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John H Redux II

Posted by Robert J on 7/17/04 at 18:16 (155708)

I just read John H's description of his success with strengthening exercises and want everyone to know that I have had a similar experience with similar results. We may have a trend here.

I am an atypical PF person and have had PF for 2.5+ years. Earlier this year I read a New Yorker article describing a Harvard clinic for chronic bad backers that emphasized strengthening exercises on the theory that chronic pain often emanates from muscles and other soft tissues that have been 'trained' to report pain. The strengthening exercises re-trains the muscles to report normal responses to stress and also, of course, strengthens the tissues.

In any case, I liked this idea and started a regimen on my own for my feet. Like John, I find it difficult to describe my exercises. I use elastic bands, weights and other resistance devices that basically put to work all the muscles of the foot,but I emphasize those muscles of the plantar region. The regimen takes about an hour each morning.

That was about 2 months ago and my results are the same as John H. I would put my pain level at 1. I now walk each day for 30 minutes (I figure that's 1.5-2 miles). It causes only occassional problems which, like John's, go away quickly. I have put all orthotics in the closet on the theory that they prevent the muscles from working out and also I occassionally walk barefoot--gulp--around the house. I was intrigued recently to read that the famous Dr. Sandell in Mn. also is advising barefoot walking for some patients.

I dont regard myself as cured. The pain is still there, barely simmering. But the simmering tells me it could ignite again so, like John, I am holding off any final judgement about this.

I do think, though, that the similarity between John's experience and mine is striking and, just maybe, it means something. Also--correct me if I'm wrong--but John H is also an atypical PF person. I am wondering if that might be meaningful also.

Re: John H Redux II

John from MN on 7/17/04 at 18:20 (155710)

I think John H's exercises will be beneficial. However you still must fix the problem of scar tissue in your fascia. The exercises will help relieve the tension on your PF, but you still need to fix the fascia.

Re: John H Redux II

Dr. Z on 7/17/04 at 18:34 (155714)

There is another excerisce that is very effective called the plantar fascia stretch. You pull back your toes and then massage the fascia from the mid part of the fascia toward the toes. This is done twice daily five times daily.
It will help to strengthen the intrinic tendons within the foot. May even release some of the adhesion from the fascial planes. Works well

Re: John H Redux II

John from MN on 7/17/04 at 18:43 (155715)

Dr. Z,

I think the plantar facia stretch is one of the best things you can do yourself. Thank you for posting it.

Re: John H Redux II

john h on 7/18/04 at 11:31 (155751)

I have been doing this for some time dr. z. easy to do anytime and anywhere.

Re: John H Redux II

john h on 7/18/04 at 11:35 (155752)

Robert: I have never had 1st step pain in the morning and never had a heel spur. Many people with PF pain report the same thing. Medical literature notes spurs are merely symptomic of PF and not the cause of PF pain.

Re: John H Redux II

Robert J on 7/18/04 at 19:43 (155786)

John--

Like you, I dont have first step pain nor a heel spur. Also I have never had the sharp pains at the insertion point that many classic PF people report. My pain has been the dull kind that accumulates over a day. I DO suspect that these atypical symptons suggest a somewhat different injury from the classic type, and that atypicals may respond differently to treatments from the classics. As we know, atypicals don't usually respond well to ESWT. But if they do respond well to a regimen of progressive exercise, then maybe we're on to something. I know that two success stories--yours and mine, thus far at least--don't make a trend, but I would be interested in seeing other atypicals give this regimen a try. Hey, it's cheap, it's no-risk. It just may help.