Saturday, June 6, 2009

What the heel!?!

First of all, disregard the date on this blog. Yes, I actually started it almost a month ago, but then life happened-- kid's school, PTA, finals, baseball playoffs, my brother-in-law's wedding. You know how it is. More about those later.

Plantar Fasciitis--you've all heard of it, what an annoyance it is, the orthotics that people wear, how much it hurts, etc. Well, I had too. For approximately the last three months, Andy has been complaining about his heel. I, like everyone else he mentioned it to, figured it must be plantar fasciitis. He fit the symptoms perfectly. He could barely walk when he woke up in the morning, and by the afternoon he was feeling much better. After much prodding, or as he refers to it "nagging," Andy went to to the doctor. We found out that plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia which is the connective tissue that supports your foot. It is my understanding that it runs from the heel of your foot to the ball. Keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, nor do I claim to be an expert on heel pain. This being an inflammation, the doctor prescribed steroids for Andy. My husband finished a round of steroids and was still hobbling around the house.

So...when my foot started to bother me after a 15 mile walk 2 weeks later, I began to ask more detailed questions about the exact location of his pain--was it a sharp shooting pain, or was it a dull, constant ache? Mine didn't seem anything like his, but when I woke up the next day, I could barely walk. I called my primary care doc and we thought it was probably a stress fracture. He referred me to an orthopedist later that day. At the appointment the orthopedist asked me if I had ever heard of plantar fasciitis. Duh? My husband has it! Duh again! Well, I do too! He took an x-ray just to be sure, gave me some steroids, told me not to walk for a few weeks, and sent me to physical therapy. The good this about this doctor is that I think he really understood that nothing was going to stop me from doing this walk. He said he would do what he could, so that I could complete it. When I came home and called Trace we were both happy that it was not a stress fracture. A few weeks of rest and I should be fine. I just won't be walking at the quick pace I was last year.

The worst part about the doctor's appointment was that he told me I cannot wear flip-flops. WTH! I love flip flops! I had even gotten some adorable "switch flops" where you can change the bands on them. No--he told me I should be wearing Danskos or Birkenstocks. All the women that I teach with wear Danskos and they swear by them. I could do Danskos. There are some really cute ones out there. Birkenstocks--not over my dead body! Even when they were popular, and I went to school in Vermont, I would not wear them. They are just way too "crunchy" for me. So it was off to Red's Shoe Barn to get some sandals. There was absolutely no way I was going to wear sneakers all summer.

Upon entering the store, I immediately gravitated toward the Danskos; they were cuter, and they were pretty comfortable. I just have a difficult time paying $100 for sandals. That is not something I generally do. Shoes or boots I can justify, but sandals? A little more difficult. I asked the clerk at the store what were other shoes that were good for my "condition." She said Naots, and again the "B" word--Birkenstocks. I tried the Naots and they were super comfortable, but they didn't have the style I wanted, and they were even more expensive than the Danskos! I decided I would stick with the Danskos.

Even though I wasn't planning to buy anything else, I decided to walk around the sale section. My foot wasn't going to feel like this forever, right? I saw that they had some Birks on sale. Maybe I could get them for just around the house. With my "condition" you are not supposed to be barefoot--like ever! Some crazy people even wear shoes in the shower. I figured if they were cheap enough, I could justify it. Well, as I am perusing the boxes, I come upon a pair of silver ones that look similar to a flip flop. Yes, I did say silver. When did they start making semi-stylish Birkenstocks? If they were silver, they couldn't be that bad, right? As you can see from the photo, I did end up purchasing them, and believe it or not, I wear them every day. They are the most comfortable shoe I have ever put on my foot. The best part is that I think they are really helping.

As I said, my orthopedist also prescribed physical therapy for me. The therapist told me to continue stretching and doing ice massage. She is also doing what is called "iontophoresis." My understanding of it is that an electrode, covered with a liquid steroid, is placed on my heel--at least I think it a steroid. I have these little vials which are usually used for injections, but not in my case. The pharmacist didn't even understand how it was being used; however, I have talked to several people who have heard of it, and swear that it works. The actual therapy doesn't really bother me, it just tingles a bit. The only downfall is that sometimes my foot is more resistant to the therapy than other times, which causes it to take longer. One time it took almost 50 minutes! I go twice a week and only have a few more sessions left. Again, the good news is that it seems to be making a difference.

So over the last month or so, I have been going to therapy, taking lots of Motrin, wearing Birkenstocks, and not doing so much walking. But really, who would want to walk with the horrendous weather we have been experiencing. If I have to walk in rain during the 3Day then I will, but I am not going to do it by choice. I guess that is my way of justifying it. I have done a few shorter walks--5-6, but nothing major. I've told Tracy that I am not in the shape I was in last year. She may have to drag me over the finish line, but that's okay because we'll be together.

As far as Andy goes, he is still struggling with his foot. He is seeing a podiatrist, who has a different approach than my orthopedist. He has had a Cortizone shot and is on his second round of steroids. He also wears a boot to bed, which I have tried a few times and is awesome! I'm going to see if I can get one. It is a race to see who will be better first. Those who know me well, understand that I will win.

Lastly, a quick thank you to all of you who have donated. You have made "Teachers for Ta-Ta's" a Power Team! Personally, I am just short of $5000...but there is still time! If you want to donate, just click on the link on this page. Also, we are starting to find out more info on the route. It starts in Framingham, right near Tracy's house and ends at UMASS Boston, which is a beautiful walk with which to end. We should know about cheering stations in the next two weeks, so we will keep you posted.

Ta-Ta for now!