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Things on My Mind This A.M.

Posted by Dorothy on 11/25/03 at 12:33 (138631)

Before I read anything on this site today, I am going to put out some thoughts I've been having today around the subject of feet that will maybe generate thoughts from the good minds here.
First, like several others here, I've been having a little more of a tough foot-time lately and the already regressed level of exercise has regressed even further. Similtaneously I read, as we all do, of the many benefits of exercise to well-being. This leads me to think of all of the likely repercussions from Plantar's fasciitis, beyond the obvious ones we all live with, issues that derive from lack of adequate exercise, for example: loss of muscle strength and all of the problems that ensue from that; loss of bone health; increased risk for many diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease; pulmonary disease. There are many other peripheral aspects of PF such as decreased social interaction due to decreased mobility or due to depression; one's quality of life suffers to lesser or greater degrees in so many ways such as not keeping one's living environment clean, diminished organization in one's life, diminished choices due to restrictions on mobility. I could go on and on and on - aren't we all getting depressed from this already!??!! However, my point is this: this PF condition needs to get much more attention, research, wisdom, serious coverage than it does because it represents a larger problem than it seems on the surface. It would seem to me that there should be an association or foundation, something that would draw attention to this problem and its impact as something more than 'sore feet'. Sadly, most of us here probably do not have the energy or capacity to pursue such an idea, but maybe someone does - maybe Scott - if there is any agreement for the need. It seems to me that it is a problem that so many people of all ages and types suffer from, that is at the center of persistent haphazard experimentation and sometimes quackery, and that it makes a gazillion dollars for some and impoverishes the lives of many.

Second point - so many of us wear New Balance shoes that we already form a kind of NB lobby. So, I have been wondering (and mentally griping!) why is it necessary to make the grooves of the soles of NB shoes so very deep? I have been trying to dig out mud that got in those grooves several weeks ago for weeks and still it stays lodged. They are DEEP grooves! I have let them soak in shallow water, brushed them, picked at them, and used many different implements. Several weeks ago I was on a walk in the forest on soft, soft forest floor with a deep layer of pine needles over the soft underground. It was marvelous. Ever since, these shoes defy mud removal.

Thanks for the time and space to cogitate out loud here today. Now I'm going to read other posts.

Re: Things on My Mind This A.M.

Rick R on 11/25/03 at 13:12 (138635)


I wonder about the historical context of PF. Where is the note in the family bible about the lame uncle Ed that couldn't work the farm because of the evil that resided in his heels? Where is the colorful Victorian era term for PF? Is this a modern development and if so doesn't that point us in some direction? It's not as if we would have died in child birth a couple of hundred years ago. Just what in the world would I be doing with this if it weren't for modern materials? I suspect I'd be binding me feet with linnen similarly to the way I tape them. Worth a try. How about those of us with PF having a common childhood experience? I rarely went barefoot for instance. Could something like this explain a lack of PF in earlier times, if there was such a void? Or is PF of the magnitude that we hard core PFers have so rare it just wouldn't be mentioned often enough for the casual historian to have run across? Is PF or the potential thereof why they rejected flat footed men for the infantry? BTW the term 4 F supposedly dates back to the need to have teeth to bite open paper cartridges which became obsolete after the War Between The States.


Re: Things on My Mind This A.M.

Maria S. on 11/25/03 at 13:23 (138636)

There are plenty of historical references to lame or crippled people. They just don't go into specifics as to exactly HOW they are lame or crippled.

Re: Things on My Mind This A.M.

BrianJ on 11/25/03 at 13:31 (138637)

Dorothy and Rick --

You both raise interesting issues. I agree that PF is poorly understood and doesn't get much press. In my opinion, this is because (a) it is not disfiguring, (b) it is not infectious and (c) it is not severely injurious or fatal. Further, the vast majority of PFers put up with some minor aches and pains, but then get better. The mystery is why we long-term sufferers do not get better.

Scientific study would certainly help, and money is at the core of such study. Does anyone know how to seek monetary grants for such study? If we got just half the money that goes to pay for orthotics every year, we would probably be on our way to a cure.

