Exercise and taking care of my feet

There was some spillover from New Year into today as I could not get to sleep early last night and did not wake up in time for my yoga class. Bummer! So I punished myself by going to the gym and putting in 30 minutes on the stationary bike and 40 minutes on the treadmill, alternating between a brisk walk and jogging. I tried out my new Asics GT-2150 that I had my daughter give me for Christmas. I had been using Brooks Beasts, which are the running shoe with maximum support against pronation, for my running for the past two years, but I wanted to get something that did not get in the way of running. The new shoes are much lighter and fit my feet like gloves so I really enjoy using them. I will have to see how my feet and legs hold up under the renewed challenge of light running. I am not expecting to get back to what I was doing before my knee injury and surgery, but I want the option of jogging and running to supplement my yoga. It will also allow me to back off a bit and take my yoga with more ease and stamina.

On my trip to Miami in late November, a heel spur on my left foot became irritated and inflamed. In fact, I first notice the problem when I was doing savasana (in other words, lying flat on my back), and my legs rolled out and put pressure on my heels. I noticed a shot of pain on the heal and had to avoid putting weight on that spot. It did not bother me after class. But when I went to the airport for my flight to Miami, I wore my Brooks Beasts and those shoes irritated the heel spur even more. By the time I got into the hotel, I was limping from the constant pain. I started taking non-prescription anti-inflammatory drugs and putting ice on the heel and sole when I could. The other lucky break was that for the rest of the week I wore dress shoes that did not allow my heel to move around, and that allowed the inflammation to decline gradually. By the end of the week I no longer had to limp. When I got back to Washington, I decided to see a podiatrist since I could see the little knot on my heel and knew that it could be inflamed again. But the first available appointment was not until December 17 so by the time I got to see him, the worst symptoms had disappeared.

Since I knew that I wanted to get back to running, I asked the podiatrist multiple questions about my feet. First, the heel spur (a calcium deposit at the end of my plantar factia) is not something that will prevent me from running if I keep it from getting inflamed again. Second, I should not fear running because of my knee surgery. Third, my arches had not fallen as badly I thought. Getting fitted with a new pair of running shoes would get ahead of those three points, and he suggested JnR Sports in Rockville. I also learned that I was developing peripheral neuropathy in the sole of my feet. I had noticed some numbness as well as tingling sensations and pin pricks in my feet. This condition can be due to multiple causes — I can immediately rule out some of the more obvious ones, such as diabetes and side effects from certain drugs. The doctor wanted to see how I respond to increased exercise so I’ll be seeing him again this month.

At JnR Sports, I tried on Brook, Saucony and Asics shoes in multiple sizes and support levels, narrowing my choice down to the Asics GT2150. I got them in size 11, double E width, which is the first time that I’ve purchased a wider shoe. I got them in black because I am a bit tired of how most athletic shoes are decked out in swooshes, stripes and logos, in multiple colors and reflective surfaces. I also learned a couple of useful tricks to ensure that the shoes held my heels snugly, thus preventing any rubbing of my heel spur.