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Posts tagged ‘Plantar Faseiitis’

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining…Even Best Plans Sometimes Need Tweaking

Brisbane has copped its fair share of rain lately, along with the rest of the East coast of Australia. We’ve experienced some exciting storm season situations along with more flooding. Unfortunately, it seems this is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. Long periods of serious rain has been known to create cabin fever in even the most patient of folks and I’m no exception to this rule.

There was a time in my past when we lived on a property an hour away from Rockhampton and we were situated in a dry belt. We’d watch the storms build all around us and then pass us by. As a family we made a pact that if it would just rain for us we would never again complain about the amount of rain that fell. I’ve always been mindful of that comment. I put it down in the never say never category as quite frankly, I’d like to have more control over when and how it rains.

The recent rain has disrupted the way I train. I don’t mind walking in the rain but I try to avoid downpours, which is what we’ve been experiencing. This has necessitated the way in which I train and I’ve had to become creative; well, for me, at any rate. This is saying a lot because  I am happiest just to walk for fitness. Until I was diagnosed with plantar faseiitis quite recently,  I never did much else except walk, for I am a walker and a happy one at that. I know there are many different ways to get fit, but I’ve just never been concerned with any of them.

However, that has changed now.

There is another saying that seems to fit in with my rainy days theme and it goes like this: It never rains but it pours! Whilst this saying was triggered by the rain initially, I make reference to it based on a few health issues that have cropped up recently.

After I got back from Sydney I finally succumbed to and paid a visit to the doctor to suss out my right knee. Over the years my knee has always been a little sensitive and flares up for a while but generally settles quite quickly. In the past, when it flared up I’d feel some pain, but I’d usually just persevere and I’d never been inclined to check out what the problem is. I can remember these flare ups as far back as when I was 18 and riding horses. I’ve just lived with it and the thought never occurred me to ask a doctor. But while I was in Sydney walking around, I think I may have jarred my knee and the result has been a more than normal painful and slightly swollen knee. When combined with my Plantar Faseiitis, both on my right leg, well I must admit, I felt a little out of sorts and had to take another enforced break. Some X-rays confirmed  mild osteo-arthritis; just great! But, I guess it is to be expected from the normal wear and tear on the body.

I am managing the Plantar Faseiitis with stretching exercises given to me by my sports podiatrist and don’t have to go back to see him till June or July. Now I am working with a physiotherapist to sort out my knee issues. I am currently learning and executing exercises that will strengthen my knee and hopefully take the current stress off it. I’ve certainly had my ups and downs with these conditions over the past couple of months, but it is all character building, I’m sure.  I have ‘rest’ days when I feel I need them. I try to listen to my body, however, there are days when my knee aches and I won’t/can’t give in to it and I try hard to push through the pain and continue on walking or exercising. Generally mind over matter can be a powerful thing for me, but I’m not advocating this to others. It really is a matter of figuring out what works for me and how much I can put up with.

I combine my walking (between 7 – 13 kilometres per day) with a 20 kilometre cycle (stationary exercise bike) workout, weights for knees and upper body, stretches for total body, sit ups and physio exercises. This can sometimes take a large chunk of time, so I play around with the combinations. It all seems to be working and I notice that I can climb stairs quite well now and in my job at QPAC, when I hold open the large glass doors and greet our guests, I can generally do this with ease now. When I first started I felt awkward and it was hard to hold the doors open. So, I believe I am seeing and feeling improvements in myself.

My repertoire of exercises and fitness program has grown from simply walking. My goal of walking 1000 kilometres along the Camino Way has had more far-reaching benefits than just getting fit for the walk. I am making some lifestyle changes that will make a permanent and positive difference to my life. I’ve cut out adding sugar to my coffee or cereal, I strictly limit my intake of alcohol and try to eat fresh, unprocessed meals in small quantities. And, it is working. I am getting fitter, more toned and slimmer.

Colleagues and friends have begun to notice the difference and often express their compliments. This is very encouraging to someone who is trying very hard to improve physical fitness levels and train for a significant journey. I really do appreciate everyone’s support and encouragement.

I always try to look on the bright side of life – even when the chips are down. The rain and the injuries, whilst I wish I didn’t have to suffer through them, I am thankful for them because they have pushed me to look for different ways to do things and I am much better off for it. Every cloud does have a silver lining – it seems…

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Contemplation in the early hours of the morning – 5:20am…the road is wet and quiet. I start my walk in the dark some twenty minutes before this photo was taken. The lights are still glowing. Soon the sun will peek through the trees and the lights will disappear.

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And as if one cue…the sun makes its appearance. Oh what a beautiful morning…oh what a beautiful day…I’ve got a wonderful feeling…everything’s going my way.

