Most people aren’t aware that I currently have a severe issue with my plantar fascia. What is a plantar fascia, you might ask. Good question since, until it hurts like hell, most people don’t know they have one – well, two, actually. It’s a length of connective tissue spanning the bottom of your foot and generally it is quite good-natured and behaves itself, stretching obediently as you walk. Until you do something to damage it. And then it hurts. A lot.
So somehow I managed to damage mine. My right foot. My driving foot. Not saying driving had anything to do with it, but you never know. It started bothering me about a year ago, and I just kept figuring it would heal itself if I rested it. Nope. It got worse. To the point where I couldn’t walk without limping, and even just lying in bed my foot would ache.
I hate going to the doctor and generally don’t unless there’s a valid reason. This was a valid reason. She diagnosed the problem in short order, and her plan of attack was several fold.
First she prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug. I hate taking drugs almost as much as I hate going to the doctor, but I hated the pain worse than either drugs or the doctor, so I have been on the anti-inflammatory for a couple weeks. And it’s good. Pain is controllable.
Second step was to purchase an orthotic heel thingy that goes in my shoe to support and mould the contours of the foot to allow the fascia to start to heal itself. I noticed a difference as soon as I put it in.
Third was some exercises to strengthen the muscles around the fascia to better support it and allow it to heal. I had some issues with that because she gave me a paper with drawings of exercises. I can’t do that. I need a video or someone to show me how to do them. Show me pictures and I end up falling all over my feet. So I went online and found a great website with videos of the exercises I needed to do.
And fourthly she sent me off to a physiotherapist. I went for my initial assessment and after poking, prodding, pushing, squishing, squashing, rotating, bending and twisting my foot in every imaginable direction, the nice physiotherapist told me the prognosis was good. With exercise and therapy my fascia will heal and I will be pain-free. He told me there is a new form of therapy to which he feels the fascia will respond quite well. It’s called “shock wave therapy”. He warned me that it isn’t comfortable and can cause serious discomfort, but it will help in the long run. I agreed and went for my first session today.
Of course I did my research online first, and what I read backed up what he had said. It is supposedly uncomfortable to the point of painful during treatment, causes sensitivity in the treated area for about two days after, and you should plan to take it easy for those couple days. When I went in today for the treatment, he repeated all the warnings and assured me that if I was at all uncomfortable I should speak up and we would pause. Nervously, I agreed, and we began.
Now, I don’t know what kind of pain threshold I have relative to other people, but he stopped twice to ask if I was ok, and both times I laughed and told him to keep going. At the end I actually found it quite soothing and I think if it had gone on much longer, I’d have fallen asleep! He was quite pleased that I hadn’t experienced any difficulties with the procedure, reminded me to take it easy for a couple days and sent me home.
Take it easy? Sure, I’m good with that! I did have to work this afternoon, as usual, but I have to say, tonight is the most pain free I’ve been in months! Even my stretching exercises aren’t hurting me! I don’t know what all those warnings were about – maybe I have yet to discover the truth of them – but I do know that this shock wave therapy might be the best thing for my foot! It – and I – are happy tonight! Sorry, but I have to say it – HAPPY FEET! (cue the penguins!)