My mom had foot problems growing up, so the one thing that she and my dad committed spending good money on when we were growing up was good shoes for the kids so they wouldn’t have the same ailing feet. We didn’t have a lot of money and they had three kids, so this was a significant commitment.
Well… a lot of good it did, Ma!
By high school, I needed surgery to correct a metatarsal coalition–a condition in which the bones in my foot started fusing together, limiting my mobility. Two years ago, I was diagnosed and treated for achilles tendinitis and the physical therapist told me that my tight calves and hamstrings would likely bring future problems with this.
I’ve been stretching almost daily ever since and being sure to buy shoes that are comfortable and fit well. I admit, the shoe thing is hard to maintain–I have a couple pairs of flatter-than-flat flats that offer absolutely no arch support. And my Teva flip flops are a mainstay of my summer casual, running errands wardrobe.
Add to that the combo of running and increasing walking miles and I have very irritated feet. It often feels as if my heels are screaming at me, demanding why I choose to run and train for a 60-mile walk when I could be having pedicures and laying on the sofa watching DVR-ed episodes of As the World Turns and eating bon bons while elevating my feet on a super cushy silk pillow. This is similar to the achiles tendinitis pain I had two years ago, although the more I read about heel/foot pain, the more I suspect it could be plantar fasciitis (which, quite frankly, delights me as it seems less severe. With achiles tendinitis there are scare stories about tearing your tendon which would result in significant time off the feet and surgery). Yesterday, I limped around most of the day which really ruined the impact of an otherwise cute outfit. I had to nix my Couch to 5k session, as well, although I am pleased to report that I did a spin class and weights instead.
- pain in the morning that radiates through the bottom of my feet and sometimes stretches into the back of my foot (the heel cord or achiles tendon). This usually fades after an hour of walking around or even just sitting at my desk–I get a good stretch in my foot, I think, by putting my feet up on the crossbar of my (home) desk and dropping my heels.
- This pain sometimes appears throughout the day (it was horrible yesterday–possibly aggravated by the super flat and uncushioned shoes I was wearing), but often fades when I put on my sneakers and start working out.
I’m fairly certain, it’s not my shoes or my stride. My sneakers are new enough to not be worn out but not so new that I haven’t had the chance to break them in and know how they fit. I run and have done most of my training walks on a treadmill at the gym because I know that since that track has some give, it’s better for me than walking or running on pavement. I run with short strides, and I don’t use an incline for either my walks or runs.
Here’s what I’m doing:
- Aleve really doesn’t seem to be doing anything from a pain management perspective, but I’ve continued to take it (regular doses–not extra strength) to relieve inflammation.
- No running (duh!) when I’m hurting. And break up my long training walks into multiple smaller training walks, if I need to.
- Stretching! In the morning (before getting out of bed) and after working out and whenever I’m sore.
- Retiring (temporarily) obscenely cute, yet apparently uncomfortable shoes like those Steve Madden purple slingbacks and the flip flops that usually get me through summer 😦 This is really complicating my wardrobe options today.
- Ordered an inexpensive pedi foot bath on Amazon. It will allow me to better heat and stretch my heels in the morning or before a workout and ice them afterwards–nothing like a whirlpool of cold water and ice cubes!
- Put my feet up for 20-30 minutes after running or doing training walks.
- Getting one of those little heel cup inserts that help raise the heel and alleviate pressure on the tendon.
Have any of you had to deal with this before? What have you done?
If I can’t resolve it on my own with the interventions I described above, I’ll have to book a doc appointment. The only problem is that my work day is about to get ultra-busy and make simple things like taking care of personal health issues significantly more difficult.
Oh… and PS… I woke up with hiccups this morning. What the hell is that all about?