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Exercise and PF - want opionons of DPMs and others

Posted by Andy O on 1/15/04 at 06:56 (142062)

I have found that when my PF gets better, I am tempted back onto my treadmill. The last time this happened, it was not my PF that flared back up but something else. After three weeks, my legs were getting rock hard and my Achille's tendon became tighter. I began to feel considerable tension in my Achille's temdon. My exercise routine involved varied elevation, from 0 to 5 degrees, at speeds varying to a max of 2.8 miles/hour (a brisk walk). I stopped out of concern that my PF might flare back up (it didn't).
My question is this: It is advisable to avoid a treadmill if you are prone to PF? Or should just take certain precautions and use it?
One of my two podiatrists bluntly told me that I had 'no business on a treadmill!' because my biomechanics are not working right. He was actually angry at me because my PF had returned after a six year absence.
I have a friend with PF who successfully went back to his treadmill on a daily basis. For orthoses, he uses only the styrofoam inserts.

Re: Exercise and PF - want opionons of DPMs and others

Julie on 1/15/04 at 11:30 (142080)

Andy, the treadmill is generally thought to be inadvisable with PF. Most weight-bearing exercise, especially of the impact type, is inadvisable. Running is worse than walking, but walking, especially on incline, and especially if your biomechanics are abnormal, can easily lead to a flare-up. My feeling is that it is best for PF sufferers to stick to non-weight-bearing exercise.

If your biomechanics aren't 'working right', what is being done about this? Hasn't one of your podiatrists prescribed custom orthotics to correct whatever fault there is?

Re: Exercise and PF - want opionons of DPMs and others

Steve G on 1/15/04 at 12:15 (142089)

Give up the treadmill. Many of us believe that our PF started from using a treadmill. Find some other way to exercise - swimming, biking, etc

Re: Exercise and PF - want opionons of DPMs and others

Kathy G on 1/15/04 at 16:13 (142123)


Like so many others on these boards, I went from one form of exercise to another in an effort to continue exercising after getting PF. A few years back, I seemed able to walk outside for short periods but as the weather got colder, I bought a treadmill. My PF flared up badly when I walked on the treadmill, even with it level. When I asked my POD about it, he said that you just cannot replicate a normal gait on a treadmill and few people with PF can use it.

I agree; don't use it. I know how frustrating it is but if you want to get better, it probably isn't wise.

Re: Exercise and PF - want opionons of DPMs and others

Pam S. on 1/15/04 at 18:13 (142136)

Dear Andy:
I love to walk on a treadmill also but I had to give it up.
I recommend a recumbant sp? bike or Elliptical trainer. Julie, maybe you can add, would these be considered weight bearing. I need a little for my bones!! I am in a flare up now but I really do not want to get in the water. Andy, it is frustrating to manage exercise. My husband is really into spinning but I am afraid of that.

With the bike, I make sure I wear my good running shoes and the strap is secure and tight around my foot. That's just what I do but then again I still have pain so maybe I am doing the wrong things. BUT, I have to exercise or I have pain everywhere else. sigh Good luck, Pam

Re: Exercise and PF - want opionons of DPMs and others

Julie on 1/16/04 at 02:41 (142163)

Pam, it varies with the individual, and there's no one answer that is right for all. When I first found heelspurs several years ago lots of people were recommending the recumbent bike and saying they had no problems with it, but if you find you have pain when or after using it, it's probably best to avoid it. (I found it painful too.) The elliptical trainer is better than the treadmill because there is no impact, but it is still weight-bearing and the 'pushing' could certainly aggravate a bad case of PF.

You are the best judge of what is helpful for you and what isn't, but I'd be inclined to avoid anything that gives you pain until your PF has healed completely. Of course it's important to avoid osteoporosis, and weight-bearing plays an important role there, but you won't get osteoporosis from avoiding weight-bearing for a while. Think long term: do/avoid whatever you need to do/avoid in order to get over your PF.