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Stuff Happens – A Minor Set Back

For about ten days before my long walk to South Bank, I’d been experiencing intermittent pain under the arch in the heel area of my right foot. While I mostly tolerated the pain that radiated from my heel for most of my 37 km walk, the last few kilometres were quite excruciating to be honest. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of the walk and I realised that whatever was happening in my foot was totally aggravated from the long haul. Lucky for me I am only in training and it’s the perfect time to have a break down if you really must have one.

By Sunday morning I could barely walk on that foot. I’d arranged to meet a girlfriend to go and check out the large outdoor outlets located at Fortitude Valley. I put on a brave front and drove into the city after collecting her. We got there early and found a park. No shops were open by then so we regarded the time as perfect to grab a coffee before hitting the stores.

I had hoped to buy a pair of new hiking boots. After all my research, I knew the boots I wanted and had been quite excited, however, both my feet were really swollen and the pain in my right heel would not abate. It really put a dampener on the trip for me. I could only manage hobbling around in my comfy thongs for padding. Earlier that morning I couldn’t put my foot down on the floor boards or tiles at home. I needed cushioning.

I’d been on the Internet to Google ‘pain in heels’ and suspected that I was suffering from Plantar Faseiitis, but I wasn’t certain. From the description, it certainly seemed like it might be that.

I booked an appointment with a local Sports Podiatrist and had to wait until the following Wednesday. In the meantime I had a rest from walking on the Sunday, but did two 7 km walks on Monday and Tuesday. My feet were still rather swollen, but I managed the walks at a slower pace and in some pain.

On the Wednesday I made an executive decision not to get an early walk in before visiting the Podiatrist, but to wait and see what the diagnosis of my foot was. As suspected, I was diagnosed with Plantar Faseiitis. At least now I knew what I was dealing with. Next was to develop a management plan.

My podiatrist, Will, was most understanding of the goals I had set in order to attain my main goal of walking in Spain. As I feared, he asked me to take ten days off walking, which to be honest would drive me nuts. I tried to negotiate with him, but he remained adamant.

So, how does one treat Plantar Faseiitis?

After a thorough diagnostic look at the way I walk and the condition of the muscles around my foot and calves, it was discovered that my calf muscles were really super tight. I never stretch; a big no, no apparently. I didn’t realise how important stretching is to walkers as much as any other sport. In my head I tell myself it is only a walk. Walking is not too hard to do, is it? But apparently, and I have recently learnt this: walkers and joggers are prone to constriction of muscles, making everything tight. Go figure…I learn something every day.

  • So, Will gave me some beaut stretches to do to help tame my calf muscles.
  • A friend of mine who was a high level gymnast had mentioned to me to use a rolling pin to roll my arch to help iron out the tightness in the muscles under my arch, but Will went one better, asking me to freeze a couple of small water bottles and use these in the same method as the rolling pin.
  • After close examination of my poor old Nikes, Will suggested I invest in a more appropriate joggers to assist my feet with superior support. I was keen for new joggers, so I didn’t protest.
  • Rest for 10 days – no walking…but Will said I could ‘smash up’ on the exercise bike to keep my cardio on target. After the ten days, he told me, I could recommence my walking (between 3-4 kms every other day).
  • ICE my foot.
  • Voltaren Gel – applied to my foot and wrapped in Glad Wrap in the evenings to trap the alcohol in the liniment.

I felt sure I could manage all this and probably more. I do have to be careful because Will said this condition can sometimes hang around for a couple of years! I was horrified to hear this, so it made me determined to follow Will’s expert advice.

My Progress:

Day 8 – update

I have been working out every day on the exercise bike doing 20 kms as well as stretching, weights, sit ups and women’s push ups. I am serious about getting my fitness levels up and running and every day I feel I’m gaining strength and feeling great. The first few days I pined for my daily walk but I’m happy with the way my exercise regime is going for the moment. I only have till Saturday to go and then I can do my first walk.

I’d like to introduce you to my one of my new joggers:

New joggers

ASICS Nimbus 14

ASICS Nimbus 14 gel

I think it is going to be sweet wearing these babies. They are so light and supportive. Can’t wait to give them a whirl.

I’m also watching what I eat. I’ve cut out sugar completely and I am alcohol free while trying to shift some kilograms.

So, all in all, I am viewing this set back through positive eyes. What I feared the most (needing to rest the walking) happened, but from that, it forced me to try new ways to work on my fitness levels. Ways I probably, in all honesty, wouldn’t have bothered giving a go.

I am happy and looking forward to visiting with Will next Wednesday for his report on my progress. I think Will is excited for me about my walk through Spain and is happy to be part of my team. I’d also like to thank my mates (you know who you are) for giving me tips from rolling pins, advice from a scientific viewpoint and tips on the best way to do weights, push ups and sit ups.

I’m excited.

So, until next time…

Buen Camino

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