Fixing my Feet

Along the way, my Plantar Fasciitis seems to have flared up again.  Plantar fasciitis is caused because the tough, fibrous band of tissue (fascia) connecting the heel bone to the base of the toes has become inflamed.  Overweight women, like myself, are more likely to develop the condition.  Walking a lot on hard surfaces makes it worse, so our long walks into town were making it worse.  The pain classically occurs right after getting up in the morning and after a period of sitting. The excruciating pain in my heel bone was often felt worse after (not during) exercise.

According to my research, stretching is the best treatment for plantar fasciitis.  I found this exercise to be the most helpful:

  • Plantar fascia stretch: Stand with the ball of your injured foot on a stair. Reach for the bottom step with your heel >until you feel a stretch in the arch of your foot. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then relax. Repeat 3 times. After you have stretched the bottom muscles of your foot, you can begin strengthening the top muscles of your foot.

FootCareMD suggests the following

  • Lean forward against a wall with one knee straight and heel on the ground. Your other knee is bent. Your heel cord and foot arch stretch as you lean. Hold for 10 seconds, relax and straighten up. Repeat 20 times for each sore heel. It is important to keep the knee fully extended on the side being stretched.
  • Lean forward onto a countertop, spreading your feet apart with one foot in front of the other. Flex your knees and squat down, keeping your heels on the ground as long as possible. Your heel cords and foot arches will stretch as the heels come up in the stretch. Hold for 10 seconds, relax and straighten up. Repeat 20 times.
  • Plantar Fascia-Specific Stretching Program
    From American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/Pages/footcaremd.aspx
      1. Cross your affected leg over your other leg.
      2. Using the hand on your affected side, take hold of your affected foot and pull your toes back towards shin. This creates tension/stretch in the arch of the foot/plantar fascia.
      3. Check for the appropriate stretch position by gently rubbing the thumb of your unaffected side left to right over the arch of the affected foot. The plantar fascia should feel firm, like a guitar string.
      4. Hold the stretch for a count of 10. A set is 10 repetitions.

The good news is that my foot feels so much better!  We have even begun playing tennis in the mornings.

Here is a great list of exercises that you can follow. Plantar Fascitis Exercises-1.  Stick to it if you have problems with foot pain, plantar fasciitis, and or heel pain.

I also use the Active Ankle Dns Dorsal Night Splint Active Ankle Dns Dorsal Night Splint when I go to bed.  It’s been very helpful too.

 

Trying Out Something New

I’ve purchased a Thera-Band Flexbar Hand Exerciser to work on my tennis elbow while traveling.  I’ve been using the red one in physical therapy and have seen improvement in my arm.  The blue colored one is heavier so I hope to build up some strength as well.

Thera-Band Flexbar Hand Exerciser - Tenn•Allows for oscillation movements for neuromuscular and balance trainingis Elbow Relief Bar The Amazon.com description:

  • Allows for oscillation movements for neuromuscular and balance training
  • Provides soft tissue and joint mobilization
  • Used in occupational therapy, physiotherapy, sports and fitness

Exercises for Better Posture

..according to WebMD:

Exercises for Better Posture

Make these posture-boosting exercises a regular part of your workout. Remember to exhale strongly and pull in your core muscles as you work — a key principle in both Pilates and yoga.

1. Core Stabilizer: Single Leg Extension. This exercise trains your core muscles to work together to stabilize your pelvis.

Starting position: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and hands behind your head. Press your low back into the floor, and curl your head up off the floor.
Action: Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Slowly pull one knee into your chest, keeping your low back pressed to the floor, while extending your other leg straight at about a 45-degree angle off the floor. Keep your abdominals pulled in and your low back on the floor. If your low back arches off the floor, extend your leg higher toward the ceiling. Switch legs. Start with five to 10 extensions on each side.

Variations to increase intensity: Double-leg extension: Pull both knees into your chest, then extend both legs straight at about a 45-degree angle, using your core to keep your low back on the floor.

As you extend your legs, extend both arms overhead, reaching in the opposite direction from your legs.

2. The New Crunch. The new crunch works the rectus abdominis and obliques. It’s also called a “curl up.”

Starting position: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Press your low back into the floor. Place your hands behind your head, or reach your arms toward your knees if it doesn’t create too much tension in your neck.
Action: Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Curl your head and shoulders slowly off the floor. Hold, then slowly lower back down. Repeat until you fatigue.

Variations to increase intensity: Extend one leg straight at a 45-degree angle toward the ceiling.

Hold both legs off the floor, knees bent, with your shins parallel to the floor.

