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  1. #1
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    Plantar Fasciitis

    I have been dealing with Plantar Fasciitis for about a year now. All of the podiatrists I have seen tell me that bycling is ok. I wear biking shoes with custom made orthotics and stay off the hills but I have noticed lately that a day or two after I bike, I seem to get to recurrent pain in my heel again. I am not suppose to walk until it improves so what can I do for exercise ?. I have tried streching, icing and you name it and have not been able to get rid of it.

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    Swimming is very good for people with plantar fasciitis. My foot ...and my leg were hurthing today after running at the track. I went for a swim at noon, and it is amazing how much better I felt.

    Have you tried taping your foot? I know of a great foot-taping technique that worked wonders for me way back when I had plantar fasciitis.

    You will need: 1-1/2" wide adhesive tape (I use the paper kind that doesn't irritate my skin)
    3" wide Elastoplast (this is kind of like an ACE bandage that has adhesive on one side. It is stretchy, but sticks like adhesive tape)

    1. Starting at the bone on your foot where the little toe ends, wrap the tape around the back of your heel - gently, no pressure - then, as you go around the heel, pull it tight, bringing the tape around the inside of your foot. Anchor the other end of the tape right by the bone attached to the big toe.
    2. Cut three pieces of Elastoplast about 4" long. Put the first on across the bottom of your foot from from just behind the little toe to just behind the big toe. (going from tape to tape that you laid in step one)
    Overlap the second strip of Elastoplast about 3/4 inch over the first, and again go from tape to tape, across the bottom of your foot - arch area.
    Overlap the third strip of Elastoplast about 3/4 inch over the secind, and again go from tape to tape. Be careful as you wrap across the bottom of your foot not to pull too tight or to wrinkle the skin. Hold the bottom of the foot to keep it smooth.
    3. Now, take two strips of adhesive tape to anchor down the tape job. Use one stip on the inside edge of your foot, covering the ends of the Elastoplast. Use the other strip on the outside of the foot, again covering the edges of the Elastoplast to keep it from coming loose.

    Do not wrap tape all the way around the top and bottom of your foot. This can cut off the circulation.

    (this method came from the Runners' Repair Manual by Dr. Murray F. Weisenfeld)
    here's a picture of what it should look like.


    Good luck! Maybe taping your foot before biking would help.
    Last edited by Ironwoman; 04-29-06 at 02:24 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I recently got some orthotics made for cycling from www.esoles.com
    I have plantar facitis ( I call them foot Nazis ) and it still bothers me a little
    but it's much better.

    Stretch before you ride, and ice down after. You know those cooler packs you take on picnics? Try to find one made of soft plastic. It is very effective, so you don't need to ice down for more than 5 or 10 min. But the flip side is that it will
    feel incredible. After you ice down don't stand on it for 10 or 15 until it warms back up.

  4. #4
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    I keep my PF under control by a paticular stretching exercise my doctor gave me to do. In the morning, before I get out of bed, I sit on the edge of the bed and roll the sole of my foot over a soup can 30 or 40 times. Warms up and stretches my foot before I take my first step of the day.
    That first stretch of the day is usually enough.

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    I do like cc rider but instead of a soup can I use a soda bottle filled with water then frozen so I ice it while streching! FEELS GREAT! Good Luck!

  6. #6
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    I suffered mightily from this a few years ago. Best thing I did was go see a sports Physiotherapist (I was not hoping for much).

    The exercises they gave me to do plus the foot taping between sessions ( the same tape job as above) really did the trick.

    Problem is essentially gone now, except I still get the "stiffness" first thing in the morning. I will try the soda bottle idea.

