Several years ago I had some ankle pain. It wasn’t a big deal, and I didn’t think much of it at all. And then, while at work, something happened. It started to hurt really badly. My job requires me to be on my feet quite a bit, so it got worse and worse as the day went on. I had to go home before my day ended, and I left in tears. I drove immediately to the walk in clinic and the doctor gave me a week off of work due to the pain.
This was only the beginning of an ordeal that went on for a year.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is the most cause of heel pain. A large band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes becomes inflamed and can cause stabbing pain, usually first thing in the morning. It’s common in runners. But I don’t run, and my pain was not located in my heel. As I said, it started in my ankle. Very quickly though, my pain shifted from my ankle to the arch under my foot. I felt a constant, tight pulling with each step I took. Usually with PF, the pain gets better after the first few steps out of bed in the morning. With me, the pain never ended. It was there all day, every day. It was there as soon as I woke up, and it was there when I lay down to sleep.
Doctors looked at the mechanics of my feet. They recommended orthotics, which did not help. They advised me to stay off my feet, impossible in my profession but no one wanted to hear that. They prescribed anti flammatories and physiotherapy. The medications didn’t help. Physio only helped manage pain, but it didn’t correct the problem. I also did weekly massages where the fascia was stripped. But all of these treatments only managed the pain, and did not correct it. The professionals were stumped, sent me here and there to be looked at by another type of expert, all of who said I was fine and that it would go away given time and persistence with treatments. I was told to “stay the course.”
Living With Pain
For a year, I stayed the course taking all the advice of every professional in the paramedical and medical field that I saw. But I wasn’t getting better. I spent money on expensive shoes, orthotic inserts, therapies, and I each day I lived in pain. I tried icing my feet, I rolled golf balls under the arch of my foot, I tried stretches, I took herbal supplements, but every day I woke up and the pain was there. Some days I could actually feel the micro tears as they ripped in my fascia while I walked at work. It was horrid. There was plenty of days when I soon as I closed the door of my condo shut behind me I broke down in tears.
There is no sympathy for someone living in chronic pain. Everyone I worked with knew standing and walking hurt me, and yet no one offered to help even though there were certain duties that they could have done on occasion for me. I didn’t complain, and I didn’t ask. I felt I couldn’t. We all have our own work to do after all, and our own problems. I even had a co worker become upset with me after I chose to go home for a few hours before returning to an after work event I had to run with her, because in her mind I should have stayed to help her set up. But I couldn’t. It was either set up or attend the event. Attendance was mandatory. Set up was…something others could do without me. I had no choice I felt. But she did not see that. She even argued with me when I explained this, acting as though I’d shrugged off my responsibility to her, even though she knew full well I was in constant pain.
I wanted so badly to stay home. I was mentally exhausted, physically aching and emotionally drained from living in constant pain and working in a job where there was no escaping being on my feet. My doctor never offered me time off of work, and I was too afraid to ask for it.
How I Healed My Plantar Fasciitis
It came to a point where I knew that I could not go on working and living with the pain. I was ready to tell my doctor so and beg her for time off of work. But I had an appointment to begin shockwave therapy only a few days after I realized this, and as it turned out, I didn’t need that time off of work because shockwave therapy was the one thing that worked. I felt improvement immediately after my first treatment, and by the end of eighteen treatments (I later discovered I was over treated, probably in order to for the clinic to make more money and I paid thousands for this treatment) I was no longer in any pain.
I cannot tell you what an intense relief it was to walk and not to have feel pain in my feet. I just can’t describe it. It was so liberating to just be able to stand and walk and not be aware of every bone and tendon in my feet. I felt so lucky, and glad and grateful. I was told I’d have to wear orthotics, but that seemed like a little thing when it meant I could walk and work pain free.
But, a few months later, I knew I wasn’t really healed. It was Christmas, and I had two weeks off from work, and I wasn’t wearing my orthotic inserts in my home because I don’t wear shoes in my home. And even though I wasn’t walking a ton in my house, by the end of the two weeks I felt the beginning of the PF again in the arch of my foot. Once I began to regularly wear my orthotics, this disappeared, but it meant that something was still wrong. I had been told over and over again it was the mechanics of my foot, and that I was ultra sensitive so I would need orthotics for the rest of my life, but a part of me didn’t think this was entirely accurate.
By chance, some months later, I discovered osteopathy. I decided to see an osteopath about my back and hip pain, and while I was there we discussed my history with PF. She explained there was likely nothing wrong with my feet, that the problem was originating elsewhere in the body, and that treatment would help my entire body, not just a specific area. I left that day, took my orthotics out of my shoes and I have never used them again.
How Osteopathy Works
Osteopathy works on the premise that the body has a natural ability to heal itself. Its aim is to restore function in the body by treating the causes of pain and imbalances. The osteopath works with the body through manipulation of the entire muscular skeletal system to enhance the body’s natural ability to heal. It looks at the way the body functions as a whole, not just as separate systems or parts.
I cannot tell you whether or not this treatment is right for you, I am not a medical expert. I am only describing my own experiences. And my experience has been amazing. I used to have back pain, hip pain, odd horrible pain in my knee that would come for a week or a month and the vanish and return again years later, plantar fasciitis, and ever since I have begun treatment with my osteopath, I experience far less pain and I can even wear heels again. On occasion, as heels are not good for your body at all. I do not need to take medications for pain, or wear orthotics, and I now know when something is off in my body. I do go for regular treatments as I believe they are necessary to my overall health, but I have felt and seen the changes in my body when I never really did before. They say seeing is believing, well so is feeling. The difference in my overall physical health is huge.
Living with the chronic pain of PF is not something I’d wish on my worst enemy. And the worst thing was, it was an invisable illness so no one really understood my experience. I seemed fine since I was walking. But no one knew the effort that went into my day. Or how much it cost me. But I never believed that was no way I could become better. And by being open minded, willing to try anything (within reason) I did finally find a way to heal myself.
Thoughts? Questions? Let’s chat in the comments!