With the exception of a sprained ankle and a scary car accident, I’ve managed to remain injury free over the last thirty-six years. I have taken my generally pain-free life for granted until recently.
My ability to listen to my body and check-in with my emotions, has increased drastically since I began my Intuitive Eating journey. I am WAY more in tune with my hunger, fullness and satisfaction cues. Cues that were muted and ignored through decades of dieting. I have also learned to check-in with myself when necessary and ask “What am I feeling right now? What do I need?” This is an exercise that I learned through Intuitive Eating, and one that Evelyn Tribole (co-author of Intuitive Eating) really drove home for me.
Despite this relatively newfound connection to my mind and body, I injured myself. An injury that gave me big (obvious in hindsight) warning signs, and was completely preventable! I was doing free workouts on YouTube almost every day for a couple of months. The first series I was doing wasn’t high impact, but it did include repetitive movements that I was doing barefoot. They were fun, I enjoyed and looked forward to them, and I felt great afterwords. I was enjoying it so much, I wasn’t taking a rest day. They weren’t strenuous workouts…I justified to myself. Eventually, this series of workouts were getting too easy and I was getting bored.
I stumbled across an indoor walk/jog series of workouts. I’ve always been very vocal about how much I hate jogging. I don’t know why I clicked on this particular series. I was feeling energetic and wanting a challenge. To my surprise, I loved it. I started doing it multiple times a week. Now, it should be noted here that I’ve been exercising consistently for twenty years, even through pregnancy. I know the importance of taking rest days, cross-training, and progressing slowly with new activities. For some reason, I ignored this knowledge because I was enjoying it so much, and it felt good while I was engaged in the activity.
At some point in these two months, my lower back started hurting. I was sure it was because of our bed. I also started noticing that my calves felt REALLY tight - a sensation I had never felt before. I would think to myself that I really should stretch more often. These two warning signs were ongoing. However, I did not attribute them to the fact that I was jogging in my home barefoot - several times a week - while increasing the duration almost every time.
On February 18th, I did my longest walk/jog workout yet (BAREFOOT). I felt great during and afterwards…until that night. My feet and ankles looked swollen to me. I started googling of course. I was certain that I was dying from organ failure. I fell further into the google hole, and came across several articles about common injuries for beginner joggers. Long story short - I diagnosed myself with Plantar Faciitis.
I read that often times you only get Plantar Fasciitis in one foot, but I had it equally in both feet (I tend to be an overachiever). Being the good student and rule follower that I am, I set out to do all the things that I read can help one heal from Plantar Faciitis. The actions that I took in an attempt to heal include the following (I AM NOT A DOCTOR, nor did I see one about my injury):
The pain in my lower back went away almost immediately after I started doing all of the above (I guess we’re not getting a new bed). I massaged the knots out of my calves myself. It hurt so bad that there may have been a lot of cuss words involved, but it worked. The pain in my calves is gone and the knots haven’t come back. The area between my heals and the balls of my feet however, is stubborn. When I would massage my feet on the golf ball or in the bath, I about wanted to puke from the pain. That pain did not decrease one iota for nine days. For the last five days, the arches of my feet have felt increasingly better. Again, I’m not a doctor nor did I see one - this is just what seems to be working for me.
Yesterday, my daughter and I got pedicures. The foot massage was still tender, but nowhere near where the pain level had been. I have a whole new respect and appreciation for my feet! I am beyond grateful that my body tried to give me warning signs (even though I didn’t listen), and for my body’s ability to heal. I realize how blessed I am that this pain was temporary and preventable. I’ve done a lot of work towards appreciating and respecting my body over the last 18-months. I feel like this experience is a blessing in disguise. It certainly brought my appreciation for my pain-free body to a whole new level. Through my extensive daily self-care routine (in an attempt to feel pain-free ASAP), I was forced to look at/feel/connect with my body in ways that I never have before.
I often ask my kids to be "first-time listeners." Hopefully from ow on, I will be much better at listening to my body the first time it tries to communicate with me.
Tiffany was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with her husband, kids, and chocolate lab. Her favorite vacations so far (beyond camping in the family motorhome), have been to Kauai, Key West, New York City, and Sayulita. She looks forward to expanding that list!
A heartfelt thanks to Julie G Photography.