Monday, June 6, 2011

Working Through the Pain (Plantar Fascitis)

So, I know I have been saying that in my next post, I would share information about how to break a weight-loss plateau.  Truth is…I’m still working on that write up! HA! But, I do have something worthy of sharing with you this time around. It is something we can all relate to on some level…working through the pain. Working through the pain can actually refer to many things; mental, spiritual, emotional or physical pain. This entry will focus on the physical element of pain. 

Late last year, I began experiencing quite a bit of pain in my left foot. It would cramp up and burn, I would suffer dull to extreme muscle spasms…no fun. It got to the point earlier this year where I could barely walk on it some days. I would literally have to get out of the bed, ease down and lightly apply pressure to my foot just long enough to stabilize myself on the other and hop to the bathroom. Again, no fun!  I chalked it up to having flat feet (fallen arches) but wondered why it was one foot more so than the other. 

In March, I couldn’t take it anymore. I saw a podiatrist who did a few X-rays and handled my foot asking, “Does that hurt…does this hurt…how does that feel?” etc. Of course I winched saying, “ummm..YEAH!!! That DOES HURT!”
       (An x-ray of my left foot)
 He informed me that I have a condition called “Plantar Fascitis”. I thought to myself…OMG…WTH is that??? To my relief, it was not a fungus…phew! (was hoping those pedis hadn’t caught up to me or that it was not a fractured bone…) Turns out that Plantar Fascitis is a condition common among runners and other athletes (and I am neither….).Basically, when I walk it feels like the back of my foot (the heel), is detaching from the rest of my foot…ouch!!! (

 He probed me, asking about my recent activities and such. I did share that I had been training to run my first 5K and had begun jogging outdoors and running on the treadmill. I was advised to sit on the sidelines, take it easy, consider apparatus’ like a foot brace,special shoes/inserts, physical therapy, shock treatment…and if that didn’t work, shots and ultimately surgery.  So, of course I was not happy…but at the same time grateful that I could do some things on my own to help ease the pain.

Needless to say, there have been challenges! Some days my walking pace is FIRE…others I feel like a turtle barely getting by. I haven’t been able to run as frequently or intensely as I had been before spring, but I’ve been pushing myself to get back in the game. I’ve become more patient with myself as a result of this…but of course there is still frustration that it won’t just go away. I am so blessed that it is not something much worse. I remind myself that it is minor compared to other situations that others face their entire lives. 

Anyway…I say all of that to say this…sometimes you just have to work through the pain.  Yeah….it hurts like heck when I get up for my early morning workouts. It hurts at odd times when I walk my dog, nearly takes my breath away sometimes when I run….but I can’t and won’t stop. It kills when I’ve been on my feet for a few hours and then sit down and immediately feel bone numbing pain. But in those moments, I think of my Grandfather who has dealt with rheumatoid arthritis for decades. Managing PF is a walk in the park compared to his constant battle. 

 I’ve learned to modify my regime when it hits me. I’ve learned that if I need to hit pause on the treadmill or jump off in the middle of a sprint, and stretch it out and get back on, that it is okay to do so. I’ve learned that postponing a race does not mean it will never happen…it just means it will happen at a later time. This does not by any means mean that I am weak or succumbing to the pain…it means I am finding ways to manage it so that I can continue with this journey. 

Just like in your own life…there has been and will be pain that tries to stop you dead in your tracks. But, you must not submit to it. Now, don’t be foolish and do anything to make yourself worse…..but slow your pace a bit, take a moment to breathe, say a prayer and ease back in there. You may not do it at that very moment…you may need to take a break. But, do not resign. Get your head right and come back stronger than ever (even if that means easing back into things at a slow pace). 

Most of the time, our fear is greater than our pain. I was so afraid when I got back on that treadmill after a month of no running or jogging. I was afraid that I would rip my foot to shreds and not be able to do anything. This voice kept saying…..”Sit down. Why risk it? You know you aren’t ready and just need to quit.” But, I didn’t listen…I pushed on. Find ways to manage your pain. Whether it be an injury, an aching heart, a broken spirit…don’t crouch down in the shadows of the corner and die. Don’t be down for the count. In fact…”never say die.”

~Make IT Work!!! 

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