May 27, 2006

Revenge of the Trail

The past two weeks in Greece we'd been doing a lot of strenuous walking, including a 10-mile hike over a rough, stony trail in Samaria Gorge, and I felt in great shape. I've always loved to walk, and I made a resolution to keep in walking trim when I returned home; so yesterday I took a walk on Austin's Hike and Bike Trail -- maybe 4 miles. I reached what I'd decided would be my halfway point, turned -- and my right heel went limp, and for the rest of the hike I limped with an insistent dull pain in my heel, barely able to continue by the end. Making it worse, I got confused by a construction detour, and by my pain, and went at least an extra half-mile, probably more, before I realized what I was doing.

It was an attack of plantar fasciitis, a condition I've had twinges of in the past, but never anything like this. Sometimes I wake in the morning with an ache in my heel, but gettiing up and walking around makes it better, while lying in bed makes it worse. Yesterday's attack was of a different order. At home, I could barely take a step; I hobbbled in pain, gripping furniture for support. This morning it's a bit better -- I've been taking ibuprofen and stretching my foot and calf muscles -- but I still can't walk freely or put my weight on the sole.

Among the risk factors for plantar fasciitis that apply to me are increasing age (does that apply to you?), walking for exercise, and suddenly increasing one's level of activity. Among the risk factors that don't is obesity.

Although it's frusrating to have this happen, I'm grateful it didn't happen while we were hiking Samaria Gorge, where there is no way out except by walking to the end -- rescue vehicles can't get in, and only in life-threatening cases will park workers carry you out on a stretcher, since they risk their own health in doing so.

Anyway, today I'm going to take it easy and let Susan continue to teach me to accept help kindly offered. Which is another thing I have trouble doing,