Re: Things on My Mind This A.M.

Dorothy on 11/25/03 at 14:30 (138647)

Very interesting points, Rick. I also have wondered both about the historical references to PF and also the geographical distribution of it. It was interesting reading that link that another poster, English Judy, made to the MBT system, or masai barefoot ?T? system; in their literature, they wrote that their developer had studied the masai and other Africans who had great posture and no foot problems, despite walking over all kinds of terrain barefoot. I have also mentioned here the Kenyans and Ethiopians who are such excellent marathon runners and who run barefoot in their home countries. We knew some Ethiopian people who had emigrated from Ethiopia to the US and whenever the man of that family had any kind of illness or injury, he would just work/move/exercise harder because of the philosophy he had learned from his own, then VERY elderly, father which was to keep moving, no matter what; that it's when you stop that you are doing harm to yourself. My own husband treats just about every physical problem with a very rigorous, protracted 'go' on the Nordic Trac, sweating and respiring very hard. I don't know, but these are fascinating - and important - questions. Just today, we have a mother of a 13 year old who has had PF for two years and whose activity level is severely hampered, along with people all along the age and physical fitness continuum and health profile spectrum who are in pain. We know that lots of athletes and dancers get this and we know that people who are aging (isn't everyone?) and who carry excess weight get this - I was also reading an interesting article on the Prevention magazine website about jogging, joggers and recent research on people who have been jogging for 30-40 years, people who've had various body problems, too. In one jogging club of many years, only three members had died: one of a brain tumor, one in an airplane crash, and one from a carjacking. My thought was: people who CAN'T do it, say due to PF, simply drop out and are no longer counted in the mix. They become some other statistic, like those who break a hip due to years of inadequate activity and loss of muscle strength or poor balance.
Maybe Maria S. is right about Biblical references, I don't know; there are references to 'the lame and the halt' - and if that doesn't capture PF, what does!
As to feet and the infantry, if you have ever seen cartoons from WWII, you know that 'flat feet' were a common reference, but what did those marchers do?? How could they persist if they were in great pain? And did they? I mean, does your pain suddently disappear if you are being shot at? If so, what does that mean? Does the rush of adrenalin quell pain? If so, does that lend support to the do more, not less idea? And the research is pretty solid about back pain - rest is NOT good beyond a fairly short period of time. The same principle applies when discussing the back as when we discuss the feet (the constant tension/stress/pressure put on the structure seems to reinjure or never allow healing), yet it is exercise, and believe me that is VERY challenging, that can heal the back. I am sorry to go on at such length, but I think these are very important things to think about - and I do wish we could all put our heads together and come up with excellent new directions for this foul thing that afflicts us!
Your 4F factoid was interesting; I didn't know that. Wonder what that would do to teeth and to lead levels...??

Re: Things on My Mind This A.M.

Rick R on 11/25/03 at 15:55 (138674)


Back in the day I treated every sickness with a good run. It seemed I could make it go away almost no matter what. And my wife thought I was the only such idiot. I wouldn't know how I'd respond now, I haven't been really sick, in well over a decade. I do believe that our bodies respond to our minds and if the mind says we must be able to follow the herd to hunt to survive, the body finds a way. I do recall that I tended to get ill or even now If I get a cold it seems it was always on holiday or vacation. I'm thinking it's the mental let down.

I am in the process of getting my back in order. I haven't been messed up since August!

On the military tangent, the soldier of the 19th century had more to fear from the mercury used in common medicines, than from sucking on musket balls. Not to mention the probability of becoming a morphine adict. The ladies were keeping up with poisioning themselves via make-up which included arsenic. But alas morphine was sold by the local druggist and for that matter through the Sears Catalog. Ah the good old days!!


Re: Things on My Mind This A.M.

