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Exercise with Neuropathy

John212's picture
John212
Posts: 116
Joined: Jan 2015

Like many people who have been treated with Oxaliplatin, I have a pretty sturdy case of neuropathy affecting my feet. They're mostly numb and sore most of the time. It's not so bad that I can't get out of the house to do errands, but walking more than a short bit is pretty uncomfortable. I know I should get more exercise, and now that winter is starting to (slowly) improve, it should be easier to get out to the gym. I like to walk and definitely need to do more aerobic exercises, but the pain is a substantial barrier. I've tried swimming but I just don't enjoy it.

If you have neuropathy affecting your feet, what do you do for exercise?

LivinginNH's picture
LivinginNH
Posts: 1458
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi,

My Rick used to peddle on a stationary bicycle.

Cyn

John212's picture
John212
Posts: 116
Joined: Jan 2015

That makes sense, as you wouldn't have the constant impact you get in walking or running.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5180
Joined: Jan 2013

I have been blessed in the fact that even though I still have neuropathy in my feet 19 months out from chemo, I have never experienced any pain or soreness.  In fact, I can walk and walk and walk, and my feet are so numb I don't feel when they are sore (which is a problem in itself, I suppose). 

I know some people take medication, is it Celebrex? The one that is advertised for diabetic foot pain on the telly. 

You are definitely right in wanting to exercise, it is so important.  I hope your pain lessens soon.

Sue - Trubrit

John212's picture
John212
Posts: 116
Joined: Jan 2015

I don't think there's a problem walking on numb feet, though you wouldn't feel an injury as easily, I suppose. I don't recall seeing Celebrex advertised for foot pain, but I'll look into it.

Tomorrow I'll be attending a presentation at my hospital on Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy and will report back what I hear, especially regarding exercise. The presenter is a physiotherapist, as I understand it, so this should be a part of his or her expertise.

ron50's picture
ron50
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

  I am out to the start of year seventeen of survival. The chemo I had is not supposed to cause neuropathy. I have seen a neurologist and have had nerve conductivity tests. They showed moderate to severe motor sensory peripheral neuropathy of both feet and legs. Because he does not believe in chemo causing neuropathy he stated that he did not know the cause of the problem and refused to treat it. My rheumatologist has tried to help me with lyrica and neurontin , both anti eppileptic meds, as well as endep and norspan and fentanyl patches ,both morphine related. My neuropathy started when I was excercising excessively. I was walking 50 miles a week ,every week for nearly three years. I had to stop when I developed acute pancreatitis , lost my gall bladder and started to suffer badly from neuropathy. All of my docs have suggested non load bearing excercise  like swimming and water aerobics but these days I am just to tired to even think about it. I have been dxed with grade two ankylosing spondylitis , psoriatic arthritis ,osteo arthritis and an unknown auto immune disease of the kidneys causing severe protein loss thru my kidneys. I have had thre kidney biopsies but although they all showed problems , none that relateto known kidney disease. For pain I am currently on targin 40/20 twice a day. That is 40 mg of oxycodone combined with 20 mg of naloxone an opiate antagonist. It does help with the pain but it causes me severe opioid induced constipation. The oxy shuts down my motility and with every dose of targin I have to take two biscodyl and two coloxyl. Be careful with your feet as it is very easy to cause damage that you cannot feel. I was on a high dose of steroids and it caused type two diabetes so I have to be extra careful. I don't feel like losing any toes to gangrene. one thing i have found over the years is that as bad as cancer is , surviving survival at times is just as hard. All the best Ron.

John212's picture
John212
Posts: 116
Joined: Jan 2015

" as bad as cancer is , surviving survival at times is just as hard."

That is so true, Ron. It's a great line. Thanks for your contribution here. I know that I'm going to have to be pretty careful with exercise as I have a fair amount of numbness in both feet.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5180
Joined: Jan 2013

Celebrex was a guess and I've not doubt a wrong guess at that. I've seen the advert so many times, I just don't pay attention any more to what the medication is they are pushing. I'm sure someone here will come up with the medication I'm thinking of.

OK, I just looked it up, it was Lyrica and not Celebrex. 

Sue - Trubrit

John212's picture
John212
Posts: 116
Joined: Jan 2015

Sue,

One of the fellows in my men with cancer support group has used Lyrica for years, since he developed diabetic neuropathy a few years ago and then it was made worse by our friend Oxi. He says that it helps. It will be interesting to talk more about this with him tomorrow because I expect him to be at the same presentation I mentioned earlier.

