Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I have suffered with foot pain for a long time. Had bunion & hammertoe surgery about 8 years ago, and it helped for a while. Have been wearing a well-known shoe orthotic ever since surgery as well. But my pain has been getting worse again over the years, to the point of me limping when I'd get up from my desk at work. Once I got moving, it would loosen up and I can do long walks, but I had considerable pain after walks and at night. I do NOT want to go the surgery route again, and feared if I went to a dr. that is what they would suggest.
Recently, I went to a new massage therapist, not thinking at all about my foot, but toward the end of the massage, I mentioned that IT was the most painful part of my body. She did a few things, but told me about another massage therapist who was doing amazing things on her foot, and suggested I call him. Thinking it was worth a try, I did, and was VERY encouraged with what I learned! According to him, most foot pain is caused by tight muscles, which don't allow the foot to work properly, and getting them stretched by to full length can make a world of difference. He and I went together to see yet a 3rd massage therapist (who teaches a particular stretching method).
A key principal with these therapists is that stretches should be held for 2 seconds each, released and repeated. This prevents the body's natural stretch reflex which tries to pull back to prevent injury if a stretch is held for long times. It's totally different way of stretching than I was ever taught, and it took me a while to convince myself to try it -- but as Michael said, "You've been holding stretches the old way (30-60 seconds or longer) for years. How is that working for you?" Since my pain had been increasing, I figured it was worth trying a new way of stretching -- and I'm very encouraged by the results!
All this happened just before our vacation. I was given 5 exercises to do (aiming for 15 reps 2x/day) and have been doing them -- with very encouraging results!! I have less pain, and in Maui I was even able to be barefoot much of the time (which hasn't happened in YEARS!!).
I will continue to see the massage therapist for a while (he can work more on the tight muscles than I can do on my own & I hope that will speed up the process), and continue with daily stretches. I am very optimistic that we can put an end to my pain based on these first few weeks!
I am attaching an article by the 3rd guy (trainer), because I found it very informative. One of the things he told me is that because tight muscles cause the foot problems, surgery alone doesn't help -- without changes to the muscles to relax and lengthen them, after surgery the tight muscles continue to pull on the newly "fixed" areas, and the pain returns. (I didn't explain that well, but hopefully you get the idea.) He told me that he actually gives a money back guarantee to patients with plantar fasciitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, because his technique is so effective. I found that amazing! www.mrtherapy.com/articles/article2.
Hope you find this helpful!