3. Pilates Roll-Ups / Yoga Sit-Ups. These exercises work the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.

Starting position: Lie on your back with your legs straight, your feet flexed, and your arms reaching overhead on the floor. Press your low back into the floor.
Action: Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Roll up in slow motion, reaching your arms off the floor, then your shoulders and head, rolling up one vertebra at a time until you’re sitting up with your abdominals still pulled in. Slowly roll back down. Repeat three to five times, adding more as your core gets stronger.

Variation to increase intensity:  Cross your arms over your chest as you roll up.

4. Crossovers. Crossovers work all the core muscles, focusing on the obliques.

Starting position: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, your chest lifted off the floor, knees pulled into your chest. Keep your low back pressed into the floor.
Action: Exhale strongly and pull your navel in and up toward your spine. Pull one knee into your chest while extending your other leg straight and rotating your torso toward the bent knee. Slowly switch legs, pulling the other knee into your chest and rotating your torso toward it while extending the opposite leg off the floor. Repeat five to 10 times, adding more as your core gets stronger.

Variation to increase intensity:  The closer your straight leg is to the floor, the harder the work for your core. Try extending your leg just inches off the floor, making sure your lower back stays on the floor.

5. Cobra Pose: Back Extension. The cobra pose strengthens the erector spinae and other low back muscles.

Starting position: Lie on your stomach with palms flat on the floor near your ribs. Extend your legs straight behind you, and press the tops of your feet into the floor.
Action: Exhale strongly and pull your abdominal muscles in and up toward your spine. Lengthen out through your spine and slowly raise your head and chest off the floor, using only your back muscles. Do not push down into your arms to press up. Keep your hip bones on the floor, and gaze down at the floor to relax your neck muscles. Slowly lower back down. Repeat three to five times, adding more as your lower back gets stronger.

Variation to increase intensity: Reach your arms long beside your head. Keep your elbows straight.

6. Plank Pose. This exercise strengthens the obliques and transverse abdominis, as well as your shoulder and back muscles.

Starting position: Start on your hands and knees with your palms under your shoulders. Extend both legs straight behind you, toes tucked under, into a position like the top of a push-up. Pull your abdominal muscles in to prevent a “sway-back,” and gaze down at the floor.

Action: Hold the plank until you’re fatigued. Rest and then repeat. Keep your abdominals pulled in and up so your low back doesn’t sag as you exhale.

Variation to increase intensity:   Forearm plank: Balance on your forearms instead of your hands.

 

Physical Therapy for My Knee

I went to a chiropractor who told me that I will need to get physical therapy for my knee.  The good news is that she thinks the problem is fixable; the bad news is that I did not hear what the specific problem is.  Time to look into it.

 

More Yoga, More Walking

I’ve attended a few more Anusara yoga classes and continued walking around the park.  My knees are better but I’m still having issues with my knees.  A long time ago, I was told that I had IT band issues but the pain in my knees disappeared and I haven’t thought about it in a long time.  Because I’m still really having issues going up and down stairs, I am revisiting the IT Band as a possible culprit.

  • Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS or ITBFS, for iliotibial band friction syndrome) is one of the leading causes of lateral knee pain in runners according to Wikipedia. The iliotibial band is a superficial thickening of tissue on the outside of the knee, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, moving from behind the femur to the front while walking.
  • ITBS symptoms range from a stinging sensation just above the knee joint (on the outside of the knee or along the entire length of the iliotibial band) to swelling or thickening of the tissue at the point where the band moves over the femur. The pain may not occur immediately during activity, but may intensify over time, especially as the foot strikes the ground. Pain might persist after activity. Pain may also be present above and below the knee, where the ITB actually attaches to the tibia.

There is a YouTube video that gives an easy exercise that supposed to relieve chronic knee pain caused by the IT Band.  He claims that it works faster and less painfully than rolling with a foam roller.

The (Knee Pain) Guru on ‘How To Treatment For IT Band Knee Pain’

I figure that it is worth a shot to try.

 

Light Kickboxing and Strength Session with John Salgado

Sadly, I weighed in this morning a half pound heavier than yesterday.  Yes, I know I’ve already written that a person should not weigh herself on a daily basis but I can’t help myself.  I’m not sure why it happened but I think it may relate to under-eating again.  The Fat2FitRadio.com pod casts repeated noted that under-eating would result in the body going into starvation mode and holding on to calories.   For the second time this week, I dropped under the calorie limits suggested by the Calories and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculator.  I ate a little over 1600 calories yesterday, so I consumed at least my BMR of 1430 calories.  However, I didn’t eat enough.  🙁  According to the calculator, I should eat between 1907 calories for a Lightly Active woman (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk) to 2150 calories for a Moderately Active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk).

