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PF and hamstring pain

Posted by Trudy on 5/06/04 at 17:56 (150152)

I've been off work with PF for about 6 weeks and just started on a gradual return to work for the last 3 weeks. I have had chronic PF for about 2 years, just recently was so chronic I was on crutches.

My condition improved enough to be able to walk about 5 minutes and work at my job 6hrs a day, restricted to desk duties.

This is what happens like clockwork about 1-2 times a week whenever I am at a desk for awhile. The hamstrings of both legs starts to ache and feel very heavy; then start to contract and I start feeling agonizing pain going throughout both legs to my feet. This lasts all afternoon so that by the time I get home, my feet are so inflammed and raw feeling that I have to ice and elevate my legs for at least an hour. Then the next few days, my feet are stiff and sore. This has been an ongoing problem for me that has been interrupting my treatment process every time.

During my workday, I stretching, try to keep my legs circulated by walking or moving my legs, massaging as much as I can.

I am not overweight, excercise regularly - cycling, swimming, pilates when I can. Please help, it's driving me crazy and seems to be preventing my treatments from working. My doctor does not seem to believe me as he does not find any nerve or circulation problems.

Re: PF and hamstring pain

Julie on 5/07/04 at 02:33 (150172)

Trudy, this sounds like serious cramp, and restricted circulation in your legs may be the cause. You may not have any systemic 'circulation problems', as your doctor says, but sedentary jobs certainly have an effect on circulation, and you are now sitting for longer than you usually did in the past. Six hours a day is a lot of hours! Here are a few suggestions:

Have a look at your sitting position. You may be sitting too low, with your hips lower than your knees: this would restrict circulation in your legs and would bring on that 'heavy' feeling signalling the onset of cramp. Try adjusting your chair height so that your hips are a little higher than your knees: this opens the angle at the knee, and should aid circulation. (If you're short, and the adjustment means that your feet dangle, put something under them: a telephone directory, or a letter tray. Just make sure that your hips stay higher than your knees.)

Try not to sit for too long at a stretch, whatever the demands of the work. The moment that 'heavy feeling' starts, get up from your desk and walk around a little. I know you can't walk for long, but even a few steps may be enough to head off the cramp.

Take your shoes off while you work and let your feet breathe (but slip them on again before you go for your little walks). Do you wear shoes with heels? If you do, this could be restricting the circulation in your calf muscles because your feet are plantarflexed.

Have a look at the yoga foot exercises (click on yoga) and use them regularly throughout your day to stimulate and maintain the circulation in your legs. You could add a simple knee bending and stretching movement: push your chair back and bend and straighten each leg a few times, stretching your heel away as you straighten.

Use the pressure point for relieving cramp. It's between the big and second toes, right where the 'webbing' is. Press firmly into that point with your thumb and apply a circular motion. This will - usually - relieve cramp anywhere in the body, not just the foot.

Could tension (mental as well as physical) be part of the problem? You don't sound like a workaholic, but as you've been away from your job for awhile, maybe you feel under pressure to work as hard as possible and get as much done as possible to make up for the time you were off. Perhaps there has been a pile-up of work in your absence and you really are under pressure. Try to give yourself permission to take things at your own pace and not drive yourself. Take regular, relaxing breaks, even if only for a few minutes. You'll feel better, and probably get more done!

I rarely read the board now, but I looked in this morning and am glad I saw your post. I hope mine is some help, and I wish you all the best.

Re: PF and hamstring pain

Trudy on 5/07/04 at 12:49 (150193)

Julie, Thank you for taking the time to reply to my message.

It makes sense that it is the way I'm sitting. I've tried many ways to adjust my chair and will try to raise my chair up. The ergonomics expert always insisted to keep my knees level with my hips, but maybe this is if there are no cramping problems.

This website has proven to be very informative for me. If it wasn't for this, my healing process would be much slower, I'm sure!

Re: PF and hamstring pain

Carlos N. on 5/07/04 at 14:07 (150200)


You've described my own symptoms...almost anyways. Nothing worked for me either until recently. I thought I was headed for crutches or a wheel chair...seriously. I found a real good doctor who understood my feet and made me custom orthotics that actually worked. They corrected my biomechanics.

However, I also need lots of rehab so I found a great physiotherapist who is very familiar with PF and uses Active Isolated Stretches (AIS). These are a bit similar to Julie's yoga stretches. My therapist has been stretching me out with the AIS techniques from my pelvis to my feet and I feel much better. At this point your doctor can't help you anymore. Go find someone who has studied with Aaron Mattes, founder of the AIS technique, and get stretched out. I have very little tightness in my hamstrings and I can feel the circulation improving in my legs, too.

Lastly, you got a reply from Julie, a long time poster and expert in PF. Julie, please come back! We all love your yoga stretches.