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more foot stuff.....

Posted by JudyS on 2/12/04 at 11:02 (144180)

Well, can you believe it? After all these years overcoming PF, I've gone and gotten Achilles Tendonitis!
I've been practicing on a tournament team that is going to Hawaii next week and the manager decided I should be in left field instead of first base. So, sprinting around out there, and sprinting around the bases when I hit a couple of (extremely rare!) home runs was just too much. Sprinting is not something I've done any conditioning for these last months.
I went to the good old podiatrist yesterday and he said (stop me if you've heard this before); rest, ice, ibuprofen, massage, heat......and he said not to expect it to go away any time soon!
It's deja vu all over again.

Re: more foot stuff.....

Suzanne D. on 2/12/04 at 12:03 (144187)

Oh, I'm sorry, Judy! Will you still get to go to Hawaii?

Take care, and I hope you have relief soon!
Suzanne :)

Re: Gently stretch!!!! gentle, gentle, gentle...

Carole C in NOLA on 2/12/04 at 12:41 (144189)


I am so sorry to hear this!!!!

I don't remember if you had Achilles tendonitis before. But if not, you happen to know a bunch of people who have had it! I had a really bad case of it and nancy s. did too, and others.

Gentle stretching is even more important with A.C. than it is with PF. I think that gentle stretching helped a huge amount with my A.C.

Be very gentle; if it hurts, you are stretching too hard. Do it often, instead of harder. I would urge you to do (very gentle) gentle stretching at least three times a day and more if you think of it.

Carole C

Re: Gently stretch!!!! gentle, gentle, gentle... oh so gently

Carole C in NOLA on 2/12/04 at 12:43 (144190)

P.S.; it shouldn't hurt at all or (at least for me) it makes A.C. worse.

If you feel even the slightest twinge, cease doing it and just do what doesn't hurt, like wiggling your toes or bending your ankle slightly.

Carole C

Re: Gently stretch!!!! gentle, gentle, gentle... oh so gently

Kathy G on 2/12/04 at 15:52 (144201)

Oh Judy, I'm so sorry to hear that! I had a minor case of achilles tendonitis and it's very stubborn. Mine still acts up and when it does, I do indeed stretch very, very gently.

Don't get discouraged. This, too, will pass. But I can just hear your frustration!

Suzanne mentioned going to Hawaii. Do you have a trip planned?

Re: I didn't mean A.C. - - I meant Achilles Tendonitis, not Air Conditioning! lol

Carole C in NOLA on 2/12/04 at 17:18 (144208)

That'll teach me to post quickly from work.

Carole C

Re: more foot stuff.....

Lari S on 2/12/04 at 21:13 (144219)

I feel so bad for you! Hopefully you'll be able to get this under control. Take it easy and keep your spirits up.

Re: more foot stuff.....

Dorothy on 2/13/04 at 00:20 (144226)

I'm going to offer a slightly contrary opinion on Achilles tendonitis because I have just come off a nasty bout of it. It hurts like the dickens, doesn't it? I was doing gentle, gentle stretches and it didn't get better; in fact, I think it got worse. I did the Foot trainers which includes stretching, of course, and that was good, but the AT persisted. Pilates plus Foot Trainers, better. Then I added a 'thing' that I got at Footsmart and somehow or other, it seems to have finally left me - for now anyway.
Oh, and massage - I did a lot of massage (gentle, gentle) of the calves to the toes. The 'thing' is a Chopat Achilles support (said to have been developed at Mayo Clinic) and I wore it for one or two partial days.
Sometimes with the massage, I used an infrared/heat massager.
Good luck!

Re: more foot stuff.....

Julie on 2/13/04 at 01:31 (144236)

Dorothy, I feel instinctively that stretching, even gentle stretching, is just what Achilles tendinitis doesn't want (it has probably already had too much stretching - my own experience of it many years ago came from a bike trip around the hills of Scotland and my 'technique' was always to keep my heels low) so your post is interesting. I would expect the Foot Trainer to be good for it. And I would be interested - and I'm sure others would - in a more detailed description of the Chopat support.

Re: more foot stuff.....

Julie on 2/13/04 at 01:52 (144237)

Judy, I'm sorry to hear it. It WILL go, but it's a painful bugger while you've got it. On top of your podiatrist's excellent advice, an elastic ankle brace will reduce the pain while you're up and about doing things - as is your wont. :) I wouldn't do any stretching - it's inflamed because it has been overstretched. Rest, ice, ibuprofen....hmmm, where have I heard that before?

Re: more foot stuff.....

Dorothy on 2/13/04 at 02:42 (144238)

Oops. I stand corrected - no, I sit corrected - I mean: tendinitis, which is counterintuitive to the way I usually spell it, tendonitis, which is wrong.

Re: more foot stuff.....

