Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

My PF cure--conservative and so far, permanent.

Posted by Dave M on 6/28/04 at 07:13 (154063)

Below is a reprint of my post from May 2003. As of June 2004 I've had no recurrence and my only ongoing therapy is a slight rubber lift in my basketball shoes. I did continue a single tape strip on the bottom of my foot for about a year. DM
I had PF for about ten months and was referred by a doctor to physical therapy. I could not walk more than 50 yards a day without having to begin walking on the ball of the foot. In physical therapy I was subjected to the same intense stretching exercises I had been doing including the severe 'stairstep stand which really rips at the bottom of your foot. I quit after two sessions since I wasn't getting better and it was $175/visit. I was considering getting the lithotriptor type zapper done but I am generally against radical procedures.. Then I read a lot of advice on heelspurs.com. What made the most sense was advice from the 'yoga lady (I can't remember her name) that advised against weight bearing stretching and other articles that advised that this was a circulation and healing problem, not a stretching problem.
I began the yoga type stretches and used a vibrating warm water footbath with infrared heat for about an hour every morning. I am not mentioning the brand here because I see a lot of questionable entries that just happen to mention some miracle product. I would vibrate my feet in water as hot as I could stand then put my PF heel up on the infrared light to heat it for about ten minutes. I discontinued weight bearing stretches, a night splint and anything that I thought would hurt the foot. I used three quarter length heel risers in my shoes and tried not to walk too much. I used no pills or ointments.
After a few weeks I was much better. After about 5 weeks I started to play full court basketball again three times a week, but only for about 15 minutes. The foot was weak when I started and it took about three months to build up the foot and my general stamina to play everyday for about 45 minutes, spread over 1.5 hours. I have been back playing now for about five months and use the footbath only occasionally, when I have overstressed the foot the day before. At 60, I shouldn't be playing five days a week but I can't help it.
Thanks to the people at heelspurs.com and those that contribute to the site.

Re: My PF cure--conservative and so far, permanent.

Elyse B on 6/28/04 at 11:09 (154077)

Dave, I am interested in the warm water footbath and infrared heat. If you won't mention the product, how about some websites?

Re: My PF cure--conservative and so far, permanent.

Cindy W-A on 6/28/04 at 18:08 (154095)

I'm also interested in the warm water footbath with infrared heat. Are those 2 separate things you have to buy? And when you say you tried not to walk too much, how much is that? I'm walking as little as possible around the house and using crutches when I have to do anything longer just to try and rest my foot.

Re: My PF cure--conservative and so far, permanent.

Dorothy on 6/28/04 at 19:56 (154111)

Hi -

You asked Dave a question and he hasn't answered you yet so I will give it a go. I have mentioned this product on this site but it's been quite a while back and you are fairly new here. There are a number of brands for this kind of product - Homedics is one that is commonly available. You can find these in lots of places, from WalMart to QVC; I'm sure if you did a search at Amazon or at drugstore.com you would also find them there. I found one on sale at WalMart for, as I recall, about $25.00 (memory could be wrong).
I tried it for a while, but returned it. I didn't see that it offered anything that couldn't be accomplished easier and with less mess and hassle and no need to plug something in by using a hot foot bath (i.e. hot water in a plastic container - a plastic rectangular box sold to be used as a cat litter box for 99 cents works fine for me - I have no cats and no litter - ) or sitting on the edge of a bathtub if you have one and running warm/hot water over your feet for a while. Then for about $10.00 also at WalMart I purchased a handheld infrared massager. So I can use alternately or separately the hot water bath and the infrared massager and get the same affect for less money and less hassle and more versatility. In my humble opinion. But you might want to try to infrared foot massager to see for yourself; it might be just the ticket for you.
The webmaster here, Scott R, says that 'infrared' in these products is not really. I do not know, other than what the product info. says about them. Hope this helps some.

Re: My PF cure--conservative and so far, permanent.

Dorothy on 6/28/04 at 20:18 (154113)

The 'yoga lady' is Julie. There are other 'yoga ladies' here, but she is the one you are referring to. She is an exceptional 'yoga lady'. She posted the exercises that so many of us have benefited from - and not too long ago, she posted a reference to a 'type' or series of yoga asanas that appear to be a good series to explore.

Re: My PF cure--conservative and so far, permanent.

Cindy W-A on 6/29/04 at 12:52 (154153)

Dorothy - Thanks for the info!

Re: My PF cure--conservative and so far, permanent.

Janice N on 6/30/04 at 13:19 (154259)

It is a foot spa. Walmart and Target online have them. Ranges from 30-70 dollars. It is the same thing like they always had to soak your feet in. Except added features of the extra heat feature and rollers to massage your feet. Walmart only carries them in their stores during the holidays. But drugstores and other places have them.

Re: My PF cure--conservative and so far, permanent.

Janice N on 6/30/04 at 13:24 (154260)

With being home and able to rest my feet pretty much when ever I need to one would think it would help. But at night is when I feel the worse trying to sleep. Plus get up to go to the bathroom several times. So many others that are working and on their feet hurt so bad. I dont know how you stand it. I think when I do my water walking I have been overdoing it some. You dont know until you get home and then wham!

Re: My machine.

Dave M on 7/09/04 at 09:08 (154916)

Sorry for the long delay.

Mine footbath machine is a Homedics VibraSpa(tm) Luxury Foot Spa with infrared heat. Customer service email (email removed). I got mine at one of the big drug chains, CVS I think. I filled mine with fairly hot water and put my feet in it from a sitting position on a towel to keep the floor dry. It has a roller with bumps on it called an Acupressure Roller that I tried but it was uncomfortable to use so I just removed it. The machine provides some heat to the water but it cools down after a while which is fine. Then I put my foot over the infrared light for a while. There are fancier types of these machines with bubbles, etc. but I havn't tried them. I think the vibration and warm water are what get the circulation going.
In addition to the machine, I did some of the yoga type stretches and used a tennis ball under the spur a few times but mainly that was hit and miss. I used the machine religiously every morning for about an hour. I DID NOT do any weight bearing stretches and I don't do any now, even before playing intense full court basketball. I went back to playing a little after about five weeks on the machine. The foot got better as the foot got stronger by using it hard for short periods. I don't know if the foot would have gotten that much better had I continued just the foot bath without playing on it some. I think the playing helped. When I went back to playing, BOTH my feet were sore from strain and weakness I guess, not particularly in the PF area, but other places as well.