BrianG on 11/25/03 at 17:26 (138699)

Well, my life is pretty much shot! Major dust bunnies every where, very little social life, etc. My mom told me this week that her father had to retire early, because his 'feet hurt'. The man would never go to a doctor, no matter how much pain he was in. Now I have to believe he had PF. My mom has a mild case. Both my brother and sister have mild, to moderate cases. I have the grand daddy of them all!!! Now I'm wondering if PF is passed down from generation, to generation?

Still wondering!

PS: I nominate Dorothy to start the PFPG, Plantar Fasciitis Patients Group http://www.pfpg.com See, this URL is available, hahahahaaa!

Re: Things on My Mind This A.M.

Dorothy on 11/25/03 at 18:06 (138703)

BrainG ~ Dorothy says: hahahahahahah!
Now, I turn around and nominate you! You give very good, very informed advice and have been very pragmatic and helpful to so many. Also, if there is anything to your theory of PF inheritance, then you are a good candidate there, too.

Now, my foot friend, BrianG - make friends with your dust bunnies, regardless of their rank in the Bunny Army, major or otherwise. And as for your life being pretty much shot and having very little social life, it is very easy for that to happen with chronic pain and obstacles in life. You have friends here and as nice as you are to folks here, people in your home territory would be fortunate to have you as a friend, too. Don't give up, Brian - not on foot improvement and not on anything else.

Well, we have two questions out there now: mine concerning back problems and sciatica and foot problems, and yours concerning the inherited nature of PF. Hope we get feedback.

Now, get to work on the PFPG, BrianG. and have a nice Thanksgiving.

Re: May I please add something - education

Sher A on 11/25/03 at 18:11 (138704)

This is my own humble opinion, but we all know we are supposed to see the doctor before we embark upon a new diet or exercise program, right? Well I did that, he told me I was good to go and I was psyched. Get my heart in shape, get walking, get sweaty, etc. I joined the gym, I hit that treadmill 3+ times a week, 2 miles at 6mph until I was done. I felt great afterward - but then I felt my feet starting to hurt and couldn't understand why? Just getting old? Yea, of course. Walk more and you'll be fine. I had the correct shoes for this type of activity because I've never neglected my feet and have always bought the best possible shoes. I wanted to walk out that pain and thought I was doing just that.

I think there needs to be some education that this type of exercise can really mess up your feet. Now, after the fact, I am meeting more and more mail carriers who have it, more and more people who believe the treadmill had a lot to do with it. I've always heard, keep walking until you feel like you're going to drop. This is not good advice. I walked everywhere in addition to the treadmill. But this constant walking, constant non-stop on that treadmill, for some of us this kind of repetition is just not good for your feet. I think doctors ought to get the word out that this is a potential thing to look out for. I never felt like I overdid it, heck I could go forever. But then the feet started hurting, just a little at first, 3 years, ago, and now I can hardly stand it. This does terrible psychological things to people who are used to being on the go and active. It's only lately that I've been reading about the foot problems of tennis players as well. I wish I had known all of this BEFOREhand. I wish I had had someone to clue me in. After all, one doesn't usually come to a foot problem board before you have the problem. If only I had of known what 2 years of this kind of exercise was doing to me I would have pursued a different means to get exercise. People just ought to know that this *can* happen to you and it will catch you when you least expect it, then it's hello to a very long ordeal. That's all..

Re: May I please add something - education

R C on 11/25/03 at 20:44 (138725)

Points well taken, all. I agree that unfortunatelyPF will not attract big money since it is not life threatening ,etc. I do not have a good idea how the educational gap could be filled. Maybe if enough doctors and gym teachers got PF the tide will turn.

To those who have limited social lives as a result of foot pain -- know that you have friends here.

Maybe we ought to have a convention. Let's think ... we need a lot of nearby parking and plenty of comfy chairs...

Re: May I please add something - education

Suzanne D. on 11/25/03 at 21:57 (138739)

Good points from everyone...And, yes, Rick, you said it well - 'To those who have limited social lives as a result of foot pain -- know that you have friends here.'

It was not until I was diagnosed with PF that I remembered as a child seeing my grandpa take off his farm boots and wince with pain. Mama said he had 'heelspurs', and as a child I tried to imagine what that meant. I conjured up a grim picture of cowboy spurs on the outside of his heel. But now I know how it hurt, and perhaps there is something to the heredity factor.

