October 15, 2014
I think my podiatrist may be in love with me. It’s a terrible burden knowing that the man dressed in blue scrubs may be shamefully attracted to my purple toe nail polish. Why else would he continue to torture me with orthotics and treatments that are simply not solving the pain of plantar fasciitis? It can only be that he wants to continue to see me limping into his office every other week with a grumpy disgruntled look on my face. Right?
If you are one of the lucky 50% who doesn’t know what plantar fasciitis is, imagine a circus giant holding a 300 pound mallet and striking the bottom of your heel with it every time you stand up. What is happening is that hundreds of minute fasciitis which attach at your heel and run the length of your foot are re-tearing every time you put weight on it. Fasciitis repair themselves when immobile. Being immobile is not part of my daily regime. Not only do I have my everyday work responsibilities but someone needs to run this ship we refer to as home. Groceries do not appear by magic nor do the cleaning fairies seem to be arriving on schedule. Have you ever attempted to shop Costco hopping on one foot? Not only is the journey long, but those seemingly-starved people teeming around the sample stations will sense your defenses are down and take you out in a second if you get between them and their dixie cup of clam chowder.
This journey started early in the year when I decided to join my friend Carol at Zumba classes. As a former runner, sidelined due to a back injury, I crave the type of exercise that gets the adrenalin pumping and kicks the body up into a good sweat. Additionally, my friend Carol had become the disappearing woman since starting Zumba and watching her metamorphism into the world’s cutest Asian salsa swinger was encouraging. I adore dancing, love music and since my ULH (Usually Lovely Husband) does not particularly care to engage in activities which may result in boogie whiplash, it seemed like the perfect exercise. And it was! After the first couple classes where I felt incredibly awkward, I began following the kick ass instructor and maneuver so as to not knock down any of the “more elderly” ladies who were whooping it up and waving scarves in the air. I was hooked, and to prove that I was just as cool and young as the next hip shaking groovy gal in class, I bought myself some vivacious hot pink and black shoes to prove it. They were adorable, they were on sale and they spelled sassy with a capital S. They also had no support, no padding and resulted in a severe case of what I now know to be plantar fasciitis.
Eleven months, two doctors, three braces, two pairs of orthotics, one shot of cortisone, five months of high dose anti-inflammatory drugs, 24 physical therapy appointments, 7,000 frozen ice bottle treatments on bottom of foot, 2700 toe exercises, and a million dollars in insurance co-pays later – and I still fall over when I stand up and I limp through my day. I have been instructed to NEVER go barefoot – a pure joy when vacationing in Cabo San Lucas not to mention the sleep deprived antics of removing the nighttime brace and putting on the Dansko clogs to stumble three steps into the bathroom in the middle of the night. My first doctor told me, “It’s best just to sit around all day. If the dog needs out, have someone else do it.” and “Pick the shortest path through the grocery store to reduce the number of steps you take each day.”
Really? I never went back to him.
I have had to forgo all my super cute summer sandals and pay a king’s ransom for shoes with arch support and not one iota of style AND I have succumbed to wearing Dansko’s – the clunky Swedish shoes normally seen on people in the medical and academic professions who have to stand on their feet all day. I still maintain their ugliness but the comfort factor is inarguable and I deeply apologize for years of secretly looking askance at them on other people’s feet.
I have also been flabbergasted at the sheer number of people who have endured this torture. Every time I explain my shoe fashion faux pas in public I hear of yet another victim. This has resulted in ten thousand different tidbits of advice on how to treat “that foot”. Walk barefoot in the sand daily, do fifty toe lifts on a ladder wearing a forty pound back pack daily, wear only Dr. Scholl sandals, buy a $500 fitted boot with electric massage functions and the list goes on. Honestly I am tempted with each new idea because I am quickly turning into one of the seven dwarves from sitting around on my tushie so much.
I am incredibly grateful to my Usually Lovely Husband for repeatedly smacking me upside the head and making me sit down when I start swirling around in my usual tizzy trying to get things done. I am sad but thankful that my elderly dog can’t go for walks anymore because I wouldn’t be able to endure the sad eyes of yesteryears when he would want to undertake our usual mileage. I have come to appreciate these finely formed feet that we take for granted and I will absolutely never buy a pair of shoes just because they are “so cute AND on sale!!!” ever again. The life lessons I will teach my children have dramatically changed as well. I will still harp on them to brush and floss – but included in that diatribe now is the message that they should ALWAYS buy good shoes with solid support and that they should ALWAYS go out of their way to be nice to people who are not lucky enough to have the mobility that we too often take for granted.
Zumba is on hold for now and the super sassy pink tennis shoes sit primly in my closet. My Usually Lovely Husband has questioned the validity of why I still own them. It is simply so hard to throw away shoes when they gleam with cuteness and are still white in all the right places. Besides I think my podiatrist and I may use them for dart practice someday soon.