The other day I got two big boxes delivered. The contents Required Some Assembly, and inside one of the boxes was the instruction to open that box first. That is because it was the box with the instructions (including Open This Box First) and the square screwdriver. Naturally, the other box was the one I opened first, just by chance, the one with no instructions and no square screwdriver, and went to the hardware store to buy the screwdriver, and now I have two square screwdrivers.
But I did succeed with the assembly, and was feeling mighty, so I decided to tackle a new project. I am going to fix my feet. I have all the parts and all I need to do is get them hooked up right.
My feet aren’t much trouble. They’re kind of little, and don’t prevent me from tipping over, but nothing hurts. I’m super aware of my feet because I know how important they are for everything else. A long time ago I had all kinds of pain; I’d gotten used to it. My back sometimes went out, my knees creaked, and my neck shot out thunderbolts of neuralgia from a childhood injury on my good days, and locked up entirely on the bad. My chiropractor told me (before climbing into her Bentley) I was in for a lifetime of Advil, ice, and adjustments. I put it all to Old Age: after all I was nearly forty.
But when my perfectly fine shoulder went out for no reason, I felt betrayed. That’s when an old gentleman I knew told me he had cancelled his hip replacement surgery after using the exercises in Pete Egoscue’s Pain Free book for one week, and I might want to give it a shot. I’d been doing therapy for a half a year by then to no avail. But after ten days of these simple exercises my shoulder was fine again. And my back wasn’t stiff anymore either. I was stunned. It took me a full month of doing the neck exercises to eliminate thirty years of neck pain, but then I was pain-free, smelled nice, didn’t rattle much, and was totally obnoxious at parties.
Not in the old way. I became an authentic flaming evangelist. Because apparently not everyone has heard the Good News. That little light of mine? I was going to let it shine like the Republican neighbor’s security light through your bedroom window. Everywhere I looked I saw people with duck feet and bow legs and knock knees and a life of misery just around the corner, but I knew how to fix them. I chased people down trying to save them. Total strangers, even. They just needed to get The Book. I was indistinguishable from a Jehovah’s Witness.
So obnoxious was I, in fact, that dozens of friends have told me, enunciating, they Got The Book. They didn’t open it, or use it, but they had it, and hoped that was enough to make me go away.
I know the feet are really important. In fact, if you want to do Egoscue’s carpal-tunnel hand exercises, you’re going to end up on the floor with one foot up on a stool. It seems like cleaning the gutters by clearing out the trap under your kitchen sink. But if your feet are the slightest bit askew, it throws off your whole skeleton. You can get away with it for quite a few years but eventually you’re going down. You’ll be approaching forty thinking you’re supposed to have pain by now.
Anyway, my foot strike is better than most, except my right one is a little squashy, but since I had no pain I never really addressed it. Then the other day I looked and saw a bump near my big toe. Was that there before? I looked it up online. It’s a gol-durn baby bunion. A bunion. Some old-lady bullshit. Land sakes. Next thing my ankles are going to puddle over my black orthopedic shoes and I’ll be wearing my nylons rolled down. I didn’t even know what a bunion was. Evidently I can expect the piggy that went to market to start barging in on the one that stayed home. Oh, no, you don’t. I can fix you.
So I’m finally doing my Egoscue Foot Exercises. It’s supposed to take three weeks. I expect my bump to disappear even though it feels bony. I really do. One day I’m going to look down and that sucker will have been raptured.
I may get bruises from a stiff breeze now and I can’t sleep on my back in case my own neck pleats up and strangles me in my sleep, but my feet are not about to take me down. I’ve got beer for that.
Amen! I'm one of the believers! Not only did I buy the book AND read it, but I do the exercises when I experience pain of any sort, whether it's back, neck, or leg. Now I'm trying to convert Paul. He's a bartender and on his feet a lot, but he tends to stand with most of his weight on one leg, which of course throws his entire body off. He complains sometimes about his hip hurting, and I nag… I mean… I TELL him to do the exercises for that. He's read some of the book, and says it makes sense, but does he do them? Says he doesn't have time. Dude, if you have time to surf the internet, you have time to do these exercises. *rolls eyes*
It took me a long time to realize I wasn't likely to cure everyone, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS WITHIN MY POWER.
Murr, I envy your skinny feet and ankles; my left foot (and ankle) are currently 1 1/2 times the size of the right, from something called "edema" which I had no idea even existed until September 7, 2021! Anyway, I can see you regard this book as something holy as it's surrounded by Bibles! I'll go check it out, thank you–meanwhile, you should paste this post as one of the book's reviews on Amazon. :^)
I almost despaired when I saw that Murr had multiple Bibles. Then I saw that they were perched between Aesop's Fables and Alice in Wonderland. Which is where they should be. The Bible is just a less awesome version of The Lord of the Rings.