Dorothy on 2/13/04 at 02:46 (144239)

This is from the Footsmart online catalog. http://www.footsmart.com

Chopat® Achilles Tendon Strap
Recommended for:
Achilles Tendonitis

Slip on relief and step away from Achilles pain

Experience immediate relief from Achilles tendonitis and return to your normal activity level. Even if you don't stretch enough before you exercise, or inflexibility is starting to creep up on you – don't let that slow you down. This Achilles Tendon Strap, developed in cooperation with the famed Mayo Clinic, fits comfortably while strategically applying pressure to reduce stress where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel. Wear over or under socks. Hand wash. For size, measure circumference at widest portion of ankle. Small (up to 10 1/2'), Medium (10 3/4 - 11 1/2'), Large (11 3/4 - 12 1/2').

Re: stretching info

Carole C in NOLA on 2/13/04 at 10:14 (144254)

Julie, I realize that instinctively it doesn't sound like stretching is a good thing. HARSH stretching, anything that causes pain, ISN'T.

However, with Achilles tendonitis if you don't do very, very gentle stretches, the tissues quickly contract and the inflamed tendon gets yanked hard every time you get out of bed and walk a few feet. This doesn't take long, in my experience.

In Achilles tendonitis the effect of this yanking of contracted tissues is much worse for the Achilles tendon than stretching to prevent it is (see below for the method). If you don't stretch, then just getting up to go to the bathroom can re-injure the Achilles tendon and delay healing for yet another few weeks.

For me, the gentle stretching was the most beneficial treatment possible for Achilles tendonitis. I am simply trying to help Judy by giving her the benefit of my experience with diagnosed severe Achilles tendonitis. You know me well enough to know that my posts are almost always derived from what I know to be true, from my personal experiences.

Naturally, if one didn't do it gently enough it would aggravate it terribly!!!! I thought I made that clear, but apparently not. Perhaps your gentle stretches are too rough for Achilles tendonitis; to tell the truth, I have never actually DONE your stretches. I recommend them from what other people say on the board and in deference to you. But if my description of stretching was in blue and could be clicked on, to tell the truth I'd refer to that because I know it works (having done it myself).

So here's the description of the simple stretch that actually DID help me so much, in my own experience rather than my instincts. It was recommended by my C.Ped (the one that made me such great orthotics).

Sit on a flat surface, such as a bed or the floor, with legs outstretched and so that your feet are 18' to two feet apart.

Gently point the toes of one foot towards your nose, to the extent that you can do that without pain. Hold for a while (work up to 30 seconds).

Relax that foot, and rotate very gently about the ankle to relax the muscles in the leg.

Repeat for the other foot.

Carole C

Re: more foot stuff.....

Julie on 2/13/04 at 11:42 (144258)

I know, Dorothy. Sitting or standing, I wasn't 'correcting' you, and I've never understood why it is spelled tendinitis. It is indeed counterintuitive, but it seems to be the right spelling, so who am I to argue? :)

Perhaps it came from a MISspelling in ancient days., and caught on...

Re: stretching info

Julie on 2/13/04 at 11:55 (144261)

Point(s) taken Carole, and I'm sure you're right. I wasn't actually disagreeing with you, just speaking from my experience, as of course I know you do from yours. No problem there. Also I was assuming that Judy would be going about her normal activities, and thought that would be enough activity for the tendon - which is more or less what I did when I had AT.

The stretch that you describe, and that was so effective for you (for which I am very glad) is very similar to the yoga ankle bending exercise - as is the rotation. They aren't 'rough' at all, but I would still counsel care if anyone with AT felt like trying them. Perhaps, though, you shouldn't recommend them if you haven't used them yourself? I don't expect that - or deference!

It is absolutely wonderful that you have healed so well, and I have been meaning to say that I'm glad Weightwatchers and exercycling are working for you.

Take care.

Re: stretching info

Carole C in NOLA on 2/13/04 at 13:54 (144270)

Julie, I just think you probably have a greater knowledge as a Yoga instructor, and as far as I know, not one single person here but me has ever tried the stretch I describe. I started the stretch that I do on the recommendation of my C.Ped, before I ever happened to see any posts about yours on the board. That is why I never did yours; I found mine helped me a lot, once I started doing it gently enough that it didn't hurt at all. When I first happened to read about yours I continued what I had been doing instead of switching to yours.

The Yoga stretches do appear to be very similar to the one that I do. So retyping the one that I do each time the topic of stretching comes up, began to seem like a futile effort when one could just use the clickable blue link instead. I'm sure you can relate to that! Still, the actual stretch that I do is the one I described in my previous post in this thread.

I do agree with you when you say 'I would still counsel care' for anyone trying gentle stretching under these circumstances... hence my posts counseling care with the 'gentle' and 'gently gently' in the title. I don't think that 'gently gently' pointing one's toes towards one's nose a few times a day is going to wrench the tissues about as radically as, for example, climbing stairs (or playing ball, in Judy's case). It just does the same sort of thing but slower and more gently, so that the tissues aren't quite as tight when it comes time for normal, more strenuous activities. At least that is how I see it, though I am only talking about what was absolutely vital for my own feet! Judy, do what makes sense for YOUR feet.

I'm glad that I was able to get rid of my (diagnosed) Achilles Tendonitis too. My exercycle was what caused it, so I wouldn't want to imply that I used it at all while recovering from Achilles Tendonitis. I did continue to use it prior to diagnosis, and it made things much worse, but stopped when my doctor told me I should. Now that I am pain free, it's nice to get back to my exercycle (with more sensible precautions).

