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plantar fasciitis and calf pain

Posted by Karen S on 11/04/04 at 05:41 (162917)

I have been aware of a localised pain which comes and goes in the rear of the arch in both my feet for 4 weeks. However recently whilst exercising this pain became so severe I had to stop. This acute pain is now with me all the time and I am now experiencing pain in my calfs, particularly just below the knee and my hips are beginning to ache. I have visited my doctor who diagnosed PF and prescribed an anyi-inflammatory, diclofenac 75mgx1 twice a day. He implied that the condition would last for months and if the pain remained as severe for 3-4 weeks I should return for further investigation. I have always exercised regularly 3-4 times /week a mixture now of gym(cardiovascular and stretching) and tennis. Otherwise my life is active with 4 young children a large house and garden on which I do the housework and gardening. I am probably about 1 stone overweight which has come on very gradually since my last baby.I am 39 years old.
My questions are these
Exercise is so painful(in fact walking is too) should I be trying to rest?
Is swimming a good alternative?
Why am I getting the pain in my calf and hips too?
What can I do to speed up the recovery process?
If I grit my teeth and bare the pain when doing the daily chores am I going to aggravate the condition further?

Re: plantar fasciitis and calf pain

Julie on 11/04/04 at 09:07 (162924)

Karen, I'm not a doctor, but until one replies here are some thoughts for you. From your description of your symptoms I would guess that your biomechanics (the way you walk) need investigation. If your arch is flattening, and if you are over-pronating, this will affect your ankles, calves, knees and hips: the whole of the lower extremity, and including the lower back, is a continuum and what goes on and the alignment of the feet affects the whole.

So I would see a podiatrist (foot doctor) for a full biomechanical examination and evaluation as soon as possible, and not wait the 3-4 weeks. If you are out of alignment so that the way you walk is causing the problem, orthotics may be prescribed and would probably help. Meanwhile make sure that you wear good, well-made shoes with plenty of support. Many of us do well with Birkenstocks, including me. New Balance, Dansko and other makes are liked - use the search facility for past posts on shoes.

If you are getting your cardiovascular exercise on a treadmill or other weight-bearing machine, or from walking or running, I would advise you to lay off until you have healed: this can take time, but non-essential weight-bearing exercise should be avoided as much as possible. Swimming, as you suggest, IS an excellent alternative, and non-weight-bearing stretching is useful, in fact essential, to avoid muscles tightening up. Have a look at the yoga foot exercises I have posted (click on the link here) (I am a yoga teacher).

Finally, though this should have come first, read the heel pain book for a better understanding of PF and a wide variety of treatment options. Have a look at the section on taping, which has helped many of us, including myself - it supports the arch, relieving the pain and giving the plantar fascia a chance to rest and heal.

And (really) finally, you say you've gained a stone, which sounds as though you live in England. If you're in London I can recommend my podiatrist. I discovered when I contacted him the other day to renew my orthotics that he has become expensive: if that isn't an issue for you I am sure he would be able to help you. You can look at his website: http://www.londonpodiatry.com .

I hope this is helpful and wish you all the best.

You say you have

Re: plantar fasciitis and calf pain - PS

Julie on 11/04/04 at 09:10 (162926)

And - don't go barefoot, not even to go to the loo at night. :)

Re: plantar fasciitis and calf pain

Karen S on 11/05/04 at 06:46 (163004)

Julie thankyou so much for your helpful comments I will try your suggested yoga exercises. I had thought about trying a podiatrist but wasn't sure of their clinical training etc someone has recommended one near to where I live so I will try her.
Once again many thanks for taking the time to make a comment.

Re: plantar fasciitis and calf pain

Pat A. on 11/06/04 at 16:07 (163104)

Is clipping the facia for heel spurs a common surgery and is it very successful?