Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"First Day Without Pain in 10 Years"

Suzy A posted the following at Barefoot Ted's Google group:

"Today I got out of bed and took a step without pain for the first time in at least 10 years.

"I walked from my car to my desk at work without having to try to hide a slight limp. After work, I drove home pain-free. And now I've walked from the car without pain.

"It was 24 hours without pain in my heel (PF) or Achilles, and there is an indescribable abundance of pure joy within me. All because of this group, and others out there who have started to go barefoot and spread the message.

"I have been about as sedentary as they come for a while. I'm now over 200 lbs. and have not been able to walk to my car without pain in as long as I can remember. There were days I crawled to the bathroom to take a shower in the morning, and times when the pain was so intense and unbearable that I thought my Achilles would snap. At one point I used crutches.

"Years ago I had done some triathlons with aspirations of working up to longer distances, and always was eventually in such severe pain I had to stop for fear of serious injury. And the pain just never went away.

"I've gone from doctor to doctor to try to deal with the pain. Rest, they said, and stretch. I did. Wear orthotics. I did. No, these orthotics are all wrong. Use these. Motion control shoes, heel lift, physical therapy (3x), I did. Compression socks, night splints, night socks. Stretching devices, golf balls, Trigger Point therapy, massage, myofacial release. Tape. Padded socks. "The stick." Wear shoes 24 hours a day. Never go barefoot. I even wore flip flops in the shower in my own house.

"More support, they said. More stretching, more rest. Whatever they wanted me to do, I did without question. Until I gave up.

"I first noticed all these might be BS when I went to a friend's house, and she asked me to leave my shoes at the door. She didn't know about my pain, and I didn't want to be rude, so I thought I'd try it. I'd leave when it hurt. I braced for the worst pain imaginable, and it never came.

"I learned about the barefoot and minimalist movement from a paleo podcast, and I instantly started reading more and more and tore through "Born to Run" in 3 days. It made so much sense. About 3 weeks ago or so I wore sneakers for the last time, was in agony by the end
of the day, and started transitioning. I've been taking it exceedingly slow. A few days ago, I walked around the block (part barefoot, part in flip flops) without pain for the first time in at least a year. Seeing the smile on my face, you'd think I won the lottery.

"Along the way, and through this group and other resources, I've learned a major cause of pain in my case is having anything against the back of my heel. I have spurs under the calcaneus and also in the back. Even a pair of Vivo Barefoot Evo's currently irritate it.

"All this time, the answer was so simple. I didn't have to suffer. I should not have had to give up bicycling and running because of Achilles pain. If you want to geek out about it, it reminds me of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode where the Enterprise becomes stuck in some sort of alien being/cloud-like thing. And the captain keeps calling for more power, and that gets them more stuck. Finally he cuts the power, and the ship goes free.

"The answer hasn't been more support; it's been no support.

"I'm going to keep taking things very slow. I'm in no position to start running tomorrow or anything. But the view of myself has gone from someone crippled by pain and incapable of even walking to someone capable of running one day.

"So I thank everyone here for being the trailblazers you are and having the courage to speak up about it or go barefoot or in VFFs when others made fun of you. I can't tell you what it's meant to me in my life, and how it is going to radically transform my life. I know this is going to be a great resource as I make this journey, but I have hope again. Thank you. Rock on.