The foot’s a game

It was about three months ago I started feeling pain in my right heel which I gradually recognized as a recurrence of what I had back around 1994 or so… whatever that was. I mean, I compared my symptoms back then against those of plantar fasciitis and they seemed to correspond pretty much exactly, but I never went to a doctor for an official diagnosis. I bought a new pair of shoes and several new pairs of socks (Thorlos), eased back on my physical activity, and did some stretching exercises, and it went away on its own. Took a while, maybe a couple months? but it did go away and didn’t come back until this past July.

I’d been using or possibly abusing my feet, of course; martial arts (black belt in February) and morris dancing, mainly, and running, though by July I’d hardly done any running in a couple months or so, because of trouble with my left knee when I ran. I took the same approach to my heel pain this time, aside from the socks — I still wear Thorlos and the ones I had were pretty new, not worn thin. I stayed off the dojo mats for a couple weeks, came back once, and then continued to stay off after feeling the aftereffects. I stopped morris dancing. I bought a new pair of running shoes and wore them in preference to anything else most of the time. I did stretching exercises. Fairly early on a friend who’d had PF offered the loan of a night cast, so I started using that.

The pain diminished. At first.

After the first few weeks, though, the rate of improvement was small, if indeed there was any improvement at all. I started wondering if I should see a doctor…

A week ago Saturday Kenny was running with the candidates, and I was waiting for him about a tenth or two tenths of a mile from the end and, my heel having not been hurting much recently, I ran with him that last bit… and my heel hurt for the rest of the day. That did it. So on Monday I called my doctor’s office. Turns out, I didn’t know this but, the practice has a podiatrist on its staff, and he had an opening for an appointment that afternoon. So I got x-rays, and an official diagnosis (plantar fasciitis, yep), some recommendations, and a prescription for physical therapy.

One recommendation was aftermarket inserts for my shoes, specifically Superfeet. I bought a pair at Fleet Feet on Wednesday evening. Thursday I saw the physical therapist who gave me some more recommendations and performed Astym.

The next two days were worse than usual, and the two since then were better (basically no pain at all, in fact), but realistically recovery is going to take another several weeks at best. I have some smart and well-informed people on my side now, though.

One thing the podiatrist, the physical therapist, and I all agree on: There’s not much point in continuing to be inactive. I’m not going to resume going to morris practices until this thing is better, but I will soon ease back into the dojo.

 

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