Today’s workout with John was lighter in deference to my knee and because I am fighting off a flu.  We spent a lot of time doing kickboxing strength exercises and drills.  I was still soaked in sweat but happy.

 I found this video on how to do a Back Leg Roundhouse Kick on the ehow.com site.

Another Excellent Kickboxing Workout

Despite coming down with a bug, I worked out with John Salgado today and did pretty well.  Because we’re still working around my cranky knee, we started out doing some drill on the Bosu Ball: jogging on it, Dome Toe Taps [you can watch the video below but I can say she’s a lot better at it than I am LOL],  side squats [again, very small movements because of my knee], and squat thrusts.

Other exercises for today included wall squats with a stability ball and a 10 lb ball.  A new item for today was assisted dips.  We rounded out the work out with punching and kicking combinations on the bag.

Wall Squat with Stability Ball by http://www.workoutz.com

The good news on weight loss and nutrition is that I am still within my recommended calorie intake for my BMR.  I must confess that I had vanilla ice cream with blueberries last night [yes, I entered it into the SparkPeople.com Nutrition Tracker and I remain in calorie range :-)]  I’m down another half pound but that could be just water weight.

Kickboxing with John Salgado

Despite the rain, I made it to the gym this afternoon. My knee was especially creaky today so we tried some modified one-leg-squat exercises. I did the easiest variation:  John had me sit on a chair, extend one leg and arms in front and stand up on one leg.  I then sat down on the chair while standing on one leg.  I still had to support the weak knee but it’s a start to try to rebuild leg strength.

Here’s a video link demonstrating the modified one-leg-squat exercises from eHow.com:

 
 

Other exercises with the resistance bands for today included:

You can find other Resistance Band exercise suggestions at:

We rounded out today with punching and kicking combos on the bag.

I’ve tried to continue eating healthily- breakfast included a fruit protein shake so I had a kick start with protein and fiber;  other meals included vegetables.

Back Strengtheners With Resistance Bands and Kickboxing Cardio

I met with John Salgado this afternoon for my kickboxing session.  We’re going to ease into strengthening my legs so we focused primarily on arms and back.  The session  began with mobility exercises to try to get the kinks out of my legs. We then proceeded to do a series of slow front kicks. By isolating each part of the kick, John says that we work on our core strength, balance and technique.  [I found a related article on the benefit of isolation exercises called “How to Front Kick“.]

Then we moved onto Back Exercises [3 sets] using the Stability Ball:

Using the Resistance Bands and seated on a balance ball:

  • Lateral Rowskickboxing woman
  • Seated Rows
  • Bicep Curls

Also on the Balance Ball [3 sets]:

  • Push ups on the Stability Ball Reps: 12-15
  • Knee Tucks on the Stability Ball Reps: 12-15
  • Dumbbell Chest Press on Ball [15, 20, 25 lb weights]
  • Dumbbell Triceps Extensions on Ball [15, 20, 25 lb weights]
  • Sit ups [last set with light weights]

We also did a couple of rounds doing punches, slips and kicks with the punching bag. We finished with 3 minutes of elbow-to-knees sit ups.

After stretching my legs and back, we ended our session today with some QiGong outside.

We picked up a couple of Mango and Green Teas with Tapioca at CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice.  According to Livingstrong.com, tapioca bubble tea combines tea, milk, honey and cooked tapioca pearls to form a frothy beverage that should be treated as a dessert in your caloric count. The large drink probably contained more than 300 calories. I’d always thought tapioca was good for you but I think I will pass on these next time.

 

Limited Strength Training at Crunch Gym

I went to see Frank, my trainer at the local Crunch gym, this morning to restart my training program.  Because of my knee issues and the time I’ve been away, we took it really easy.

  • Warm up was 5 sets of lateral runs and some stretches

My work out comprised 3 sets of the following:

  • 1 minute of rope pulley machine – pulling down
  • 1 minute of rope pulley machine – pulling up
  • 20 modified inchworm exercises [just going forward and going back to stand up]
  • traditional lateral pull down machine
  • traditional row machine
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises [to the side, moving across to the front and then back down to hips; reverse order for next set]
  • side leg raises

I’m incapable of moving my knee to a 90 degree angle with any weight so squats and lunges are out of the question for the time being.

Here’s a good video example:


I tried the SparkPeople.com Trivia game – it asks about health and exercise questions.