After many years of not putting my “flat feet” first, my right one finally had enough. Wow, when your body gives out, it does so in a super serious manner. In my case, for over two months, I wasn’t able to walk or stand for long (or short) periods of time. If turtles raced against me as I tried to navigate around my home, they’d win. (Sigh…)
The longest I could walk outside (with a limp) was about 15 minutes—just enough time to hobble my youngest to school. My feet seemed to have an internal alarm clock because pain would set in at around 15 minutes—without fail. A quick glance at my wristwatch confirmed it, each time.
My walk (hobble) back home was very, very slow—my right foot seemed ready to go on strike. By the time I reached my front door, my heel and sole throbbed with so much pain. Once I’d taken my shoes off by the door, I’d limp ever so slowly inside…towards the couch. I’d feel the leather sink in as I plopped myself down, tilting my right leg to the right so that I eventually wound up lying down.
At that point, walking had become too painful—plain and simple. As a long-time city gal so used to walking, or rather, half trotting from one errand to another, this slow pace was unnerving. I was frustrated. How was I supposed to bring my kids to school, pick them up, run errands in between and conduct field research for my writing projects if I couldn’t walk for more than 15 minutes (per day)?
Thankfully, things did improve. But, of course, that’s after numerous visits to my podiatrist, plus investments in a pair of insoles for my sneakers and a couple of pairs of orthotic shoes (pure relief for my arch and heel). The recovery process isn’t complete without those vital stretching exercises for my feet and hamstring recommended by my podiatrist, and strengthening exercises, compliments of my physical therapists.
Where do I stand (pun intended) now? Or perhaps, a better question is, how long can I stand (or walk) now? Well, as long as I wear my insoles, I’m able to walk for at least five hours. By that time, though, my heel hurts a lot. If I wear my orthotic shoes, my walking time is extended to about eight hours. (I’ve withheld the brand name since this isn’t a promo. If you’re interested, leave me a comment below. Or shoot me an email via email@example.com for details.)
I’m a little more than halfway through my physical therapy sessions, which have helped me a lot. From the first visit, I’ve been walking without my limp as per one of my physical therapist’s advice.
“You need to slow down. Take your time. Walk properly even if it takes you longer. No more limping,” my female PT said.
Seeing my puzzled look at being told to slow down, she added, “I know as a New Yorker you’re not used to slowing down. But, you need to so you’ll walk properly. Trust me, your feet will feel better.”
I sighed and gave her a small smile, feeling hopeless.
“It took many years for you to get to this [painful] point. It’ll take some time to recover,” she said, trying to make me see the light. This comment was met with another weak smile. How much time?
While it’s taking a while longer to walk down Manhattan streets, I hate to admit it, but she’s been right. Each careful step I’ve taken as I re-learned to walk has been uncomfortable at times. But, I’ve made great strides (sorry for the pun…again).
Unfortunately, according to my male PT, plantar fasciitis is one of those conditions that’s frustrating because it takes time to get better. “Most people won’t be 100% better by the time they’re done with their physical therapy,” he said.
Well, I wasn’t expecting I’d be 100% when I finished my physical therapy, but I guess I was doing some “wishful thinking” which has undergone a major reality check.
Anyway, after those two-and-half months of being semi-immobile, my husband and I have resumed our walking adventures by crossing three New York City bridges. Not bad…and we’re not done yet.
We’ve made some pretty cool findings, and even have a harrowing experience to tell as we made our way towards one of these bridges. More on that tale later—that’s another story fit for its own post.
In the end, while I was already taking the time to notice and fully appreciate my surroundings, my difficulties with walking reinforced my mission to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n. Of course, when school resumes in the fall, and my kids need to be at various places again, I’ll have to pick up the pace. Hopefully by then, my feet will feel a lot better.
For now, my husband and I have more bridges to walk across over the summer. We’ve learned that when you take your time crossing them, not only do you have more fun together—it’s amazing what little treasures you find. Our discoveries are additional fodder for another post. Until then, enjoy exploring your own neighborhood.
If you’d like to share similar stories with us, we’d love to hear from you.