Saturday, 28 September 2019

When your feet fail you...


In June 2018, I started battling with painful feet. I had the exact pain in both feet: my heels, ankles, the arches of my feet, my forefeet, upper feet, shins, and calves. Of course, being who I am – a strong person/fool – I ignored the problem. The condition in both feet worsened and by December, I was seriously suffering. 


To make a very long story short (December 2018 - May 2019), I visited a physiotherapist, podiatrist, dietician, physician, orthopedic surgeon, and neurologist (in that order). Accordingly, I have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis (lower vertebrae has slipped forward onto the bone directly beneath it) and peripheral neuropathy (damaged peripheral nerves). Peripheral neuropathy is linked to diabetes. I am not diabetic.

What are my symptoms?

Heel and Achilles tendon: 
Pain on the bottom of the heel, which is present as dull, sharp, or a burning ache. 
Stabbing/shooting and throbbing pain. 
Tightness in the Achilles tendon. 
Pins and needles. 
Feels heavy. 
More pain and difficulty walking after sitting still for more than five minutes. 

Ankle: 
Painful. 

Arch: 
Pain on the inside of the foot just above the arch. 
Painful foot arch. 
Tingling, prickling sensations. 

Forefoot: 
Toes are numb and painful. 
Tingling, prickling sensations – pins and needles. 
Toes can no longer stretch out straight. 
Sharp, aching, or radiating pain in the ball of the foot. 
Bending foot upwards: painful toes. 
Bending foot downwards: painful upper foot. 
Feels heavy. 

Upper foot: 
Tingling, prickling sensations – pins and needles. 
Throbbing pain. 

Shins splints: 
Throbbing, aching pain, or soreness in the front or inside of the lower leg between the ankle and knee.
Tingling, prickling sensations – pins and needles. 
Pain lasts all day. 
Worst at night when in bed. 

Calves: 
Calf contracts. 
Dull aching pain between the ankle and knee. 
Pain lasts all day. 
Feels heavy. 
Worst at night when in bed. 

This condition has affected my work and lifestyle. I can no longer drive, walk very far, sit or stand for too long or get a good night's sleep. I have been contemplating early retirement, but fear falling into a depression if I have nothing to do all day other than just focus on the pain.


The physician, orthopedic surgeon, and neurologist have concluded that there is no cure. I need to rely on medication to control the pain, which I am not doing because I don't like pills! According to the dietician, I need to adjust my diet and avoid certain foods. 

The only constant in my life (bar the pain) is my infallible belief that there is someone out there who can help me and cure my problem. Yes, I am in denial. I don't want to believe that I have peripheral neuropathy. It must be something else, something that can be cured. 

Living with chronic pain is a unique challenge. It's an invisible disability. Every day, I walk through the pain and pretend to be normal. No one understands what I suffer. 



Pain treatment is ideal but temporary. In my case, since June 2018, I have had no relief. Everything that has been attempted has not worked to relieve me of the pain.

Perhaps someone who has suffered the same will read this and let me know how to go forward. I can't imagine another year, month, day, minute, footstep living like this.

When I look at myself ...

  The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that yo...