One of the problems with Achilles tendonitis, is that for me going about one's normal activities HURT and in my case that hurting indicated more injury. With the tightness that comes with inflammation, it was sort of like doing a wall stretch at every step; walking became weightbearing non-gentle stretching for me. The gentle stretching allowed me to get around more easily and with fewer setbacks.

Carole C

Re: more foot stuff.....

wendyn on 2/13/04 at 23:29 (144295)

Judy, I just got over a case of that myself. I attribute mine to the foolishly decision to wear boots when I was in Banff (gave up the Birks only because it was -30 and snowing). My orthotics did not fit in the boots - so I went without (dumb, I know)

It was excruciating for about a week, then tender for about another two.

Re: Gently stretch!!!! gentle, gentle, gentle...

JudyS on 2/15/04 at 10:46 (144337)

Thanks, Carole. Yes, I sure do remember Nancy's Achilles problems but I didn't remember yours. Thanks too for the reminder to do the gentle stretching - I think I may be overdoing it in spite of trying not to!

Yes, Suzanne, I will indeed go to Hawaii on Wednesday! I sure couldn't give it up now and I've convinced the manager that I just don't belong in the outfield.

Actually, my tendonitis is already responding nicely to the basic treatments. I just have to remember to keep it going even when I think it's not necessary. Not doing so was the biggest mistake I made with PF.

My doc said to quit hitting home runs......only singles allowed! :) Ha - like I have any control!

Re: more foot stuff.....

JudyS on 2/15/04 at 10:52 (144338)

Dorothy this looks like terrific information and I sure appreciate your input. I'm going to check out that website now and - where to get an infrared massager?
Also, I own a STEM unit but I'm not sure where to put the electrodes for AT - does anyone know?

Re: more foot stuff.....

JudyS on 2/15/04 at 10:56 (144340)

Thanks Julie - the first thing I did, in fact, was buy some elastic ankle wraps. They do indeed help to support the soreness around my ankles. I was surprised to learn that AT doesn't necessarily present itself in the Achilles alone - in fact, I don't have much sureness in the Achilles above the heel - which is where classic AT presents, if I'm studying correctly. Mine is mostly alongside the Achilles - especially at it's apex at the heel.

Re: more foot stuff.....

Dorothy on 2/15/04 at 20:38 (144369)

Well, I got the infrared massager at WalMart, but I have seen them lots of places (for more money.) I don't know if I just lucked out or what, but mine was VERY inexpensive; I forget just how much now (maybe 6 months ago) but it was certainly well under $20.00. You can use it in various combinations: with infrared heat AND massage, with heat alone, with massage alone. I have found it to be pretty easy to hold for as long as I have needed to use it. Here is information from the box:
HoMedics InfraTechUltra Deluxe Infrared Massager with Heat 4 Massage Attachments Adjustable Neck 4 Position Switch Soft Grip Handle Model #QB-60.

You're welcome about FootSmart.com. They're nice people and I've gotten some good deals there - watch their 'clearance' section; it changes fairly often. For example, they recently had Brooks 'Addiction' shoes for something like $50-ish dollars, much less than elsewhere - but it was a 'special'; they don't usually carry them. I don't know about you, but I have to watch for bargains and am pretty good at it. Good luck to you. Achilles Tendinitis is a true bummer! My experience is that it comes and goes, whether it's welcome or not!

Re: more foot stuff.....

john h on 2/16/04 at 10:50 (144393)

Dorothy: You may rember some months ago I tried a very expensive infrared heating pad. It cost around $200. No help and I was able to send it back for a refund.It served as a good geating pad but as for the infrared offering any benefits beyond heat it did not help. It was FDA approved and considered a medical device. Made in Canada but sold in some of the health related stores in the U.S.

Re: more foot stuff.....

john h on 2/16/04 at 10:58 (144394)

Judy: You normally need a qualified Physical Thearapist to tell you where to place the pads for best results depending on what you are treating. It is even important where you place the positive and negative electrodes. An example for low back pain you place the positive electorde over the center of the back arund the L5/S1 area and if your pain happened to run down your left leg you would place the negative pad on your left buttock over where the sciatic nerve runs down the back of the leg. The electricity is to follow the nerve path. This is with a TENS unit which must be prescribed by a Doctor but I think any principal using electricity as a mode of thearpy would require the same procedure..

Re: more foot stuff.....

Dorothy on 2/16/04 at 11:27 (144396)

John H. ~
Yes, I do remember that and have kept it mind since, from what I have read about you here, we are alike in that we tend to 'try everything.' But Judy asked about the infrared/massager and so I gave her the information, and, I have to add, that it has been something that has been useful to me. It is just one more tool but it is one that I return to with some regularity...and it's cheap and easy! Maybe it's like Thorlo socks - they're not going to cure anything, but they can help make things a little better.

Re: more foot stuff.....

john h on 2/16/04 at 13:38 (144403)

Yes Dorothy I tend to try anything whether it seems like hocus pocus or not. Some things people have thought to be foolish have turned out to be effecive in treating many diseases. You never know where lighning might strike.