I have been having heel and foot pain for months. It’s the kind of pain that greets you every morning with a twang as soon as you put your feet on the floor — which by the way further exacerbates my morning crabbiness. It’s the kind of pain that squeezes you when you stand up. The kind of pain that makes you hesitant to do the exercising that has been making you feel amazing for the past few months. That made me angry — shouldn’t my aging body be thankful for all of the work I have been doing to fight off the ravages of time?
Because I am not shy, I started complaining that my feet were now in the regular habit of barking at me to anyone and everyone who would listen. As soon as I did that, I started hearing about Plantar Fasciitis from various friends and family members. Over Thanksgiving dinner, one of my companions told me how she could no longer go barefoot in her 100% tile floor house because of it. A good portion of my condo is also tile so I figured, “Aha! Now I have an answer and a strategy.” So I stopped walking around at home without slippers on, which really wasn’t too much of a problem because it was an especially cold winter.
But the pain persisted. Did I mention that my go-to pain reliever didn’t put a dent in the pain? Did I also mention that pain tolerance is not one of my strong suits and that my attitude suffered mightily as a result? Grrrr….
The next piece of advice I got was that I would have to invest in better quality shoes. I don’t know about you guys but did anyone tell you that one of the bizarre indignities of getting older was the inability to rock trendy/cheap shoes anymore? The irony of this is that I am not exactly trendy and what I consider high-fashion is that my Converse sneaks match my outfit. How could Chucks be bad for you?!?!
So I invested in some more supportive boots to wear for the winter. Look at these gorgeous examples of pure, steamy sexuality that I bought:
Guess what? Even these beauties didn’t stop the pain from recurring.
The next piece of advice I got was that maybe my feet would improve when the warm weather returned. Which it would eventually, this is Florida. Well, it did — mostly but not consistently. But my feet still hurt, so there goes that idea.
Thankfully I had an early March haircut appointment and thought, who better to ask about feet issues than the ladies who are on their feet all day? They told me about these wonderful shoes that they swear by:
(Insert choir of angels singing)
I first ordered slippers and inserts for my shoes but have gone back twice to order more inserts and flip-flops. Anytime I am standing, you can bet that some kind of Vionic product is supporting me. The flip-flops go on as soon as I get out of the shower — I am dead serious about that. I have ordered everything online but my local department store and shoe stores carry this brand, so yours might too.
I am now completely dependent upon superior arch support and heel alignment in all of my shoes and can no longer tolerate a mediocre, flat shoe experience.
Why am I telling you all this? Because everyone I talked to had a foot pain story of their own that I was completely unaware of! If this is such a chronic problem, why isn’t it more publicly addressed? Are we supposed to be ashamed of our foot pain and keep it to ourselves? I never got that memo but it is the sacred duty of spinsters like me to have no boundaries with others and overshare our personal experiences and judgments with everyone else.
So now the birds are singing and the sun is shining and all is right with the world because I have managed to find a way to once again push back one of the harbingers of decrepitude. Hallelujah!
The lesson in all of this is don’t neglect your feet until foot pain comes knocking on your door. Once in a while, wear some sensible shoes that provide proper arch support and heel alignment.
P.S. My friend Gail shared the exercises that her yoga teacher taught her with me and they have really helped to put my pain in the rear view mirror. We both highly encourage them. Here they are:
1) Kneel with toes and balls of the feet in the ground — heels up. Try to sit back onto your raised heels. It can be excruciating so breathe well and slowly increase the time that you hold it. If you get really good, you can lean back onto your elbows.
2) Do you know how to “activate your arches?” I had no idea I could control the tiny muscles in my feet! Make sure you have four points of contact foot to ground — Ball of foot behind big toe, inner heel, ball of foot behind pinkie toe — weight balanced evenly. Now raise your toes and hold.