Do we have more incidences of PF now because so many spend all day working on concrete? Or does it just make our conditions worse. Actually, when I got PF I was teaching on wooden floors with carpet. And Grandpa spent his days out in the barn and the fields, but perhaps there is something in the makeup of certain feet that make us more prone to it. Grandpa was never overweight. Grandma never had foot problems and was twice his size. I remember her wearing little old cheap tennis shoes all the time with no problems.

Interesting thoughts...

Take care, everyone,
Suzanne :)

Re: May I please add something - education

Carole C in NOLA on 11/25/03 at 22:03 (138741)

I got PF from starting to exercise too. My doctor approved of it and suggested an exercise bike for my arthritis. When I got PF he told me it was from the bike.

I think doctors can tell us whether or not it is likely that we would drop dead upon exercising, but I don't think they really know if we'll get PF or not. Most people don't seem to get PF.

It's a very long ordeal, and one that a lot of us didn't know was possible. Howver, it is also possible to get through it (eventually) and to get back to a normal life.

Carole C

Re: Things on My Mind This A.M.

marie on 11/26/03 at 09:02 (138756)

My podiatrist informed me that tts and pf does tend to run in famiies. The condition itself is not inherited however the genetic traits for the potential of developing these types of foot conditions is what is passed on. My father had fibromyalgea and foot and back problems. My grandmother had foot and back problems. My 2 brothers and my sister are all aflicted with some type of central nervous system malfunction. All have back problems. My brothers and myself have problems with our feet.

I don't know much about my mother's family as I am not in touch with them as much. When my mother passed away we found out that we had a half brother. Because my father had Alzheimer's the info he shared with us was incomplete. We believe our half brother was adopted by my Aunt Mert. My mother's family was mostly hill folks and or counnnnntry folks so not all the records are complete. She was raised in an orphanige. The person we believe is our half brother is deceased but we did find out he had Epstein Bar.

Re: Things on My Mind This A.M.

john h on 11/26/03 at 09:39 (138760)

Rick: You might add to your list when Coke really had Coke.

Re: Things on My Mind This A.M.

BrianG on 11/26/03 at 17:43 (138811)

I can't believe that the 'pfpg.com' url actually led to a legitimate web site. I thought I checked it first, before postng it, hahahaa. Oh well, we'll just have to change it to http://www.PFPG.org . This one is definitly not taken yet :)

BrianG, who also declines

Re: Things on My Mind This A.M.

Kathy G on 11/29/03 at 09:14 (138945)

My Pod, who treated a couple of ingrown toenails for my daughter, asked her if she had any questions following her treatment. She said, 'Yes. What do I do so I don't end up with feet like my mother's?'. He chuckled and then reassured her that physiologically, her feet resembled mine in absolutely no way. He said that was no guarantee but since even her body type and her gait were so dissimilar to mine, odds were in her favor.

He has never seen my son's feet but they look just like mine, except his are much bigger! He, in fact, did develop PF two years ago and uses Superfeet or one of the other OTC soles available in his everyday shoes. He is a tennis pro and keeps his custom made orthotics in his tennis shoes.

When he was home for the holiday, I asked him how his feet were and he said they were fine except if he had to stand on his toes for any extended amount of time. Thus, stretching the fascia still causes problems, but since he teaches tennis and doesn't actually play it on a regular basis, he thinks this won't be a problem. He still does Julie's stretches regularly. Whoops! I mean the Yoga stretches!:D

He is built much more like me and my daughter inherited her build from my husband's side of the family. She has a strong, healthy back and my son has had back pain since he was in middle school, just as I did. So I think a certain amount of these problems must be hereditary.

As for my relatives, to my knowledge, no one had problem feet but then, as someone said, in those days, they would just say someone had bad feet and no one would necessarily remember it.

Re: Things on My Mind This A.M.

Julie on 11/29/03 at 09:17 (138947)

Hi Kathy