T Nation

W/O Suggetions With Heel Problems


#1

Hi!

A couple of years ago I was a sedate tub o' lard at 240 pounds. I was fine with that until my heels broke down on me due to the weight.

Injured heels suck something horrible, so I decided to get in shape and lose some weight. I started lifting weight and doing some cardio (mostly spinning) and I've lost about 45 pounds now and gotten a bit stronger while doing that.

Now that I'm a bit lighter I want do add some more muscle, and I think the best way to do this is to do large lifts, like dead lifts, squats and benchpresses.

Problem is my heels haven't healed yet, so I can't really squat properly. I can do deadlifts fairly well, though I have to place most of the weight on the front of my feet. I'm not all that strong yet (about 280 lbs is my max so far), but at least I can do them and I get stronger while doing them.

Another problem is that my knees were beginning to feel the weight right before I started working out. I never had any real problems with them, but they are weak. I don't think I can squat much more than 120 lbs due to my knees. You should see peoples' reaction when you squat less than you bench ... it's sad, so sad.

My question to you all is, do you have any good suggestions on a training schedule I could use? I'd like suggestions for the whole body, not just lower body.

Thanks!!


#2

I can't seem to follow this complicated medical-ese language. (kidding) What exactly did the doctor say happened? Was it something that required surgery or therapy? Did they tell you to stay off it for any amount of time?

Then don't squat yet, and don't deadlift right now (blasphemy perhaps, but deadlifting with your weight over your toes is a good way to get a bad back. And that'd be just one more thing preventing you from training effectively).

It doesn't sound like you're limited at all for upper body work, so, do whatever floats your boat.

For the lower body, first, maybe head back to the Doc to get checked out again, and see if they clear you for exercise. Then, I'd consider some single-leg work. Lunges and step-ups lend themselves a little more towards being "ball of foot-dominant", you know? Also, in terms of cardio at least, have you considered rowing, swimming, or possibly jumping rope?


#3

Thanks for answering, I'll try to clarify a little:

Heh. It's the fatty spongy thingie (that's the technical term grins) under the heel that makes sure you don't place the weight directly on the bone that's been squished to the sides. It doesn't require surgery, and since I've lost as much weight as I have it will eventually heal itself, but it takes time.

Aww, that sucks =( I love DL:s

Do you know if t-bar rowing and barbell rows work even if I have to lean a bit forward? I've never had any problems with my balance while doing them like that.

Thing is, my heels probably won't heal completely for a few years, and I'd hate not to be able to do any of these things in all that time.

Yeah, I think I can do most things there. Thing is, I don't really know that many compound exercises and was hoping to get some ideas =)

As far as I can remember she said I could do whatever I wanted basically, it's not dangerous and since the weight is gone it's going in the right direction. The problem is that it hurts, and if I put too much pressure on the heels it hurts for a few hours afterwards which makes it a pain to walk.

Lunges and step-ups, check. I suppose basically any calf excercise should work too, though I've got fairly developed calves alreay since I almost walk on my toes =)

Cardio isn't that big a deal, I've been swimming, jogging a bit (surprisingly, that works fairly well, especially in forests and other softer tracks) and biking. So I know what I can do there.

I have considered jumping ropes, it just seems so boring, and reminds me of kindergarten. Should probably give it a try though, if boxers can do it, so can I, eh? =)


#4

Back extensions would be a good start for the posterior chain if you're unable to squat or deadlift. Weighted or One-Legged. Or GHRs.

Sprinting would a good idea as long as your heels can handle it. Use a soft surface.

When I had a bruised heel (out for 8 months), taping the fat pad tight so that it didn't spread out helped to provide a bit of cushion. Using heel cups or heel pads can be quite good as well.


#5

Not that they won't work (they will, certainly), it's just that you're a bit more predisposed to potential injury by having the weight coming from your toes. But if you can keep solid technique while performing the exercises, have at it.

http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html Has a nice, fairly substantial list of exercises with mini-video clips of how to do them. Enjoy.

Have you looked into orthotics or any kind of shoe insert support device? Something like that could give you an "artifical" cushion, so you could train as normal.

Speaking of boxers, if you happen to have access to a heavy bag, waiting on that can be a wicked intense cardio workout. Even without the bag, shadow boxing makes a great little warm-up/workout.


#6

Yeah, I've been doing back extensions, they just don't feel like they give as much as DL:s and squats. Then again, if I can't do the other I have to substitute, obviously =)

Does sprinting give anything, strength-wise? I really have no idea.

Hey, taping is a good idea, I'll have to try that, thanks a bunch!

I do have heel cups/pads (I don't know the english terms so I'm not sure which I have) to help soften the sole of my shoes. I don't think I'd be able to walk very much at all without them.

I have a kind of water insoles that kick butt, but my old ones are almost out of water, and the new ones I buy tend to burst open, drenching my shoes in some sticky goo =(

Thanks for the help.


#7

Great. I'll just have to be careful then. Does this apply to DL aswell? I don't mind dropping a bit in weight to ensure form if that means I can do them.

I think I seem a tad too DL focused here. =)

Thanks!

What does orthotics mean? I've never heard the word before.

I do have inserts, as I just mentioned in my reply to Recoba.

'Fraid not. I once tried boxing a sand bag in the gym in the town I used to live in, it was kinda fun. I'm not sure I would be able to force myself to keep the kind of intensity I think is necessary though. I'm way too lazy =/ That's a good thing about jumping ropes. Once I've decided to do 100 jumps (or whatever) then I'll do that many, it's easy to keep track.


#8

That'd be fine. As I said, it's just not the safest way to do them. But as long as you're comfortable, and keep technique as solid as possible, I'd say have at it.

Fancy medical-ese for "foot cups, inserts, or supports." So, you answered it already. :wink:


#9

Allright, then I understand. Thank you.


#10

Does anyone know if front squats create less stress/strain on the heels? It's seems logical to me that they would, but I've never actually tried them.