Sunday, May 15, 2016

Glad to be Back on My Feet by Alison Henderson

Have you thought about your feet lately? Most of us don’t appreciate our feet the way we should. We are too busy and take our mobility for granted. Until we can’t. I recently learned this the hard way.

One day in mid-January I was on the treadmill when my left foot suddenly started hurting. I had gained a couple of pounds over the holidays, so I’d upped my treadmill workout—nothing spectacular, just a bit longer at a slightly higher speed. When the pain persisted for a few days, I hit the Internet for a diagnosis. Yes, yes, I know—I should have called the doctor. However, I’d never had any kind of sports injury before, and I was sure it was nothing serious. Besides, I hadn’t done anything except walk on the treadmill. The pain was very localized on the top of my foot, and after a little research, I decided it must be extensor tendinitis. So I suspended my exercise, iced my foot, and took ibuprofen.

But as the weeks dragged on, the pain didn’t get any better. After six weeks without improvement, I finally broke down and went to the doctor. He sent me to a podiatrist, and the diagnosis shocked me—a stress fracture of the second metatarsal. How could I possibly get a stress fracture from walking on the treadmill? I’ll grant you I’m not as young as I used to be, but I’m not THAT old!

The prescription was six weeks wearing a compression sleeve on my foot and heavy hiking boots. Oh, and I was supposed to stay off my feet as much as possible. Haha! I gave the podiatrist the benefit of the doubt because he didn’t know me, but seriously, there was no way I was going to lie around the house with my foot elevated for six weeks. I’d already been much less active than normal for six weeks.

I grumbled but complied, within reason, and finally the day arrived when I could shed my boots and move freely again without pain. Yippee! I started to exercise again, carefully. Again I was shocked. Three months of restricted activity had destroyed my conditioning, which hadn’t been world class to begin with. It was almost like starting from scratch. I also cringed at every twinge in my foot, afraid I might break another bone. I’ve turned into a freaking little old lady overnight!

When I turned sixty last year, my mother warned me, “This is the time when everything starts to change.” She was right. My injury has forced me to face the fact that my body has changed, and I have to adjust to accommodate those changes. I don’t like that. I’m no athlete, but I’ve exercised six days a week for the past eight years. It’s my slap in the face of menopause.

Since my fracture healed, I’ve gone back to the same schedule, but with adjustments. I’m trying to be kinder to my joints by keeping my treadmill sessions at a lower level for the time being and alternating days with strengthening exercises with resistance bands. It seems to be making a difference. I do feel better and have actually lost a couple of pounds.

The best thing about being back on my feet is being able to walk outside again. It’s not
much fun looking at paradise through a window. Here are a couple of pictures of one of my favorite hiking places. Point Lobos State Park is one of the most picturesque places on the planet and only fifteen minutes from my house. If some of us get together for a writer’s retreat here next year, I promise to share it with any interested hikers. Trust me—you won’t be sorry.



Alison
www.alisonhenderson.com

17 comments:

Jannine Gallant said...

Congrats on being mobile again! I'm definitely down with that hike. Spectacular! We need to get busy and plan our writer retreat for next year.

Diane Burton said...

So glad you're back on your feet, Alison. Age gets us every time. Our bodies aren't what they used to be. That park looks like a lovely place to walk.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Ah, the agony of d'feet. They are so vital to our well-being! I went through a bout of plantar fasciitis at about your age and thought I'd never get rid of that pain...had to wear a boot to bed! Now I do an exercise to avoid another round. My BIG feet have embarrassed me all my life...couldn't find shoes to fit except at Nordstroms. But I'm 5'10" and I guess a frame like mine needs good 'understanding.' Yup, it's a good idea to baby our pieds so we can wander the terre. Looking forward to hiking on the retreat!

Brenda Whiteside said...

My daddy used to say "getting old is a dirty trick" and I agree. It really isn't so bad except for those new aches and pains. I get very ticked off when I can't do what I'm accustomed to. But you're correct in forging a head with a bit gentler routine. Wish I could see your area with you on the retreat. Next year!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Ah yes, I was sort of in your 'shoes' when I blew a knee a couple of years ago. The immobility was the worst. I'm up for that hike now. Walking outdoors is the best. Welcome back!

Leah St. James said...

Good for you, Alison, for adjusting to accommodate your body's needs. I pulled my back a few months back and had to go three weeks without exercising, and it was tough to get back to my pre-injury state. The woman whose tapes I do (Jessica Smith) always says, "Practice makes progress," and I've adopted that for myself. Progress is good, at whatever pace is right for you in the moment. I'm so glad you're able to get back outside. That stunning scenery is sure motivating!

Alison Henderson said...

Jannine, you'll love Point Lobos if you've never been there. I definitely think we should start planning early (this summer) for the retreat next year so people can get it on their calendars.

Alison Henderson said...

Diane, my body definitely isn't what it used to be! LOL

Alison Henderson said...

Rolynn, OG had plantar fasciitis a few years ago, and it was awful! The pain lasted for months. They gave him a sock to wear to bed that pulled the toes backward, but he couldn't stand it. I'm glad yours hasn't returned (his hasn't, either).

Alison Henderson said...

Brenda, we postponed the retreat until next year because a number of interested people needed more notice. Be thinking about what time would work for you. I'd love to see you again!

Alison Henderson said...

Margo, I'm so glad you're back on your feet and moving, too! Knees take even longer to heal than feet. We'd love to have you join us for the retreat next year!

Alison Henderson said...

Leah, I'm definitely making progress, but you're so right--it seems like it takes forever to get back to a pre-injury state.

andreadowning.com said...

Join the club, pal. It seems every week I have something else go wrong, a new joint pain, a new muscle ache... How did this happen?

Barbara Edwards said...

I'd want to be outside in that park too. good luck with your recovery.

Alison Henderson said...

Andi, I don't understand it. We're just kids, after all. I hope your shoulder is healing well and you're enjoying your spring in Wyoming.

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks, Barb. The park is so beautiful. It's been too foggy lately, but I'm just waiting for a nice, clear day.

Alicia Dean said...

Sorry about the injury, Alison. It's amazing how easy it is to hurt ourselves. I have a knee issue and I joking say I got it rushing into the Martini Lounge. It's sort of true, I was heading toward the door and some ladies were holding it open for me, so I tried to pick up my pace, but I somehow landed wrong on my knee. It's still giving me fits. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pics. Even I might be tempted to walk regularly if I had that kind of scenery. :)