Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Right Foot

I've managed to avoid any sort of long term injuries in my life, beyond the occasional scar. The closest I've come was a scooter wreck in college which resulted in my sliding down asphalt on my bare hands for several feet. The way I landed in the fall did some nerve damage that largely curtailed my ability to put any weight on the side of my right knee or hold a tray in my job as a Pizza Hut waiter, for the better part of three months. All that stuff eventually healed, though. And I'm sure what ails me now will eventually heal as well, but even with that knowledge I'm mystified as to why my right foot has been giving me pain and grief for the past two months.

It started innocently enough. Just before my last doctor's appointment, I noticed that my right foot had a bit of an ache to it at the end of the day. It didn't hurt to walk on it at all. In fact, just putting weight on it and walking, even up and down my hilly neighborhood, gave me no indication of pain at all. Pressure on the bottom and top of my foot gave me no discomfort, but any pressure on the sides of my foot, near the toes, caused pain to go shooting through it. It was only a little at first, but it began to increase as the days went by. I couldn't remember hurting my foot, but decided it was likely to go away on its own. It didn't, though. I wondered if perhaps my choice of Skechers Shape Ups footware might have something to do with it. After all, I'd been known to wear them on my walks up and down the local hills and it seemed logical that the side to side rotation those shoes allow might not be great combined with hills. Why this would affect my foot and not my ankle I wasn't sure, but it was a theory. The other thing that popped into mind was that it might have something to do with my cholesterol medicine, Crestor. During my last doctor's visit, Dr. Ralph had asked if I'd experienced any muscle pain. I'd not realized this was sometimes a side effect of Crestor, but he said it could be. The pain in my foot didn't seem to be muscular, but what did I really know?

Of course, within a day of this possibility floating to mind, I caught one of those ambulance chasing attorney ads on cable for a guy trying to drum up clients for a class action suit against Crestor. According to the commercial, if I've experienced muscle deterioration, tissue necrosis, liver damage, seizures or sudden death, I could have grounds for a lawsuit. Now, I don't think I have any of those symptoms, and such ads are engines of instant fury in my house. However, hearing that such things are even remotely possible does cause one to look at one's foot and wonder. The wife's theory was that it could be a stress fracture.

"How do you fix that?" I asked.

"You stay off it," she said.

Days passed and the foot not only didn't get any better, but the pain got a bit worse. Still no problem with walking, but pressure put on the sides of the foot shot sharper pain through the whole foot. My wife had to be extra careful when examining it that she didn't press too hard or I'd scream like a girl. And lord help the dog that jumped into bed with us in the middle of the night only to land on the side of my foot.

Last week, I put in an appointment with Dr. Ralph so we could get to the bottom of this. The pain remained in the days before the appointment, too. It even worsened on Monday afternoon, after the wife and I did a bunch of yard work. The next morning, I expected it would be in full flare up for my appointment, but it wasn't. My foot felt almost completely fine, to the point that I could squeeze the sides of it with no pain at all. It felt at about 90 percent of normal. Was this all in my head somehow? Was the nearness of the appointment a trigger for a swift reduction in pyschosomatic pain? The wife suggested that, no, it was probably just an effect of the Alieve I'd taken before bed. But my foot felt better throughout the examination and subsequent travels around the hospital.

Dr. Ralph ordered x-rays, which we had taken, and an MRI scheduled for the weekend, which we would have to see if insurance would approve. It seemed insane to me, though, that we might have to go through the expense of an MRI, even one paid for by insurance, if my damn foot wasn't sure if it was injured or not. The pain did return by the afternoon, but it seemed pretty wussy to me to be complaining about a pain that didn't have any affect on me in the majority of situations. Then I'd step slightly wrong, or bump the side of my foot into something and the pain would flare up anew. Seemed like something that needed at least a diagnosis.

As of today, we learned that insurance has not approved my MRI. Their point is that MRIs are expensive and they'd only be willing to pay for one if I first did 4 to 6 weeks of physical therapy to see if that made the pain go away first. My point, and more importantly my physician wife's point, is that physical therapy is great stuff provided you know what the injury is that you're using it to treat. Insurance said they don't care. And I can sort of see their point. I mean, I'm able to walk with no pain at all for 95 percent of the time, so coughing up a couple of grand for fancy testing doesn't make as much sense for my case as it would for, say, someone who can't walk at all. And, really, I could live with my current level of pain for an extended period if I had to. I feel kind of wussy to be whining about it at all. One of my relatives has spent much of the past thirty years practically bedridden from back pain. I can walk a flight of stairs or even run, provided the surface was pretty level.

And because my pain is not so great, I doubt I'll be harmed by physical therapy at all, and could likely benefit from it. I'm game for trying it out either way. We've scheduled the first session for next week.


chaniarts said...

you do know there is a raft of lawsuits against sketchers shoes because of hip injuries?

you might call them and complain. my wife had foot problems with her sketchers and they sent her new non-sketchers shoes for free and were VERY helpful and solicitous.

Juice S. Aaron said...

I would not doubt that the shoes were a factor. Then again, I've not worn them in weeks and the foot feels about the same. Maybe it just won't heal up until I get off of it more often.

The ironic thing is that the Shape ups were the most comfortable pair of Skechers I've ever worn. While I love the way their shoes tend to look, I've not found them to be at all comfortable in extended wear.