For the past several months, my left heel has been hurting a lot when I take the first few steps when I rise from bed, and later in the evening, close to bedtime. The morning pain has been sharp and quite irritating, but it subsides soon enough.
I knew something was wrong, though, when the pain persisted. I’m no dummy… I figured I had plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of a tendon that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the ball.
I was being a general goofball guy, hoping it would go away, while concentrating on getting my partner over his long-term illness. Now that my partner is feeling better (not recovered, but better than before), I thought that now was a good time to see a doctor and get this problem addressed.
First, I dutifully made an appointment with my primary care doctor, who is the same doctor that my partner has been seeing. My doc did a full physical, and I’m happy to report that I am generally healthy, and don’t have a problem with cholesterol or blood pressure. In fact, my BP is still on the low side. (Helps explain why I can remain calm when everyone else goes nuts.)
My doc agreed that I had something going on with my foot, and referred me to a foot specialist, who I saw yesterday. That doctor confirmed plantar fasciitis in my left foot. He suggested an injection with cortisone to reduce inflammation. I advised him that I have donated a kidney to my sister, and my nephrologist (kidney doc) advised not to be exposed to cortisone or take any other anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxin (found in Motrin, Advil, or Aleve). Those drugs are hard on the kidneys for a normally healthy person, and could really wreak havoc on my one remaining kidney. So no drugs! (perhaps with the exception of Excedrin, which is a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine. Works great for me, especially on headaches.)
The doc made plaster casts of both of my feet, and will arrange to have orthotic devices made that I will insert into my boots and which will hold my foot in place so as not to aggravate the heel and allow it to recover.
While he was doing that, he asked, “what kind of shoes do you wear?” Seeing a pair of boots lying on the floor….
The doctor sat back, drew a breath, and I was waiting for him to say something not-so-good about wearing boots, but instead, he surprised me. His response was, “I’m glad you don’t wear sneakers or sandals. Those things are hard on the feet — especially flip-flops. You can’t imagine the number of cases of infections I have had to deal with on people who wear flip-flops. Sneakers generally aren’t that much better. Few sneakers provide enough support for the foot, especially at the ankle to keep it firmly upright. Sneakers may support the arch, but don’t support the ankle like boots do. I’m glad to know that you wear boots. Let me look at them.”
Then he picked up my Chippewa Harness boots that I had been wearing — I selected to wear them for this visit because they are very easy to slip on and off, as well as the fact that they are comfortable.
He examined the boot as closely as he examined my foot. Then he floored me once again by saying, “these are great boots. I can tell that they’re well made and provide excellent support for your feet and ankles. Keep wearing them.”
After I picked up my jaw from the floor, all I could say was, “sure, doc. I will.”
Life is short: wear boots!