  7. #7
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    I use a Campbell soup can because it is firm and the right size. I'd think that ice first thing would tighten your foot instead of loosen it. Maybe save the ice for later when it really hurts.
    One suggesstion on soup cans, use a thick soup, like cream of mushroom. If you step down on it too hard you might pop the top off, and a thick soup is easier to clean up than a thin, runny soup. (Know that from experience )

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    Plantar Fasciitis (Farmer's Foot to our grandparents) is the same as "shin splints" but along the bottom of your foot.
    The tape job works well, if you do it right. Try it out a few times.
    Also, none of your shoes should fit too tightly. Size up a half size, and wider if you can find them. Lots of arch support, and plenty of cushion and flexibility through the sole. The idea is to NOT splint your foot as you bear weight through it, but to let the bones, etc., move naturally. (Nike and New Balance, with a green Spenco insert.)
    Walking, running on softer surfaces, if thats an option. (Another reason why dedicated runners run on grass or gravel, not concrete.)
    Stretch your gastrocs brutally. Gastrocs, not just soleus. Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you, knees straight. Put your fingers on the sole of your foot from the lateral side of the just below your toes. Pull. HARD! Hold it for 10-30 seconds. You should feel it in your gastroc. Do it again. And again. And again. Your doing it right if its brutal. The idea is micro-tearing of the fascia. Don't worry, you won't hurt yourself. That fascia is alot stronger than you can pull! Do both legs, twice a day for three months. If you can lengthen your gastrocs, you get better range of motion in your ankles and feet, preserving the arch in your foot.
    NSAIDS before you have a long day on your feet. (I use Naprosyn. There's a current NSAIDS thread I started a few days ago.)
    Accupuncture if your insurance covers it or you can afford it.

  9. #9
    a blend of wit and charm Moochers_Dad's Avatar
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    I had plantar fasciitis for about 2.5 years until I finally took a drastic apporoach to getting rid of it. It worked and I have no more problems. I wore an ankle brace to bed every night for a year. There are a few products made and marketed as "night splints" and in my opinion, they all suck. The one I used and I recommend is made for twisted ankles and such, and completely immobilizes the ankle. The other products are adjustable, which is dangerous because all you need to do is keep your foot from moving so the tendons can heal while you sleep; the danger being that it's possible to adjust them too far and do more damage. Without a brace, your foot will heal in the position it's in when you would sleep normally, which is sort of pointed. Then, when you wake and do activities, you re-tear the tendons. Another problem with the night splints marketed toward plantar fasciitis sufferers is that they are dangerous to wear to bed in regards to any emergency that might arise. Some of them are like ice skates and if there's a fire or other reason to get out of bed, you're really stuck in that thing. The one I wore is the type one would wear to walk around in during the day. It's large, cumbersome and whomever is sleeping next to you will hate it and call you names. Ideally, all you need to do is keep your foot at a 90 degree angle while you sleep. Your tendons and foot will heal in the right position over time, but not quickly. It seems like you're condition isn't as severe as mine so I doubt you would need to wear something to bed for a year.

    The one I wore is called the Swede-O walking boot and it's designed for a secondary device for after cast removal or for more severe ankle injuries. Everything else I had tried slipped around at night, and again, like I said, sucked. Another reason they sucked is they had to be put on in bed and taken off before you get out of bed.

    Also, in my opinion, custom orthodics are a rip off. I don't think the human foot is so precise that a good pair of off the shelf orthodics won't work. I have about six pairs of PowerStep insoles and they are perfect. I NEVER EVER wear a pair of shoes without them in. I never buy a pair of shoes they won't fit into.

    I'm sure you've been told to never go barefoot and that's good advice also.

  10. #10
    neptune diner bennyk's Avatar
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    Are the symptoms you are experiencing with PF just foot pain?

    When I am on my feet for a while my feet begin to hurt pretty bad, and I'm suspicious this is the problem. The pain is mostly concentrated on the bottoms of my arches, and to a lesser extent on the ball/heel.

    It happens if I am standing for more than an hour or so, or if I walk for a long time during the day.

