Thursday, November 1, 2007

Stumbling Man (Thanks to Plantar Fasciitis, Not Diabetes)

It started on a Wednesday morning. Totally unannounced, unexpected, and incredibly unwelcome.

I arose from bed, refreshed from my slumber and ready to tackle the day. Stepping down from bed, the pain hit. Felt like I'd run miles and miles, and the feet were crying out in tired pain. Walking was not easy. Later discovered that my shoes didn't cure the problem. So, I felt myself stumbling around like Old Man Hoskins all day long. That was about a month ago.

At first, I feared the worst. Expected diabetes was the likely culprit. After all, I'd spent many younger years not managing adequately and have been suffering from initial stages of neuropathy for a couple years now. We thought this might be that dreaded progression....

The foot doc disagreed, about two weeks after the onset of this foot concern and stumbling routine. Turns out it's the most common, non diabetes-related foot disorder out there - plantar fasciitis, as it's officially dubbed. Translation: the shock absorbers in my heels and feet aren't working right, strained for some reason, and that's impacting arch and overall ability to walk normally. So, I got some quickly-made guaze and padding contraptions for the feet. Was told to wear them whenever my feet hit the ground, other than when I'm showering. So, that's helped.

Frustrating, not being able to walk. My ability to dance at weddings has been affected, sadly. I do love my dancing. I also managed to stay home from work a few times, which eased the walking and is always fun to work and talk business on the phone while wearing huge Homer Simpson slippers and Stewie Griffin pajama pants. Ditched the shoes I had worn when the problem first surfaced, as they were older and essentially broke down completely - we believe that's the cause of all this. I wanted to burn them in a fit of revenge, but we ended up tossing the brown leather shoes out with the trash a week or so ago. We thought about getting me a cane, a walker, or one of those cool medieval walking stick rods. Would have been a hit at the wedding reception.

Still, with all the headaches and laughs, it's good to know it's something "common" - that neuropathy and the D had nothing to do with it. That's two-sided, though: while not a direct cause, it's likely been masking the pain somewhat, the foot doc says. So, I could be in more pain. Always a nice thought... What, should I be saying "Well, thanks neuropathy!" Don't think so. Will just be thankful it turned out to be what it is, and go about doing what I can to better manage my health so the "common" probs stay more common than the "D-related" ones. Something to add to the 'Thankful' list on Turkey Day.

Update: 

I realized that I'd never updated this or really wrote about it after this initial post, so wanted to make sure there was some follow-up. My foot doc actually helped me save money and MacGyver'd a pad for each foot -- padding cut to fit my foot, connected with gauze so it fit snug to my feet. Told to immediately replace my shoes, stay off as much as possible, and when I put ANY pressure on my feet, to wear the pads in my shoes, in socks or just on the feet.

It took weeks, and also some physical therapy, but things got back to being OK after awhile and a lot of pain. Sadly, I've come to realize that even years later, I have still never fully recovered. It stresses my feet out and I can feel them bothering me a bit when running, or walking quickly for any extended length of time. Conference activity and walking can really get to me, so I try to limit myself doing that for long periods without sitting or taking a break.

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