Thursday, November 29, 2012

Did You Walk Today Without Thinking It Was Remarkable?

I went out today and walked to the University library.  I felt incredible.  I was walking without pain, without a limp.  For those of you who haven't marveled at your simple ability to walk without noticing that you are walking, I suggest you give a small thanks for that. 

We tend to focus on the things that aren't working and forget to be gratefull for all the parts that are.  We take for granted all the amazing gifts we have - like walking. 

It does seem that the doctor's guess of plantar fasciitis  is the more likely than the gout diagnosis.  From the Mayo Clinic:
Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.
Screen-shot from Plantar Stretch video
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.
Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners. In addition, people who are overweight, women who are pregnant and those who wear shoes with inadequate support are at risk of plantar fasciitis.
It started last Thursday and then was terrible on Friday when I went to the doctor.  I'm not at all sure what might have brought it on.  The doctor said if you push yourself too much, it can come on.  But I hadn't really even done much walking since the previous Friday.  I'd been inactive because my ribs are still sore from falling off my bike two weeks ago when I hit a bit of ice. 

Heel That Pain offers this list of factors that can cause injurty to the plantar fascia:
  • Biomechanical factors, such as abnormal inward twisting (pronation), high arches, flat feet, or tight tendons at the back of the heel (Achilles tendons)
  • Repetitive foot use, walking or running on hard surfaces, or excessive exercise
  • Being overweight, or having sudden weight gain
  • Shoes that are unsupportive or are poorly cushioned
  • Arthritis in the foot, which develops mainly among middle-aged and elderly persons
  • In rare cases, a single, traumatic injury to the foot, or plantar fascia, can lead to a number of painful ailments
 [Turns out this website sells heel seats for people with plantar fasciitis.]

But I'm wondering if the bruised foot I got from bike fall - I think I slammed my foot into the pedal - had a delayed action.  (Yes, it's the same foot.)  The doctor didn't think so when he looked at it last week.  But I don't know what else would have brought it on.  Maybe I'm a "rare case."  (I know people who would agree and are thankful.)

Or maybe the slippers I've been wearing around the house were too flimsy, but most of the time I'm barefoot, or rather sock footed. 

I was a little hesitant to go the mile each way to the library today,  in case it was too much and might cause this to come back.  But it feels fine.  I guess tomorrow I'll find out.  

And really, I'm not whining.  Complaining about my personal health, or lack thereof, is not what this blog is about.  Any personal health posts have to have some redeeming reasons that benefit some readers. 

So my main message here is about appreciating all you can do with your body parts that you generally don't even think about - except when they stop working.  Can you see?  Can you hear?  Can your fingers easily pick up a fork without even thinking?  Or fly across the keyboard?  Can you run downstairs to get a book you left there without pain shooting through your foot?  These are all miracles we should be thankful for.

Walking today was joyful.  And there's that little bit of info on plantar fasciitis, which might be of interest to someone. 

Film festival begins in less than 48 hours. 


  1. Time for orthotics? I had this pain years ago (it came on suddenly seemingly for no reason) and was told to get some -- custom-made. Worked wonders the first day. I also did some stretching exercises for awhile.

    Was also told I had to wear these supports in all my shoes -- no more going barefoot around the house in summer. It was a drag, but more of a drag to be in pain.

    I have several pairs so I don't have to add them in the shoes I'm wearing.
    There are good (but expensive) shoes & sandles -- Finn Comfort -- that have removable insoles and I gave these shoes to my orthotic maker to used the Finn Comfort insole to make mine fit perfectly.

    And, yes, why is giving thanks for everything our amazing bodies do, despite what we do to them, so hard to remember? A client who had skied down Everest (!) in his prime is now a quadiplegic and can only move his eyes -- he still buys art, his consolation -- and comes to our studio in his massive wheelchair. I always promise myself I will be constantly grateful for every single little thing I can do, and fail within the first day.

    Your post was a good reminder.

  2. Barbara, I'm still in denial here so I ignored your earlier comment about special shoes. It's on my, 'hold this thought' list for now. Let's see if this is a one time thing or something that's now going to be regular visitor.

    I think one part/ability per day is sufficient I think.

    Thanks M. Me too.

    1. They aren't special shoes -- orthotics fit into any shoe, really.

  3. Yes, without a car, enjoying good public transportation and many walking friendly paths here in London, I routinely put on 7-10 miles per day in outside walking. And I am grateful as I am working with an injured tendon in my right shoulder that reminds me it could be my knees or feet that hurt instead. So for this adaptation, I avoid holding too much weight with what is in fact my dominant arm.

    And so it goes with our wonderful, one-life use bodies as we age together. Best to your full healing and good thoughts.

  4. i agree with you! 10 years ago i ended up with plantar fasciitis in both feet due to trying to learn to skate backwards at age 50. i was sure i could do it and maybe could've if not for developing this problem. i did everything - had injections, accupuncture, used arch supports. finally i got on the internet and found physical therapy exercises for the condition and did them faithfully - they were easy, actually. between that a wearing the arch supports the problem went away - it took about 18 months or so before i was completely healed. now it's like i never had it -- i can do whatever i want (except probably try to learn to ice skate backwards). i go barefoot, do not wear arch supports, walk, jog, ice skate forward. my sister got the condition after she tiled her entire house -- she got rid of all carpet and padding. turned out it was not wise for her to be walking around and standing on concrete and tile all the time. her doctor told her that she had to stop walking around barefoot. she now wears birkenstocks and only birkenstocks - everywhere - and swears by them. good luck!


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