Saturday, July 3, 2010

The feet

I took my feet for granted, I thought they'd always be there for me. You don't realize how important your feet are until they start complaining about you using them. Mine have been complaining for more than 3 months.

I told the doctor about my foot pain in late March. She prescribed short-term meds to relieve pain and inflammation, and long-term meds (not sure why). The short-term meds helped in the short-term. The long-term meds caused such side effects that I thought I would die. I stopped taking the long-term meds more than 2 months ago. My doctor doesn't know yet, I've been stalling hoping I could fix this myself. I really suspect a stress fracture on the left heel, and there really isn't much to do for it other than rest and time.

I put my feet back into my flip-flop crocs - so soft and cushion-y on my feet. But as good as they feel on my feet, they don't have any type of support, and for some reason, after all these years, my feet have decided that they need support. At least, I guess that's what they've decided.

So while I was in Canada last month I wandered around the mall looking for a shoe store. One store was closed, the next just sold athletic shoes. Then I spotted it - "Walking on a Cloud" - even the name held promise.

This is the type of shoe store you go to when you want the old-fashioned attention and knowledge of the shoe store clerk. Ann, the manager, listened to my description of my foot woes and then hauled out box after box of shoes for me to try. She placed the shoes on my feet, and she knew as soon as I did when we'd found shoes that were right for me. I'm not sure if my feet smiled at her or she noted the look of "ah ha, this is it" on my face, but she knew. And so I ended up buying two pairs of shoes that felt like they were made for my feet, and I left the store with high hopes that I would soon be walking pain-free.

Well...the shoes still feel good when I wear them, but they feel a little hard on the heel which is the most painful part of my left foot. So I am mostly wearing my crocs around the house - the softness of the soles soothes the tender soles. For serious walking, I planned to use my new shoes.

But what's that saying about the 'best laid plans'? When we went out for a drive on Wednesday evening I did not know that the belt on the golf cart would break out by the dump and that we would end up walking home. It took us 45 minutes because my pace slowed us down. Although I was only wearing my crocs, walking didn't really hurt that much, and I enjoyed the walk along the coast, watching the sea turtles and just enjoying the surf and breezes.

The next day we walked to the market to pick up the cart. Again I was just wearing my crocs, and my feet felt pretty good. I was starting to think that my feet really wanted to walk. Maybe I have some foot condition similar to that of horses, where walking puts pressure on the painful part and actually eases the condition? Maybe I need to walk more?

With that last thought in mind, I went to Cancun yesterday with high hopes. I put on my Ecco sandals, and we went from store to store. I was doing pretty good until I had to stand for about 30 minutes waiting for someone to bring us the small tv we'd bought for the guest room. Standing really hurt, and I shifted my weight from side to side trying to ease the pressure and the pain. In the end I sat in one of those electric carts.

This morning I googled the horse condition where they need to walk to ease the foot pain. But I couldn't find anything except this:

Founder brings feet problems

"Fat horses tend to have problems with laminitis (founder). This is especially common among horses with some Shetland pony breeding. Grass founder in the spring produces more laminitis than any other single cause. If your horse is fat, grazes abundant grass, and is not exercised, there is great risk of laminitis. Laminitis commonly causes lameness. Horses with laminitis have extreme pain and soreness, especially in their front feet. They try to bear weight on their back legs and lighten the front end as much as possible by carrying their front feet forward and their back feet up under their bodies. Horses showing signs of laminitis should have immediate attention from a veterinarian. Therapeutic trimming and shoeing may make a horse with laminitis sound enough for light work and normal reproduction."

This sounds a lot like my feet. I admit I am a little 'fat', I admit I 'graze' sufficiently, and I know I am not getting enough exercise.I feel I am a little lame, I am walking like a little old lady. I try to walk on certain parts of my feet to avoid putting pressure on the painful parts - if I had four feet, I'd do exactly what the horse in the description does - I'd lighten the heavy end as much as possible (in my case the heavy 'end' might actually be the back end).

Although I am still doing my own housework and not using my feet as an excuse to get out of anything, I need to see a vet, I mean doctor, I guess. But I hope once this problem is addressed that I don't end up sound enough for 'normal reproduction'. Those days are over!