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    This is an excellent thread! I've suffered with this on and off for about the past year, and it's a drag! It's hard to explain to someone who's never had it what it's like to wake up in the morning and walk around like you've got two broken feet for the first hour. Just to go along with all of the other great advice on stretching, etc., I've had very good luck with the Spenco Polysorb insoles. They're cheap enough (around $15) that I've replaced the insoles in the dozen or so shoes I wear regularly, including my cycling shoes. I've found that a good initial stretch in the morning, by laying in bed and using a towel to pull my toes and foot back, really helps. I've just got back into cycling a few weeks ago, and have been hitting my goal of 100 miles/week without aggravating the PF. The only minor pain I was getting in one foot was eliminated when I noticed that the cleat on that shoe was closer to the ball of my foot than the other shoe, and moving it further towards my toe fixed it.

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    Benny,

    The classic symptom is very painful walking first thing in the morning, that subsides as the foot stretches with use. For me, there was virtually no pain in my heal per se, but severe pain in my arch that radiated around the top of my foot, aggravated by the fact that I was trying to walk on the outside of my foot to minimize the pain. Basically it's the connective tissue at the bottom of the foot that contracts while sleeping, the same effect you see in infants, when their feet curl downward. My doctor tells me it much more common in people with flat feet. If your feet are fine in the morning, you might just be suffering from generally fatigue and need shoes with a better fit/insoles.

  13. #13
    neptune diner bennyk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by josephvman
    Benny,

    The classic symptom is very painful walking first thing in the morning, that subsides as the foot stretches with use. For me, there was virtually no pain in my heal per se, but severe pain in my arch that radiated around the top of my foot, aggravated by the fact that I was trying to walk on the outside of my foot to minimize the pain. Basically it's the connective tissue at the bottom of the foot that contracts while sleeping, the same effect you see in infants, when their feet curl downward. My doctor tells me it much more common in people with flat feet. If your feet are fine in the morning, you might just be suffering from generally fatigue and need shoes with a better fit/insoles.
    Interesting. I'll pay more attention tomorrow morning, but my instinct is that it's generally BETTER in the morning. I guess if it's just fatigue I'll have to live with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bennyk
    Interesting. I'll pay more attention tomorrow morning, but my instinct is that it's generally BETTER in the morning. I guess if it's just fatigue I'll have to live with it.
    Benny,

    Try the Spenco Polysorb insoles. They are excellent. I was eating ibuprophen like they were M&M's before I found those things!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandconp
    I have been dealing with Plantar Fasciitis for about a year now. All of the podiatrists I have seen tell me that bycling is ok. I wear biking shoes with custom made orthotics and stay off the hills but I have noticed lately that a day or two after I bike, I seem to get to recurrent pain in my heel again. I am not suppose to walk until it improves so what can I do for exercise ?. I have tried streching, icing and you name it and have not been able to get rid of it.
    Try some Birkenstock shoes/sandals with a 1051B insole, which is the highest, most aggressive arch support they sell.

    I have high arches and about 10 years ago was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis; my feet were killing me. I got a pair of birkis with that high, agressive insole and my feet felt somewhat better the first day. There was nothing but improvement from there on out. Worked for me. . .

    And if you are going to stretch, do it regularly, religiously and as much as you can--it may take a while to kick in and you might have to stretch regularly during a ride, depending on whether you ride "heels up" or heels down." "Heels up" will tend to shorten the tendon over the heel bone, so stretch. Off the bike, try warming your legs by some sort of mild exercise or even soaking in a hot tub or using a heating pad before you stretch; you want the muscles and tendons to stretch, not snap.
    I . . can . . . doooo . . . it

  16. #16
    neptune diner bennyk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by josephvman
    Benny,

    Try the Spenco Polysorb insoles. They are excellent. I was eating ibuprophen like they were M&M's before I found those things!
    Yeah, I'm thinking I'll look into that, thanks for the suggestion.

    Would you say the Polysorb ones are of a different class than the ones that are available in regular drug stores?

  17. #17
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi again,
    if you wind up looking for innersoles, my favorites are Superfeet and Shock Doctor. Both are very good.

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    The green-colored Spencos--are those the Polysorbs?--seem best for me.

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    Thank you for your input. I am going to try the taping procedure you described. I have tried everything else who knows maybe this will work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chromedome
    The green-colored Spencos--are those the Polysorbs?--seem best for me.
    Those are the ones, green on top, yellow on bottom!

