Home  >  Carol LeBeau  >  Carol's Health Journal | 02. December 2010

Foot Health

02. December 2010

I remember it like it was yesterday.

Saturday, July 27, 2007. Davenport, IA. I had just completed the popular “Bix” 7-mile run… one of many weekend activities surrounding the annual Bix Beiderbeck Jazz festival.

Thousands of us had just made the hot, hilly trek through my hometown… a scenic city along the Mississippi River in the southeastern corner of the Hawkeye state. Exhilarated, but sweaty and exhausted, I made my way to the water station to re-hydrate. Just as the first sip of water began to cool my core, a searing, hot, knife-like pain shot through the instep of my right foot.

I’d never felt pain like that! Stunned, I hobbled over to a nearby bench. I figured I’d just “pulled something.” A couple of Advil, a little ice and some rest and I’d be fine, right?

I haven’t run in more than 3 years. As the pain persisted, there were X-rays and MRI’s… stretching, icing and cortisone shots, and an array of “non-invasive treatments ranging from acupuncture and electrical stimulation to “cool” laser and shock wave therapies. Nothing helped. A failed surgery left me with a damaged nerve. It’s been a frustrating journey, to say the least.

Today, though, things are looking up! I’ve been working closely with Palomar Health podiatrist Dr. Joan Meyer, DPM, to zero in on the source of the problem. I’m hoping and praying a final solution may be just around the corner. I’ll keep you posted.

I share all of this because I’m hoping my experience might actually help you avoid such a foot fiasco.

Fact is, my injury was most assuredly due to a lifetime of foot abuse. I admit it! Excessive running in broken-down shoes… hours in 3-inch heels (better to look good than feel good, right?!). Absolutely no attempt to take care of the two things I most needed to literally carry me through the rest of my life. Please, don’t let this happen to you!

If you have foot pain, get a jump on it! According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) it’s easy to find relief for most aching feet! Here are a few tips:

 

  • Do some simple at-home exercises:

     

    • Point your toes by lifting one foot. Roll it downward until the toes are pointed toward the ground. Repeat several times.
    • Raise your heels. Stand up and lift your heels so that you are standing on the balls of your feet. Hold for 10 seconds.
    • Squeeze your toes. Separate your toes using corks or foam toe separators… then squeeze your toes together for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.
    • Roll a ball. For an instant massage, roll a golf ball or tennis ball under the ball of your foot. Apply light pressure for about two minutes. Great for arch pain, cramps and heel pain from plantar fasciitis.
    • Stretch standing up. Stand up and place your toes against a wall. Lean forward a little until you feel your arch stretch. Repeat using the other foot.
    • Stretch sitting down. Sit barefoot and cross your left leg so that your ankle rests on your right thigh. Then hold your toes and bend them back toward your shin, stretching the band of tissue connecting the bottom of the heel to the ball.
  • Finally, there’s nothing like a good foot rub! (Maybe you can convince someone you love to help!) Start with your toes and work back to your heel! Ahhhh.
  • Then top it all off with a good, 20-minute foot soak in Epsom salts. The relaxing combo of warm water and salts will give you a double-dose of pain relief and relaxation.

Be good to your feet and they’ll be good to you!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.