Since I’ve been back from the Trail, I’ve had to concentrate on getting back on my feet. Literally. Plantar Fasciitis: inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. This tissue is called the plantar fascia. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. The inflammation occurs when it’s overstretched or overused. Like walking for 10 hours a day over rough terrain. This condition is more likely to develop if you have high arches (or flat feet!), obesity or sudden weight gain, long distance running or extreme hiking on uneven surfaces, tight Achilles tendon, shoes with poor arch support. It is one of the most common orthopedic complaints relating to the foot.
Usually the pain is most intense in the heel and happens with the first steps in the morning, standing or sitting for a while, intense activity.
My research also indicates that the pain can persist for a very long time. Already I am getting relief with the boots. Some people apparently deal with this pain for years.
My high arch (which I’ve always been told was cute) made my feet prone to the terrible condition I developed on the Trail. I had no idea my arches were going to be a problem. I’ve always worn support inserts and never had a problem. My life has been spent on my feet. Waitressing, retail jobs, nursing home work, hiking, walking, outdoor activities-my life has been spent in physical activity and I loved it. Of course, many nights I came home with tired feet-what server hasn’t? But I put my feet up and gave myself a good foot massage and the next day I was ready for more.
Since I’ve been here at my friend’s, with my feet up, I’ve had ample time to research remedies for this awful condition. I have to get back to normal because I have to work. If I can’t walk, I can’t work. I’m trying to use my time productively and finish some writing projects, but the panic is steadily rising. I have to work. I’d love to find a work-at-home situation, and I’m working on that-but I’m running out of time to get better. I can’t ask my friend to let me live here indefinitely and living on my own means paying rent. So, I gotta work.
I used some of my dwindling finances to buy a pair of boots designed to treat Plantar Fasciitis. Ideally, you wear them to bed so your tendons and tissue stay flexible during the night.
When I came off the Trail I stayed in bed as much as possible, thinking if I could stay there long enough, sleeping and eating tissue-building food, I would return to normal. After 2 weeks, I was despairing of ever walking normally again. Then a friend who suffers from this condition gave me straight talk.
“If you ever plan to hike again, you’re going to have to spend the money on these boots. You’ll eventually be walking more or less OK in a few months but you probably don’t have that kind of time. Get these boots. They keep your feet stretched during the night and help your feet rebuild. I only use them occasionally now, but I couldn’t do the things I wanted without them.”
I got the boots a couple of days ago and I’m shocked at the difference. I have been wearing them during the day during these long hours when I’m reading, writing, and watching movies. I’m also taking s supplements for bone and tissue repair, extra protein, vegan style, and it’s all working. I still can’t be up more than a few hours before my feet start hurting-and once they start, I have to get off them. The boots are a huge help here, too. When I sit down, I put them on. Now, if I rest for a while in the boots, I can get back up relatively pain-free.
I feel so grateful that I have friends who are generous enough to help me. I also feel grateful that I am healthy enough to start with that this isn’t going to debilitate me for the rest of my life. I’m irritated with myself that I was ignorant about this condition, but nowhere in my reading about preparing for the hike did I see anything about this. Of course, I read articles about wearing good supports and good shoes. I’d been working all my life on my feet and thought I’d been doing that already. I worked to get my pack to no more than 25% of my body weight. I know now there are areas I should have researched more, and this is a valuable lesson that I hope will help others as well.