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 2131
Joined: Mar 2010

I purchased Zeta insoles from Amazon - hard plastic acupressure flat insoles (can be worn over other insoles) and they have made a WORLD of difference.  I can walk much better; my feet feel great with them (some getting used to, but well worth it.)  I've had ongoing neuropathy for years.

I paid $12.99 at Amazon, and have since ordered several more pairs so that I don't have to switch them all the time.  I wear them in my curling shoes, and my feet handle the ice much better.

Yes, I sound like an advertisement, but I was so astounded by the relief that I have no words!

Alice

John212's picture
John212
Posts: 116
Joined: Jan 2015

Thanks for the recommendation. I just looked these over at Amazon. They're a bit more expensive now but most of the buyer reviews are quite positive.

Easyflip's picture
Easyflip
Posts: 588
Joined: May 2013

told to take B complex for neuropathy and I rub an aryuvedic oil on my hands-Mahanarayan oil. I have no idea if it's helping because it feels pretty much the same to me. I'm out from chemo 14 months so I'm afraid it might be permanent. I was also suggested acupuncture but have not done it yet. I ride a bike or do the elliptical at the gym. Good luck!

Easyflip/Richard

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5180
Joined: Jan 2013

I'm just a few months ahead of you with dates, and have found that dropping my salt intake really helps with the neuropathy in my hands and a little bit in my feet. I'm sure you already know this, but just though 'in case', that I would mention it. 

Sue -Trubrit

KMSGJP
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2015

Hi John212,

my father just started FOLFOX regimen and I have looked into supplements to help with all side effects. He started taking glutamine powder the week of chemo. the pharmacist agreed that there are studies that show it's effectiveness. Thought this might help. 

He also exercises on a stationary bike. 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/17405895/

coloCan
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2009

www.fightcolorectalcancer.org/tag/neuropathy

(keep in mind date of pub as research is on going)

An article in healio.com on1/16/14 asserted calcium-magnesium failed to reduce oxi-induced neurotoxcity

 

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

and have only recently started to push through the pain and try to do some basic aerobic exercise.  This was on the advice of the pain management doc I saw, who felt that the pain was not indicative of further damage, just not pleasant to experience.

Do you take any pain meds?  I take vicodin 3x per day, and schedule it so that I have one about an hour before I want to exercise.

Then I do either a reasonably long walk, or an exercise video from Youtube (lots to choose from, I look for one that is no more than 30 minutes and labeled "easy" or "beginner").

And if you have a smart phone, there are lots of walking apps that allow you to keep track of how much walking you do in a day.  I'm going to get one as I think that will motivate me a bit to take longer walks.

Finally, I do the indoor exercise in bare feet.  This seems counter-intuitive, but I read somewhere that it might help with neuropathy so I've been trying it.  Have no idea if it really helps, but it doesn't seem to be hurting either.

Good luck!  I'm 4 years out from chemo and still trying to get my old self back...it's not easy.

hippiechicks
Posts: 509
Joined: Sep 2012

Hi there .. I can relate to your foot neuropathy .. I have also had the same issue since my first round with oxali. I have definitly found that wearing a shoe such as Berks or Naot type .. with a very good cork instep has does absolute wonders for me.  It allows me to have the support I need with having such numbness, where the shoe does not fall off yet keeps the arch and toes working. The deep heal sets the foot for the rest of leg support.  I have also heard of some rather cool similar shoes on QVC.  Can't recall the brand at this time .. maybe orthaheel or something.

Also, just a note .. when I was doing a lot of walking at the gym, wearing sneakers .. I developed a dramatic foot drop.  I was totally unaware until someone pointed out how loud I was on the tred.   My foot was thumping down  rather than walking.   I quit the gym .. and wound up back in Physical Therapy (which I had been in and thought I could do the same at the gym myself). Fortunately, the foot drop was reversed.  But it was almost a year ago, PT every week, my foot had to be retrained to stay in place .. soon after I developed horrible facia issues causing awful pain and I looked like a very old woman trying to walk.  The pain was 8 to 10 daily.  Today I have no pain, my foot issues are much better, my numbness is subsiding, but it has been a long road with constant working.  Massage, stretching, stimulating the nerves, ultrasound, taping, and my good old Berks. Whirlpool helps if you have access.  Also, I would heat them 2xs per day with one of those stick in the microwave heat bags. The neuropathy shooting pains have subsided as well. 

I do hope this is of some help to you .. PT would be my first suggestion, with good ortho's. Often you can be seen by an ortho specialist through health insurance and possibly get some orthotics made just for you!

 

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