Take care of your feet!

sore feetBarely a month goes by that I don’t hear of someone suffering with pain from aching feet, or in some cases they have stopped playing altogether due to foot pain. Likely, they are suffering from plantar fasciitis. I’m not a doctor, but I suffered from plantar fasciitis for many, many years…..over twenty, so I know what it feels like.

Plantar fasciitis occurs as a result of injury or over straining of the plantar fascia, a strong band of tissue that extends along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the middle foot bones, supporting the arch. In the most severe cases, heel spurs can occur, creating an even more painful situation.

I began seeking treatment after a year or more of hobbling my first ten to twenty steps from bed every morning in great pain. Anytime I stood after sitting for more than a few minutes, my first few steps were agonizing. Orthotics were prescribed and custom made (at great expense, even with insurance) which then created a problem fitting into shoes. Open heeled sandals or flip flops were a thing of the past. It got so bad that I had to get cortisone shots into the front edge of my heels. The pain would settle down for a while but eventually returned, which required new custom orthotics and more shots.

Each time, I was advised to discontinue activity and allow my feet to heal. While that sounds like good advice in theory, I’m sure many will agree that when you love sport, stopping to rest for more than a few days is not an option……or one at least a hard one to stick with.

Years went by and PF pain became a part of life that I adjusted to and endured. Then along came pickleball, and the pain intensified once again.  Pickleball is very demanding on your feet, especially if you play several days a week, or  on outdoor asphalt surfaces.

Soon, I was back to the podiatrist. New orthotics, advice to stop playing and to roll my arch on a bottle of frozen water were prescribed. I followed two out of the three bits of advice, but I just couldn’t give up playing, and continued to suffer.

Gradually I noticed the pain spreading to the side of my foot, just under the inside ankle bone. The doctor explained that the foot is wrapped with fascia, and that my ailment had now expanded and was affecting more than the plantar fascia. Rolling my arch on a frozen water bottle would not touch this part of my foot. His advice was to soak my foot twice a day for twenty minutes in a bucket of cold tap water. No ice needed, tap water was cold enough and it would envelop my entire foot.

That’s the end of my story! I soaked my foot as advised, and unbelievably within two weeks I noticed a significant difference. In a month I had no pain at all!

Now, two years later, after being on my feet for long periods such as in a tournament or after walking a golf course, I recognize the feeling of strain.  I go home and soak in a bucket of cold tap water. Usually, I only have to do it once to settle down the inflammation. I’m now wearing inexpensive shoe arch inserts for support, not custom orthotics, and flip flops are my usual footwear in the summer, when I’m not in pickleball or golf shoes.

It’s so simple.  Give it a try it if you are suffering with foot pain.

During the US Open Pickleball Championships in April of this year, my mixed doubles partner tried it and felt relief in just a few days. Last week, while playing at the South London Area Pickleball Club (SLAP) in England, I noticed my friend Mike Daly hobbling while we were in a game. He said he had been suffering with PF for a while. I shared the advice that worked for me. He texted me last week with this message,

“Dear Dr Betsy, I’ve been following your advice and soaking my feet in a bowl of cold water twice a day. It is really working and last night after doing it for five days I felt a real change and this morning I had hardly any pain at all.”

He went on to say that he’s also found he really enjoys the soak too! I’m so happy to have been able to share this simple remedy, Mike! I know how wonderful that feeling of relief is!

So if you are suffering with sore, achy feet give this a try. It’s easy, it’s free and after the initial shock of the cold water, it really does feel good!

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2 thoughts on “Take care of your feet!

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