Widgets Magazine

May 18, 2011

Torture Chamber

So in January, the Dog Walker and I made a resolution to exercise every day. We started on January 2, and so far we haven’t missed a day. Most of the time we play an exercise video game together like DDR and lately it’s been Just Dance on the wii. We had to make a change because for some reason my body doesn’t seem to like exercise.

In January I was playing basketball two days a week and DDR with the Dog Walker the other five days. About six weeks into that routine, I started feeling pain in my right foot. First it was on the bottom, but it slowly spread up my heel until at least several times a day I was having shooting pains run up and down my leg. They were kind of like cramps, but no matter how much stretching I did, they wouldn’t go away. Finally I made an appointment with my doctor. He took X-rays and gave me a diagnosis… Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. Then he gave me a referral for a specialist.


I "drug my feet" about making the call. I didn’t want them to tell me I needed surgery and at first I wasn’t even that excited about a cortisone shot. I changed my routine…I traded basketball for volleyball and we switched over to Just Dance without the feet movement. None of it seemed to help much, so after a couple more weeks, I made the call. I had in mind the foot specialist who had done Teach’s surgery last summer, but he was booked six weeks out. I took what they offered and I was able to get an appointment within a few days.

You know you are getting old when the "specialists" are younger than you are. He spent about five minutes with me and told me the only answers to my problem were a night-time "boot" (that keeps me awake half the night…it is so uncomfortable!) and physical therapy. Now I’ve had physical therapy before, once right after my knee surgery and then again about three years ago to fix the problems from the therapy 15 years ago. I was NOT excited to hear this news. It took me another three weeks and two cancelled appointments to finally get myself to the PT office.


My therapist was named Doug and he seemed nice enough…at first. He made me walk for him, then he worked my muscles a bit. Then he asked me if I’d ever heard of ASTYM. Apparently that was the therapy my specialist was recommending. I use therapy only in the loosest sense of the word. It’s really a code word for TORTURE! He has this set of plastic tools and the idea is to press as hard as he can to break all the capillaries in my leg to stimulate new growth in my ankle. Yeah…you got it…they want to totally bruise my leg twice a week for three weeks…on purpose…with tools… And I’m going to let them…does anybody see anything wrong with this picture??


During the first appointment I was still in shock and besides I couldn’t very easily run away since I was lying on a table behind a curtain and there were lots of other people in the outer room to see me trying to make an escape. When I got home I showed the red bruises that ran from my calf down to my ankle to my sweetie. He offered to make dinner. Maybe this wasn’t so bad after all…until the second appointment. I took painkillers in anticipation of all the fun I was going to have, but it was still incredibly painful. Today I had my fourth appointment and I discovered that if I distracted my therapist with conversation, sometimes he would forget to push as hard. I still came home with an impressive trail of bruises. I’m not sure my leg is getting any better, but with all this bruising, who could tell? I’ll keep you posted…

11 comments:

Jessica said...

Orthotics for plantar fasciitis!! I saw my chiropractor after PT didn't help my plantar fascitiis. (I also was given the horrible night-time boot...tried to wear it, but gave up.) He fitted me with high-quality orthotics (important to be properly fitted) and I am now pain free! Highly recommend both the orthotics and chiropractic care.

Lesa said...

Ouch! I've had that heal pain before from too much walking from exercise.

Hi I'm Rhonda. said...

Ouch! Not sure I'd be willing to PAY someone to bruise me up.

Cindi said...

I am cringing as I read this and I agree that physical therapists are trained in torture. I have feet problems too -- lymphedema -- and was disappointed to learn that the only therapy was to bandage them up. irritating. Good luck and I hope your feet feel better soon.

M-Cat said...

Both of those are the runner's nightmare's!! I've got a bestie right now trying to recover from achilles issues. Nothing to mess around with.

Though, that PT sounds a little off - I'm no expert but over the past several years have had my share of PT and never heard of such a thing.

I guess, if it works, then great. I'll be interested in hearing about the results. GOOD LUCK!

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

Oh, I am sorry for your torture. Maybe if he gave you a lollipop while you were having it done that would help ease the pain:)

My husband has similar foot problems--it can be so miserable. He had to order special shoes and orthotics seem to help.

ducknme said...

Okay, I'm sorry but that just sounds like the weirdest thing ever. "You're in pain? Great! We'll give you some more!" If nothing else, maybe it'll take your mind off yhe original heel pain....

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Holly said...

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Denise said...

I had this issue too- the PT taped my foot a few times, and I had to do several stretching excercises. I took wore orthotics which helped tremendously! You can also put a bottle of water in the freezer and roll your foot on that too ice your foot. The boot does help- you just have to give it some time. Good luck!

Sarah said...

Interestingly... I've done the same thing to myself. I've suffered from plantar fasciitis for the last 8-9 years due to being overweight and having a job that requires me to stand 10 hours a day. After starting a new treadmill powerwalking regimen two months ago I've had a flare. Went back to my old podiatrist that gave me a different kind of orthotic, gave me the choice of oral or injectible steroid, and referred me to ASTYM PT. I've had two weeks, 4 sessions of PT so far with daily exercises at home. Never realized how much weaker one leg is from the other. I can grin and bear the pain from the violent pushing of that plastic rake down my foot and the ice packs I'm chilled with. I just want this to go away so I can keep powerwalking. I'm not comfortable bicycling or using an elliptical... and really need to be able to powerwalk.

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