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    Quote Originally Posted by josephvman
    Those are the ones, green on top, yellow on bottom!
    ...and it says "Polysorb" on the box. I use Spenco's in all my running shoes.

    The ones that don't have the yellow arch support and heel (ie, the green flat ones or the ones with the "lump" of an arch support - often found at drug stores) do not give the same support as the the Polysorbs. If you use Polysorbs in running shoes, take the insoles out and put the Polysorbs in.
    For biking, I used to use a Spenco (mostly to take up the extra room in my bike shoes - I have narrow feet). Now I have custom bike orthotics. They are great! They give the support...and they are not cushey like the Spenco's...so the power transfer is better.

  22. #22
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    I had PF in college for about a year, then again in my 30's for a year and a half. Not fun. There are lots of ways you can get it, and its tough to heal from. I would encourage you to do some serious research into treatments. Most of what you read here and elsewhere will not work, and indeed may aggravate the injury.

    Minimize being barefoot -- as in, virtually never, until it is healed. Swimming will aggravate it if you do flip turns, or even walking to/from the pool. Wear frankenstein-like shoes which do not allow your sole to flex. I had to wear those for a year. Massage the area by moving it on a lacrosse ball or somesuch (your hands/thumbs just aren't strong enough). Most of all, don't continue to injure it by doing whatever caused it in the first place. Give it time to rest. Then strengthen it and stretch it when it heals.

    I recommend that you really really read up on it so you can evaluate the advice you are being given.

  23. #23
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    The info I gave in post #8, which is what lemurhouse contradicts in post #22 (frankenstein shoes), I got from an orthopedic surgeon/professor emeritus at a large university based teaching program. For the last 20 years he's specialized in treatment of the foot and ankle, developing both non-surgical and surgical approaches to chronic and acute foot ailments.
    But go ahead and read up on it on the internet. You'll find there are surgical procedures that can be done for long term sufferers, but there are certain parameters you need to meet. Or stay off your feet and maybe it'll go away, until you start using your feet the same way as before, and it'll come back.
    It's about treating the problem effectively, and changing your habits in how you use your feet, so it doesn't come back.
    You could try the frankenstein boots--which sound as though they have no flex through the sole, thus splinting the Plantar Fascia and heel cord--and after a few months your PF will feel better, but the underlying problem will not have been resolved, and your gastros will have become even shorter. Frankenstein boots were standard treatment until the 90's, and still is with many podiatrists and orthopedists that don't have time to keep up with all the continuing ed that is available.
    One of the largest populations with PF are construction workers, which wear boots with steel reinforced toes, a shank in the sole, and are laced up tight. Clog-wearers. People who walk/stand on rock-hard surfaces for long periods of time. Over-weight people.
    My PF problems haven't recurred in the 12 years since.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by chromedome
    . . .
    One of the largest populations with PF are construction workers, which wear boots with steel reinforced toes, a shank in the sole, and are laced up tight. Clog-wearers. People who walk/stand on rock-hard surfaces for long periods of time. Over-weight people.
    My PF problems haven't recurred in the 12 years since.
    Yeah, when I had the PF, my weight had gotten up to my highest ever. My feet said ouch.

    The Birkenstocks that worked for me really stretched the bottom of my foot and kept it stretched.--and I remembered something: My Birkenstocks are actually sized a little large for me and thus really supported/stretched the bottom of my foot. I have had no recurrences to this day, unless I have on my feet all day long and further the day the day before, but even then the soreness is relatively minor and easily relieved by walking in the Birkis. As I said, this worked for me; I am still wearing Birkis 95% of the time, year round.
    I . . can . . . doooo . . . it

  25. #25
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    My wife has PF and has used for the past couple years a pair of socks that you sleep in that stretches your facia all night. They work very well, they are called Strasburg Socks I believe. They dont let your foot relax and tendons tighten as you sleep, instead they keep your foot flexed which keeps your tendons stretched out. Not the most attractive things in the world, I call them her "clown socks" but they beat foot pain by a long shot.

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