Mimi I noticed that too! Sometimes Murr's photos require a second (or third or fourth even) glance :^)
I don't think you're just supposed to get edema out of nowhere for no reason. So you have had it checked out, right dude?
Those are all family bibles with inscriptions and such. Not including mine, which is upstairs in my writing room. The KJB is one of my literary influences, along with Mark Twain, Walt Kelly, and Annie Lamott.
You're very literary! Yes I did have my leg checked out, it's a side effect from one of the hypertension meds I take daily. If it doesn't resolve after 2 months, then… back to the drawing board? I don't know, that's just what my doctor said. :^
Seems weird if it's just one leg though. Hmm. I think I'd hound that doc a bit more.
YAY for Walt Kelly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ("That's a pie what I kin fry quick as you can bake an eye, cherry boy!)
I have developed a small bunion and arthritis in my feet. The bunion kinda pisses me off because I almost never wore heels. I thought I'd be safe.
Saint Egoscue says he's never seen arthritis in a healthy joint. So yes, his exercises can help that too.
Snap on the oedema. To the extent that shoes and straight leg trousers are an issue. Doctor the first snapped heart failure. A whole range of tests proved him wrong so he lost interest. My new doctor is still investigating. Big sigh.
"…he lost interest." Oh dear. Keep pushing. We care.
" … my feet are not about to take me down. I've got beer for that."
To beer I can add whiskey, wine, and bad eyes.
Keeponkeepingon. Stay safe/well.
I never remember to blame my bad eyes. The main problem there–although I don't see well–is I'm staring at the sky looking at birds, and objects keep getting in the way.
Wow, this post is certainly timely. I have bunions on BOTH feet, have always had flat feet (my arches are so flat they are "pronated") and now I have excruciating pain in my left heel from plantar fasciitis. I will get The Book! I was just thinking I had no choice but surgery at this point if I didn't want to enter old age with a walker. But maybe The Book will set me free!
There's not a lot of time investment. You should be able to feel/see improvement very quickly. Ten bucks and three weeks is worth it, right?
P.S. Not sure it can fix a bunion though. My podiatrist I went to years ago told me they're hereditary. My mom had them too. Why couldn't I have taken after my dad, who didn't?
I believe they are not hereditary. But they are common. For the record, my bump has not gone away, but as you can see my feet are pretty straight anyway, and it was the OTHER foot that was starting to hurt–and now it doesn't. I don't even know if that bump IS a bunion but in any case that foot is not bothering me.
No shit?? Well, I just might have to give it a try. Since my current set of knees are not original and I've gained about 20 pounds (damned virus!) I do get a tweak and a twinge here and there. I might just give your recommendation a once over. Seems no worse than chicken soup. I mean what can it hurt, right?
You might just save yourself a second surgery, because if you haven't straightened out your skeleton from the bottom up you'll just get the same problems.
Bunions ARE hereditary, and I have had both of mine fixed. Yay. No more pain. Then a bicycle fell on my foot while I was not even riding it — the BEST foot and broke the big toe which thence went wonky. It is now about 1/2" shorter than it was and points inward. Crap. I guess that pales in comparison to the other foot which has had 7 surgeries, and my 3 brain surgeries, including a new shunt to get rid of the accumulating cerebral spinal fluid, and a back surgery, not to mention a now-cleared bladder cancer. Yay. I live on!!! So what's a little foot problem?
Holy crap! Well I think Pete would say they're not hereditary but possibly you can inherit a basic foot shape that predisposes you to an incorrect foot strike that leads to bunions, and that is correctable. And, holy crap!
Thanks, Murr. Will try these Egoscue Foot Exercises immediately. Any relief urgently needed.
Let us know. I recommend buying the book (it's cheap) so you can refer to it easily evermore. (Not that I can–I keep giving it away.) Go ahead and get a used one for four bucks.
I bought that book once when you recommended it for something else. Back pain? Anyway I no longer have it since the exercises hurt me more than the original pain and I went back to resting with hot water bottles. Which doesn't mean the book is bad, just isn't for me. But I could use a few foot exercises, perhaps you could describe a couple?
My upstairs neighbour has the most horrific feet, giant bunions, so badly inflamed they were glowing red when she showed them to me and her big toes are bent almost horizontally across the other toes, from decades of wearing high heeled pointy toed shoes.
