Just Go Walk!

I’ve added a new tool to my foot pain treatment regimen – Skechers Go Walk shoes. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when my friend Kelli suggested I try them out to help with my plantar fasciitis. But, considering how much foot pain I’ve had  for the past 8 years, I will happily pay around $45 for shoes that just might ease some of the pain.

My favorite exercise option has always been walking or hiking. I’m just not a big fan of sweating, especially in the 200% humidity summers of the southeast, but when walking or hiking somewhere scenic, I can forget about it for a time. I love nature trails, and love being outdoors, but my feet have been a limiting factor, since, it’s hard to say you “enjoy” a nice long walk when halfway through it, your heels are exploding in pain and you have to limp your way back home. And let’s not talk about the “morning after hobble” when you roll out of bed and almost crumble to the floor.Just Go Walk!

I’m still testing these shoes out, but so far (knock on wood) I would say I have about a 30-40% improvement, which is HUGE. Less pain at night after normal daytime walking, less hobbling, less cringing when my feet hit the floor in the mornings. I’m hoping to put these shoes to the TRUE test soon and actually walk or hike a couple of miles, and then we’ll see what happens. I’m so ready to just go walk!!!

Another Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Option?

One thing I forgot to mention in my post yesterday about my left foot…..Dr H. also mentioned one other course of treatment we haven’t tried yet called PRP – Platelets Rich Plasma.

As it was explained to me (or rather, how I am now explaining it in my own simplistic terms), for PRP they first take your own blood, extract platelets from it and suspend them in the plasma, then inject it all around your foot in the inflamed areas. Because the platelets are so rich in all the “good blood stuff,” it speeds up and aids in healing since it’s injected right there at the source of the pain and inflammation.

Blood platelets

Blood platelets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There appear to be several studies (and even a link to a YouTube video that I can’t convince myself to watch) that discuss PRP and note marked improvement in patients with chronic plantar fasciitis who have it done. I’m just not sure what I think about it? I’m still a little gun-shy about getting any sorts of shots in my feet again after I had that awful reaction to the cortisone shots. Just another thing to ponder if the NSAIDs don’t help calm things down. (And I’m also buying some Skechers GoWalk shoes at the recommendation of a pregnant d-friend who has foot pain as well….if these shoes work for her,  I’m willing to give them a try!)

My Left Foot

Sunset over the Cape Fear RiverEating, 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.No connection to the movie with the same name

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.