing the ice and stretch thing daily a couple times a day. ice was and still is my best friend.


Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Suzanne D on 9/04/03 at 21:32 (128806)

Dorothy, I've had back and neck pain for years, too. I used to go to a chiropractor about every two weeks. Then after the first 6 months of dealing with PF(stretching, orthotics, Birks), I realized, like you, that my back and neck pains were almost gone! I went for months without going to the chiropractor, and the last time I went it was for my neck, not my back. After one treatment, the pain was gone, and I am still pain-free in those areas many weeks later.

I'm not sure if it is the stretching or wearing shoes which help my gait or a combination of the two, but one nice side effect of PF has been getting rid of my back and neck pain!

Suzanne :)

Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Dorothy on 9/04/03 at 22:19 (128815)

You must be thinking of someone else because the process that you describe is not what I have experienced. I had a back injury and problems resulting from it. So far, never had neck problems, but the night is young! My back issues have been separate in time and direct association from foot issues. However, I do believe that ultimtely all of these things must have some relationship, and I would dearly love to sort it all out and understand the human body and its processes better. I am glad that you have found a pain-free state in at least some areas, and hope that will be true eventually in all areas.

Re: pain in other parts of the body from pf??

Aly on 9/05/03 at 08:20 (128839)

Hi Suzanne,

That was me, not Dorothy. :) That's interesting that your back/neck improved with your PF regimen. Here's to hoping it helps Rick too!

Re: oops! My mistake!

Suzanne D on 9/05/03 at 10:46 (128854)

I read Aly's post, then Dorothy's down below, and thought I was replying to Dorothy!

Some weeks look better when you get to the end, don't they? This has been a rather up-and-down week for me, and I think it is showing!

Sorry for the confusion,
Suzanne :)