Do you use the weight machines at the gym? Working with resistance also helps to stengthen bones and avoid osteoporosis. You could probably use most of the machines set at light resistance. Probably not the leg press, though. And of course swimming is the best all-round exercise there is.Could you overcome your reluctance to immerse? :)

Re: Exercise and PF - want opionons of DPMs and others

Pam S. on 1/17/04 at 00:22 (142247)

You are just such a doll. I read everything you post always. I know I sound so silly about going under water. OK everyone I feel you rolling your eyes but I will wreck my hair color due to cholorine sp? and I spend too much money getting that done. OK so I am vain. I admit it.

Julie, would you believe I went to a beginners Yoga class two weeks ago. I know all the poses from all my practice at home. I had two mats, but at home I also have carpet. Well, I think it was plank pose where my feet are supporting me with my toes bent (is that clear) and now under my toes burns like crazy. You see, a few years ago, due to the fibro weakness, I could have never mastered that. I am so happy to have so much strength back in my arms. This is just maddening to me that my feet are truly driving me mad. It hinders my progress with the fibro. Personal trainers and classes are a bad idea for me because I try so hard to do all they say and get into trouble. I should have just stayed on my carpet with my book of yoga poses. What to do about my toes now....sigh

What about spinning? too intense? I really have to do something aerobic.
Also the TTS in that foot (already had one release) is totally flared up. Maybe from the class too. who knows....

Yes, I do weights and a few of the machines and tons of stretching.I am very careful. I am 50 years old and am a good weight and I really need to keep it that way. Its getting more of a challenge. Our bodies do change as we age,,right. I think I am fighting that alot these days.

I guess I will just take a deep breath and take some days off and relax my feet. I may try to ask about orthodics on another post. I am tired of the subject. I am taping and wear mephistoes most all day. At night if we go out I have wear dress shoes because we entertain for my husband's business. It is all hard to manage. I cannot wear mephistoes to those events but I am not wearing high heels. I wear conservative lower heels, very good quality shoes but no arch support. I probably injure myself all those times which is why I never get better...right? I started wearing tape which shoes right thru my hose and people just ask me how I injured my foot. I am truly the only one at the party with foot issues. I usually sit down. My husband does not exactly 'get all this'.

I did not plan to pour all this out. I welcome any advice. Sure not getting any help from my pods. Thx, Julie Warmly, pam ps no luck with orthodics in the past lots of trys...i am impossible i know

Re: Julie: I look forward to your help from above post

Pam S. on 1/17/04 at 00:24 (142248)

Just in case you do not see my rambles. Thx so much

Re: Pam

Julie on 1/17/04 at 03:20 (142256)

Thanks for saying I'm a doll. Gee!

Quick answers for you.

I don't know anything about spinning - can't help there, but yes, it's probably too intense.

Forget weight-bearing exercise. In the gym, stick to the weights.

If you don't want to swim, do water walking - someone was posting about that yesterday or the day before. It's as aerobic as you need, and you won't get your head wet.

In the yoga class, look after yourself. Make sure the teacher knows your problems, but don't rely on her/him to take care of you. Don't try so hard. Don't do things you know will hurt you. You know what they are: it's common sense. If in doubt, don't. Avoid standing poses, especially one-leg balances in which all your weight is on one foot, twice as stressful to that foot as normal weight-bearing.

There's an excellent book called Recovery Yoga, by Sam Dworkis. The author developed multiple sclerosis and integrated his experience of that debilitating illness with his knowledge from years of practice and teaching yoga. The book contains adaptations of yoga postures that can be done in a chair, and there is lots of floor work. Or you could try and get hold of a copy of my own Office Yoga - it's out of print but used copies are still available on line.

There is so much you can do to keep yourself fit enough - I emphasise 'enough' - and sane, even when an ailment prevents you doing what you used to be able to do. But first you need to let go of the tough stuff that is doing you injury. Your feet come first now, and it's up to you to take care of them.

If you're getting 'no help from your pods', find another. Advice on the internet is all very well, but you do need good professional help.

I hope this helps!