Does your foot hurt first thing in the morning? Mine did, but doesn't now.
Posted 16 November 2007 - 07:33 AM
I thought it was part of getting old; maybe my bones settling in after the hours of horizintality, or something like that? And the pain faded after a few minutes, so I didn't do anything about it.
Then, last August, at an event, I was shocked to find that my left foot hurt so much, it was a major pain to keep up with other cachers. I left it a couple of days, then I went to the doctor (my doctorate isn't medical). He wiggled and waggled my foot, and told me I was suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, which meant nothing to me, and gave me some stretching exercises on a sheet of paper. And he told me to stay off my feet as much as I could, for a while, because this was an overuse issue. I've been caching too much! And lose weight.
I did the stretches, a bit. Probably not as much as I should have. No, definitely not as much. And I cut down on the walking a little bit, but not much. Fewer long multis. I didn't lose much weight.
The pain, of course, persisted, although not as bad as at its peak.
Then, on a thread in this forum, I posted that what I wanted for Christmas, as a new Plantar Fascia. Absurd, of course, you can't buy them on Ebay! But it led me to think a bit. Maybe not a new foot-part, but maybe ...
I did some research. The Plantar Fascia is a bunch of tendons that link the heel to the pad of the foot .
What really amazed me, after doing some research, was the way that all the diagnoses I read, remarked on that "first steps of the day heel pain", which so exactly matched what I was getting. And that made me wonder, why would this be?
So I did some more research. It seems that, during the night, things heal up, but because the foot is so relaxed, things heal up with tendons that are in the relaxed position, and it's when you stretch them first thing in the day that you get the pain, because it sort of pulls at it. There's probably a medical term for this.
The Wiki also mentioned various ways to help. Some of them I didn't fancy - injections of this or that, and surgery. It's not that bad. But it also suggested "night splints", and that made a lot of sense to me.
A night splint is a plastic thingy, that holds the foot in the sort of position it's in when you're standing on it, the foot is held at right angles to the leg. It seemed to me that there was no downside to trying this idea, so I ordered one. I also ordered a couple of gel heel pads to go inside my boot - again, I don't see a downside to trying this out.
I've worn the night splint a couple of nights now. Note - don't make the straps too tight, or you wake up in the morning with a very red top-of-foot. And it advises that you shouldn't walk with it on. Well, I'm telling you, walking with it on is almost impossible, even that dozen steps that people of our age sometimes *need* to make in the middle of the night. But it's easy to take off and put back on.
So, I'm relating this tale because this is a painful condition, it isn't a rare condition, and cachers do a lot of walking, so there might be other folks here with this problem.
As I say, I've only used the night splints a couple of nights so far, and the effect has been dramatic. But I don't know what the long term effects will be. I'm planning to use it for a couple of weeks, then tail off the night splint usage, and see what the result is.
If you want to buy night splints, google "Plantar Fasciitis". I paid £35 for mine.
Posted 16 November 2007 - 08:45 AM
The other thing that helped was to make sure I wore shoes with plenty of arch support. Something I must bear in mind - as I need to buy some new walking boots.
Posted 16 November 2007 - 09:06 AM
Most important: Good fitting, comfortable shoes (I took to wearing my trail shoes almost everywhere as they are so comfy).
Exercises (trying to pick up coins using toes while keeping heel on the ground, and grasping a towel with toes - you will find them on the web).
Stretching: Achilles, gastrocs/soleus. Again look on the web. Don't stretch cold muscles. Don't bounce.
Coincidentally I was also doing tons of gym work in rehab from a knee op which probably helped.
By the way, having recovered from various injuries - some well and some not so well - my advice is: don't skimp on the stretching and physio exercises. They may be boring and at times undignified but keep at it.
Posted 16 November 2007 - 09:38 AM
I bought a new pair of walking boots from a specialist a few weeks ago, had a proper fitting and walked up and down a ramp etc., the shop owner also suggested I wore them about the house for a few evenings and if they wern't comfortable I could take them back.
They really does seemed to have helped so far, and while not cheap they seem to be well worth the money.
Odd how when something is mentioned others have the same problems, now about the weight loss bit
Posted 16 November 2007 - 12:40 PM
I have hiked nearly 300 miles along a long distance footpath in that time though, as well as all the geocaching, football, golf and stuff. So I guess it's down to over-use. This exercise lark is just not healthy!
Dr. Solly reminds me of Doc Morrissey (in the excellent Reginald Perrin comedy)... Can't you treat yourself?
Posted 16 November 2007 - 12:58 PM
Posted 17 November 2007 - 01:21 PM
Posted 18 November 2007 - 07:23 PM
Greetings from across the pond! I saw this topic heading and my attention was immediately caught. I've been through the same thing. There's another stretching exercise that I read about in the L.A. Times A Foot Hold That Spurs Healing.
I wore sandals and ran about barefoot a lot. NO arch support there!
A couple important things my physician told me . . .
Arch Support! Real arch support. Not just those auqa-sole wedge things you can buy at the drug store. I have a VERY high arch and needed something that gave a LOT of arch support. I am using some molded plastic inserts, but am thinking about going to a podiatrist (foot doctor) to get fitted with some proper arch supports (called orthotics).
Walking about for an hour without arch support, can undo six weeks of recovery/healing.
After being up and about on your feet, take a couple of plastic water bottles that you previously put in the freezer, and froze. Wearing your socks, roll the frozen water bottles under your feet, from heel to toe and back.
Feeling your pain . . .
Posted 19 November 2007 - 01:10 AM
Posted 21 November 2007 - 02:48 PM
I get loads of differant pains in my feet and years ago was told it could be Plantar thingy majig. But now its my Diabetes and I suppose being a big cow.
The pain I get mostly associated with Diabetes is more like a sharp walking on glass (Mr Marzipan) pain that you can feel the night following a long walk. My Dad got diagnosed this way.
I was told that an heel spur is like an extra bit of bone thats wanting to grow at the back of the heel like animals have, its part of evolution. This what my Pediatrist told me anyway lol.
Hope everyone with feet probs get better soon.
Posted 24 November 2007 - 09:06 AM
No idea about evolution but bone spurs occur in lots of different bones. They occur where a tendon or ligament attaches to bone - new bone grows along the tendon or ligament in response to damage. In the case of the heel, the pain is usually due to inflammation of the plantar fascia rather than the bone spur itself. I've x-rayed quite a few patients that had calcaneal spurs but had no pain in that part of their foot.