Nancy said...

I feel your pain, literally. I've been seeing the foot doctor a lot but have so many conflicting things wrong that I'm not sure what can be done. One issue needs stretching and rotating, the other issue needs bracing and limited movement (same foot). I ended up yesterday with a God-awful leather lace-up brace for my foot. There's no way this thing will fit into a shoe.

I don't know how you stand the tiled floors. I need to take slippers along when I go to Mexico or I can't bear getting out of bed. I practically swooned when I got my feet on carpet when we returned. What brand shoes did you find at the store?

Sandia said...

OK, I loved your Googling horses' feet problems-LOL....I too have had to deal with "plantar fasciitis" in my feet, and you are right, we don't appreciate our feet until they complain! Of course, my Shetland Pony weight doesn't help [this is still cracking me up, ponies tend to have swaying bellies like me!]....I can't wear crocs at all, I tried but never found them comfortable. The ortho doc doesn't agree but I am most comfortable in my Teva sandals and flip-flops...dressing up in heels absolutely klls me...hope you feel better and thanks for the story [even though it is about yoru PAIN]...and good luck with Miguel's new biz- the homeowners down there NEED someone trustworthy to watch their homes...

drgeo said...

One of our horses has a condition called "string halt" which causes him to limp even when there is nothing wrong with his foot or leg. There is instead a bad connection in his brain. The poor thing can't decide which of his back legs to limp on!
Perhaps instead of a vet you need a podiatrist? Or at least Dr Schol for inserts? As my horse would say, why the long face?

Jane said...

Many years ago, a chiropractor solved my excruciatingly painful foot (heel) problems with custom-made shoe inserts. They were somewhat expensive, but within a few months all the pain was completely gone, and hasn't returned.

Elaine L. said...

Foot pain is the worst! I have had problems with my feet for 15 years from an injury and have researched and tried many different treatments which to some degree have all provide comfort. My suggestion is to not put off finding a diagnosis; I did this and only made matters worse. Also I suggest getting a couple different opinions from different doctors. I have learned while healing you do need to have a supportive shoe but a majority of doctors I have spoken to are now leaning toward not using orthotics long term because could weaken your feet. The feet need to flex. Also stretching and exercise are very good and you should get direction from qualified professional on which is best for you and how to do them.
There are many alternatives to conventional treatments that are very beneficial also so do try other ones.
Good Luck! I am sure you will find an answer for your pain.
Elaine Lockard

Sue said...

Nancy - that's the thing, don't know whether to stay off the foot or give it exercise. And I never walk on the floors without something on my feet, usually my flip-flop crocs. I bought Ecco sandals and some other kins, can't remember, they were cheaper than the Ecco ($75 vs $150, gulp), but felt good.

Sandia - glad you enjoyed the horse part, had to include that as I really was thinking along those lines. Have you tried flip-flop crocs? They are soft and have a nice groove for the feet. Can't stand heels either. Thanks for the wishes, I hope he does well.

drgeo - maybe there IS a bad connection from my brain, I haven't discounted that! And I thought about inserts, but since I don't wear 'shoes', just sandals, I just went for good supporting sandals. I have also thought about a podiatrist, will have to ask my doctor for a recommendation, whenever I get around to going back to see her (she's in Cancun).

Jane - a chiropractor? Hmmm...something to keep in mind. Glad your feet problems cleared up, hopefully mine will one day too.

Elaine - very good advice, I need to listen to all of you. I am a firm believer in letting the body fix itself so have been trying to work with the feet to figure out how to do that. Massage and stretching exercises do feel good, and feet exercises in the pool really seem to help the most.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to post your suggestions, and for caring. I will post a followup should things change in the future. Maybe some of these ideas have helped others with similar problems. Thanks again!

Islagringo said...

Usually horses with lamintis were put down. No foot, no horse. Does that make you feel better?

Have you tried talking to Dr Abraham or gone over to Galinia? They have some fantastic drs over there. You need to get this fixed. Living in pain need not be the only way.