A Pain in the Foot — Eh, Not So Much

I’ve lived with plantar fasciitis for several years and nothing would make me feel like the problem was being healed. Sure, I’d be real good for awhile, icing my foot nightly, swallowing down ibuprofen, and wearing my shoe inserts daily. Yet the pain never went away. I couldn’t go for long walks or stand for long periods of time without feeling an increase in the pain level. Yet I’m feeling hopeful lately.

I went for three short hikes in the last six days and I’m not hobbling around in pain. I don’t want to jinx the whole thing, but I think my foot might be getting better. I’m not ready to hike the Grand Canyon, but I’m not afraid of taking a walk on campus on a gorgeous afternoon.

I went to see my podiatrist a few weeks ago and got another cortisone shot. I’ve had a few before in my foot, and they do seem to relieve some of the pain. I also got some new shoe inserts that really feel good. Yet I don’t think the pain relief is really coming from the visit to the doctor.  I’m crediting a book.

Last week I was browsing on Amazon and found a book that I could download to my Kindle: 3 Minutes to a Pain-Free Life by Joseph Weisberg and Heidi Shink. I figured, what the heck, it can’t hurt — after all, I’m already hurting. Wow. What a difference those simple stretches have made.

You do six stretches daily and hold them for 30 seconds each. I was already doing variations of three of them with my regular stretching routine and agreed with Dr. Weisberg that they make quite a difference. The other ones weren’t too difficult…well, except for the squat. I can’t seem to get very low and keep my feet flat without rolling backwards and my butt hitting the floor.

Dr. Weisberg also had stretches for various body problems, so I went right for the foot section. The thirty second stretch for helping to relieve foot pain? It’s so easy! Well, except that I feel that stretch in my feet, ankles, and calves. Man, are my calf muscles tight. All you have to do is kneel down, curl your toes under, and try to rest your butt on your heels. I can’t get my butt near my heels without feeling miserable, so I pull up just a bit. Obviously this is all a sign that my calves, ankles, and feet really need the stretching. I’m amazed, because I’d been doing all kinds of stretches, yet this one stretch seems to hit the spot.

Within three days my pain was gone. Gone. No dull ache, no twinges of sharp pain, no limping around trying to protect my right foot. Sure, if I walked too far and too long, the pain would return slightly. Yet the pain would disappear after more stretches and icing. It wasn’t a constant presence.

It may have also helped that I’m also doing the recommended stretch for shin splints. I don’t have shin splints, but I get them so easily, I figured it wouldn’t hurt. I think the two stretches together work together nicely, and they both work my lower leg.

Anyway, I’m too afraid the improvement will go away, but it is fun to think that I just may be able to do some longer hikes in the future. Hope is a good thing, and I now have some. If you’re dealing with pain, do check the book out. It may offer some relief.

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