Thursday, August 6, 2009

My feet are fascists!

Well, not really (at least as far as I know!) but they do seem to rule my life lately with unnecessary brute force.
Over the past 8 years or so, all my favorite activities have been pretty rough on my feet: Backpacking, dancing on pointe and running. And while my high arches made for really beautiful feet in pointe shoes, they're not so great for running.
I started running back in late 2005 to help get rid of the baby weight from my first son. At first, it was on the treadmill, but as the weather warmed in spring of 2006, I took my running outdoors. Hubby and I decided to do some races for the first time, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to run them, especially the 10-mile Crim in August of that year.
So, I trained. And trained. And eventually overtrained. I ran three miles every morning with my son in the jogging stroller, and I'd run another three or four alone in the evening. Longer runs on the weekend. Never took a day off. Even on vacation, Hubby and I would take turns going for a run.
I felt like I could run like the wind, though. I was in the best cardiovascular condition of my life. I could run and run and run and it was enjoyable! It didn't hurt! Even when it was 90 degrees outside, I was out there running, and loving it!
We ran five races that summer, and did well for first-time runners. Hubby and I even both got first place in our age group in the local 4-miler.
Then came the 10-mile Crim. The race I'd been so worried about finishing. Well, it was a blast! Hubby and I ran the whole thing together, and never stopped to walk during the entire ten miles. It was so much fun!
But a couple days after that, I had a really sore heel on my left foot. I was hobbling around and it hurt like crazy. I took a week or so off running, but had an 8-mile race around Mackinac Island coming up, so I continued running. The Mackinac Island race was really painful and I could barely walk the next day.
But, I hate going to the doctor, so I put it off until the following spring, when my heel pain was still excruciating on a daily basis. I finally went to a podiatrist, where I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. That's where the hard band thingy that runs down the middle of the bottom of your foot rips away from the heel bone. Ouch.
I was advised to wear shoes all the time, I was given orthotics and anti-inflammatories, told to rest my foot and to ice it. What a drag! Especially wearing supportive shoes all the time in the summer. Inside and out. I am SO a barefoot girl, so that really wasn't much fun at all. Plus, you can't get away with tennis shoes and a sun dress or capris or anything. I LOVE sandals and cute summer shoes, but was told I couldn't wear them.
So, I did what I was told for a long time. It didn't really help. I finally had a really painful cortisone shot in my heel, which helped for quite a few months, but the pain came back.
Fast forward to fall of 2008. I was pregnant with my second child and placed on bed rest. I laid on the couch from Oct. 29 2008 to Feb. 6, 2009. I never walked farther than the mail box during that time. Still, somehow, I got plantar fasciitis in my OTHER foot during that time! Now come on, I know I wasn' t overusing the foot. I wasn't even USING it!
So here I am, three years after developing plantar fasciitis, now dealing with it in both feet. I'm 33 years old and sometimes my feet feel like they're 133 years old. I get up in the middle of the night and hobble to feed my baby. I still can't wear cute shoes. (I had to wear short heels for a wedding I was in last summer and I limped for months afterward!)
As for running, I've pretty much given it up. Once every few weeks I'll get the urge and I'll go out for a jog of a mile or two, but I regret it for days afterward. I really miss that endorphin rush after a good run, though.
At this point, I'm planning to go to a different podiatrist to see if I can get any more advice. I could get custom orthotics that cost close to $500 but am not even sure if they'll help. A friend suggested sports massage on my feet, and I'd love to try that route, but finding time without the kids and finding the extra money is kind of tough right now.
So, I spend my days being ruled by my dumb old fascist feet.