Friday, January 08, 2016

A Pain In The Foot

I've always had problem feet.  Narrow feet are hard to fit, and a AAAA heel makes wearing almost any slip-on style shoe nearly impossible.  I also have very high arches, and after years of suffering,   finally discovered that prescription orthotics are worth every penny.  Luckily I am also a very practical person, who places comfort above fashion.  For this reason I don't mind not being able to wear high heels, and am only occasionally sad about not being able to wear cute sandals and flats - alas, my orthotics just don't work in anything less than a lace-up shoe.  Not a big deal, really.

I'm very picky about the way my shoes fit.  After years of aching arches it wouldn't be right to have my feet hurt in others areas too, like getting bunions from wearing too tight shoes.  I love to walk and having feet that work with me instead of against me is a wonderful thing!

About two years ago, after being unable to walk at our usual place, the crushed-limestone walking trail at E.P "Tom" Sawyer State Park, for nearly 3 months during the winter, Art and I resumed our daily walks in March, 2014.  As we resumed our walks I noticed my left foot was bothering me.  It felt as if my sock were scrunched up inside my shoe, rubbing on the area at the base of my toes.  I repeatedly took my shoe off, but never, ever, found my sock to be where it felt like it was.

I trip to my podiatrist ultimately revealed that I had a Morton’s Neuroma, caused not by high heels and narrow shoes, but simply by having narrow feet, and probably by the very orthotics that were helping my painful arches.  There were treatments available, including surgery, but I didn't want to be laid up for 6-8 weeks, so I decided to try a series of three injections of cortisone, which I began in the summer of 2014.  None proved effective, but by this time I had learned how to manage the pain: I learned that I could initially walk for 1.5 miles before the pain began.  Removing my shoe and putting it back on was all it took to walk for another mile, so I simply stopped after each mile.

Unfortunately as the bones rub on the nerve, causing the neuroma, the neuroma just becomes larger and larger, so the problem will never go away, never get 'better', and will almost certainly get worse.  Although a second podiatrist had been able to replace my orthotics with ones that would not exacerbate the problem, the neuroma was still there.  It was time for surgery, which involves removing the neuroma, and the section of nerve surrounding it.

I should have had the surgery last winter, when we were still in Louisville.  The gray, cloudy/snowy/rainy days of January and February could have been spent snuggled on the couch, fireplace roaring, while I watched movies on Netflix or did research for our next vacation.  Unfortunately, and for reasons I still don't remember, I did not have surgery last winter.  I knew it had to be done sooner rather than later, and I also never there would never be a 'right' time, so I had the surgery last Tuesday.

We haven't been in the house a month yet, the Florida room is still a bare shell, there are still many things packed away in boxes, and I'm about to lose my mind, sitting here on the couch, a virtual prisoner in my own home.  Except it doesn't even feel like home yet!  I am, however, determined to stay off my feet for as long as possible.  To keep my foot elevated about my heart, and to keep an ice pack behind my knee.  One of the worst things about getting older is that things take f.o.r.e.v.e.r to heal!  I do not want to hinder my recovery in any way, so I've been camped out here on the sofa, watching "House of Cards" on Netflix, renting moving from Redbox, and fast-forwarding through all the commercials.

The doctor said I must have a high tolerance for pain, but that is NOT true!  I am an absolute baby about pain, which is why I began taking my prescribed pain meds not long after I got home from the surgery center on Tuesday afternoon.  I took one pill (rather than two) every four hours that first day, and never felt any pain.  I sat a pill next to the bed in case I woke up in pain in the middle of the night, but that never happened.  I took the pill first thing on Wednesday morning, thinking that the pain would kick in now that the anesthesia had completely worn off.  But the pain never came.  I didn't take a pain pill after Wednesday morning.

Because the doctor told me my neuroma practically jumped out of my foot, I thought the lack of probing might be the reason for my lack of pain, but the doctor doesn't seem to think so, noting that my skin, muscle and nerves were still cut, which should equate to pain, especially for me.  Weird, huh?  Unfortunately all this sitting has made my backside sore, and I guess because I have my foot propped up, my lower back is killing me!  I resumed taking my pain medication this morning, and I'm trying a different position on the couch.  I figure the sore bottom is inevitable, but if I heal my foot only to have screwed up my back I'll be very, very unhappy.

I see the doctor next Tuesday, but the stitches don't come out until the 19th - by which time I expect to be feeling pain from the pull of the stitches if nothing else.  The pain in my backside and in my lower back are only enhanced by the pain of only being able to look at the disarray of my new home without being able to do anything about it!  This is an exercise in patience, which for me is a real pain in the....foot!