(…Or just about anything else we tell ‘em.)
Patients are predictable I’m sorry to say. Non-compliance is a very large problem with patients.
I give approximately 85% of my patients explicit, written directions to do calf stretching and – even with the most compelling reasons – they leave the office sold on the concept and the exercise and then… more than 50% of them won’t do it. Did I say my directions even have pictures?
I don’t know, maybe they go home saying, “What? I paid for an office visit, and this guy just told me to stretch? He must be crazy.”
Then, they come in for their follow-up and some version of this conversation occurs:
“Doc, your stretching is not working.”
“What’s wrong with it? ?”
“Are you DOING the stretching?”
“No. Should I? Did you really mean it?”
“Yes I meant it! What about, ‘the calf stretching is the ONLY thing that will FIX your problem,’ did you not get?”
C’mon, people. I’m telling you what, 95% of the time, is effective! However, the stretching is effective 0% of the time if they are not done.
I’m asked why I focus so much on calf stretching. It’s simple. It works. Stretching is prevention and cure rolled up into one. If you have pain now, this stretching will make it go away. If you don’t want pain later, KEEP STRETCHING.
Five to 10 new patients every week are ones I saw 10 to 15 years ago for plantar fasciitis, heel pain, or other ailments. I prescribed stretching, they complied, and the pain went away. However, I told them to continue with stretching, but for whatever reason, they didn’t. Now, a decade later, they show up for something else, like mid-foot arthritis or achilles tendonitis.
They think that one has nothing to do with the other, but I say they have EVERYTHING to do with one another. When it comes to stretching your calf, compliance is key.
Calves get tighter as we get older; the calf contracts as we age. It’s just a fact and there are many reasons this occurs. (More on that later…)
Frankly, if you don’t do the stretching, it’s okay by me. I get more business that way. Don’t stretch and we’ll be cutting on you soon enough. But I’d rather send you away from my office fixed for good instead of creating a repeat customer.
First of all, this site is a breath of fresh air. Common sense, results oriented, and patient centered. Kudos! 57 y/o golfing male. Lifetime caddy and athlete, who walks exclusively for golf and daily when not golfing…for years with a golf bag on my back for 5-6 miles…now stuck pushing a golf cart.
Short story: suffered through several years of PF and a bone spur, per x ray. Was prescribed a cortisone shot (worked, but briefly) and orthotics (can’t stand the feel and doubted the efficacy.). Was non compliant as it relates to the custom orthotic route, thank you very much.
Then, I found this site. Daily stretching, plus icing has eliminated my PF in both feet (thank you, thank you, thank you!). Was absolutely miserable after golf. Particularly after driving home and unable to walk into the house. Have added a new trail runner as a golf shoe (North Face Vectiv, with a rocker plate) and also believe this has significantly helped, FWIW.
Fast forward to early spring 2021. Aggressive daily walking with my wife in a hilly area (I’ll add no additional comment about her love of a fast pace…) has kicked off an incredible amount of achilles pain. But just my left foot. Now wondering if I should attack this with more stretching of the high calf? Any other suggestions would be most welcome…again, this site has been a godsend and am thankful that a little anger has gone a long way toward effective treatments for all of us!!!
Keep up the ranting, we’re here listening!
Thanks for your kind words and support. It just makes me angrier.
You should definitely be stretching your calves! You should know that plantar fasciitis has the exact same root cause as your current issue, just a different site of breakdown. Achilles issues occur in two areas, at the attachment to the calcaneus (heel bone, AKA, insertional Achilles tendinosis or Haglund’s deformity) or Achilles mid substance (usually about 2-3 inches above the calcaneus, AKA, Achilles tendonitis, no swelling and Achilles tendinosis/swelling or nodule). Even though calf stretching is near 100% effective (it treats the root cause) I make the distinction of location because of the time to resolution. Insertional Achilles tendinosis typically resolves quicker (2-8 weeks) while Achilles tendinitis and more so tendinosis take longer. You just have to have patience. Here is the cool thin, as long as your activities are not causing a progressive downward trend, I say go for it and be active as it sounds as if you are.
You know, the foot and ankle issue that are caused by equinus (65% of all non-traumatic acquired foot and ankle pathology) is very much like the golf swing. Find the ROOT CAUSE of your slice or hook and you are fixed, otherwise you are just piling on a bunch of compensations and fixing a damn thing. Alas, golf, unlike these foot and ankle problems is still fun even when it is bad. Stay with it brother.
Stay healthy my friends,