Eating, drinking, and walking my way through Wilmington this past weekend with some friends was a fantastic and much-needed get-away trip, but I unfortunately paid the price in foot pain….
I have had chronic plantar fasciitis for going on 8 years. It started soon after I injured my hip (story in itself, for another time) and favored one side while walking for many months, as well as stupidly wearing flip flops all that summer with no arch support. Once the pain in my heels started, it has hung around like an unwelcome guest with nowhere else to go, despite numerous courses of varied treatments. Weight gain hasn’t helped it, but I tend to blame diabetes most of all for it’s chronic condition since I feel like I have poor circulation and slow healing as a general rule, and that translates to never-ending-inflammation in my feet.
When it first started, it was very subtle…getting out of bed one morning, my right heel twinged and hurt, as if I had bruised it by stepping on a sharp rock or something. Then as the days and weeks progressed, it got worse and worse as I woke up, and if I went out walking/running/hiking or stood around for too long during the day, it would blow up into excruciating-limp-causing-pain by the evenings. The right foot was the worst, but the left was starting to show some similar symptoms.
My 1st podiatrist went from orthotics, a night splint, and NSAIDs straight to recommending cortisone shots. Yes, she knew I was diabetic and that it would wreck my sugars, but my wedding was coming up soon and I wanted some quick relief. I succumbed to the pressure, and got cortisone shots in both heels done about a month before my wedding. It was AMAZING. From a 10 level of pain to a 0 (but straight to an 11 level of difficulty getting my sugars to calm down and stay under 200 for at least a couple of weeks.) I was thrilled that I didn’t have to limp down the aisle on my wedding day, and that I was able to do some major hiking in Hawaii on our honeymoon.
Fast forward a few months….the benefits from the shots wore off. The pain returned, and just as excruciating as before. I decided to try the shots one more time…and that was a BAD idea. The day after I had the shots done, I had a reaction of some sort, and ended up with an emergency trip to the hospital while visiting friends in Virginia. The pain in my left foot and calf was so bad I could barely walk – my entire foot and lower leg felt like someone was jabbing me with an expansive collection and variety of Cutco knives. We won’t mention the awful blood sugars again, and the general feeling of crappiness that ensued. And it was after that reaction that suddenly my left foot became the problem extremity, while my right foot calmed down and behaved. I would daresay the left one is now worse than the right one ever was. Decision made: no more cortisone shots. Ever.
Over the years, I’ve just been dealing with it and tried all manner of treatments. I never go barefoot. I wear orthotics and shoes with good arch support (translation: no cute/fashionable/high heeled shoes.) Done physical therapy for months at a time. Gone to acupuncturists and chiropractors. Do daily stretching exercises and roll my foot over a frozen bottle of water. Have a personal TENS unit that I shock my foot with several times a week to get the nerves stimulated and the blood flowing. My wonderful husband gives me foot massages every night. (Yes, I KNOW how lucky I am!!) I have taken NSAIDs in the past, but swore off them for several years when we were trying to get pregnant, throughout pregnancy, etc. (By the way, the one time my feet felt superb and really gave me no problems in the last few years?? While pregnant! I think that relaxin hormone was miraculous. Can we please synthesize and market that for connective tissue pain relief? Also, didn’t realize until I looked it up on Wikipedia that it is related to insulin. Hmmmm??) I generally try to keep my drug intake to a minimum – the only things I take daily are insulin (of course), Metformin, multi-vitamins & probiotics, and on occasion, Zyrtec for allergies.
Just went to my podiatrist, Dr. H. this morning (different from the cortisone-shot-debacle lady. I love Dr. H.), and discussed going back on NSAIDs. For now (but maybe forever, the jury is still out on that topic), no new babies are on the horizon, and I desperately need some relief so I can exercise and do more work getting my body into shape, as well as chase after my daughter on her scooter, bike, etc without tripping and crumbling from foot pain. Am a bit leery about the side effects/sugar effects of taking on a daily drug again, but I guess we’ll just have to see how it works, monitor sugar reactions while adding in this new variable, and test, test, test.