You could start by lying on your back with one leg out straight and the other bent and pulled up to your chest (use your hands). Then rotate the lifted foot clockwise 30x and counterclockwise 30x and repeat on other foot. Then point toe away from you and back toward you 20x both feet. Then bend both legs and stick one out straight at a 45 degree angle, strap a belt around the ball of your foot, and pull it toward you for one minute. Then circle the arch of your foot with the belt, keep your leg straight, and pull it vertical for one minute. There are two exercises after that.
I already do the rotations, but I will buy a belt and try that one too. Mostly my feet are okay, straight, just a bit flat, like my mother's were. No pain though.
I got personalized training on the Egoscue method. He says our issues, and the corrections thereof, are "gravity and physics". I still had to have my hip replace this summer, but I think The Book is a great resource.
Aww. You didn't get to it in time! My old gentleman friend had to have his hip surgery too but it was put off for several years and he continued to do the exercises.
Oh darling, I went straight into Western medicine and found answers there. I’ve now had 2 bunion surgeries on the same big toe, a hammertoe surgery, same foot, second digit. And last, but certainly not least,,a bone removal from my bone removal from my little toe, again, same foot. It was crowding the 4th toe and had to be eradicated.. So, 4 surgeries on my right foot. All tied to spending too much time on my feet in high heels. Wish I had those years back. I was admonished by my boss for taking them off during a trade show where I could no longer feel my feet. Good luck, Murr and feel free to reach out. I get it.
That postal career saved me from all of this!
I used to get wicked foot cramps, probably from wearing high heels at my office job for 20-plus years. My treatment: take an aspirin, then sit on the edge of the bathtub and run hot, hot water over my feet until they're par-boiled. It worked to relax the cramps and let me sleep.
The wine helps too.
Since my gastric reflux medication has a known side-effect of weakening bones, I started taking calcium citrate in the hope it would offset that, though nobody seems to know if it will or not. Guesswork. Soon after I started taking calcium I started getting wicked leg cramps in the middle of the night, but taking about the same amount of magnesium citrate every day prevents them.
Magnesium is a known muscle relaxant.
I haven't had any reflux to treat, but I'm wary of those medications.
You should be. They are not without side-effects. As always, it's a matter of weighing the benefits vs. the cost.
I'm fortunate in having few digestive troubles but I'd sure start tinkering with my diet before taking those drugs. But as you say, I haven't been tested yet.
Tinkered. Didn't help. Raised the head of the bed. Couldn't sleep.
On your recommendation, I had bought THE BOOK years ago. Must admit though I started doing the exercises, I slacked off so never found out if they'd help. And over the years and several house moves, I forgot all about it and after reading this post, wondered if I still have the book. Thanks for the reminder…I just re-found it (amazingly, in the bookcase!) and this time, I will actually follow through, I promise. Will report back…
"amazingly, in the bookcase"…last place I'd look!
I got Egoscue's book years ago. When I had a spell of back pains, I handed the book and a pen to a physical therapist and asked her to cross out the exercises I should not be doing. It turned out there were quite a few. I still do the ones (some of them, anyway) that she did not cross out, and they still help.
But I still MUST use hard orthotics to keep plantar fasciitis from flaring up. Losing 60 pounds might help, but I haven't been able to do that.
Note on edema from nowhere: A friend who is a retired RN just happened to mention that the blood pressure medicine Amlodipine causes edema. I got my doctor to change my bp meds, and lo! The edema disappeared.
Yeah, Paul was prescribed that for his blood pressure and started swelling (and NOT in places he'd WANT to swell.) So he's on another blood pressure medicine now. Personally, I deal with all this shit by staying away from doctors. I think most of this is iatrogenic anyway.
I take Amlodipine and have no edema at all. Plantar fasciitis is often a result of too tight achilles tendons, try some stretching exercises and see if they help. Might take a while to see results. One good stretch is to hold a support of some kind, then stand on the edge of a step or stair on the balls of your feet and let the heels drop down, you should feel that stretch in the back of your calves to your ankles.
Mimi, I'd stay away from doctors if I could, but then the afib would kill me sooner than I'd hoped to die. Same for the high BP. Same for the asthma. And the rosacea would have me looking like a smallpox survivor. And the gastric reflux would progress to Barrett's and eventually cancer. So…congrats on winning the DNA roulette, but don't confuse it with wisdom and virtue.
And there's a good chance the GI polyps would progress to cancer and kill me as it did my father when he was just 5 years older than I am now.
Jeremy, I think I'd be tempted to go to bed and not get up unless I had to!
That is indeed a frequent temptation, but at my age the aches get worse the longer I lie in bed.