My feet have literally stopped me in my tracks for 12 years.
For many of those years I avoided being on my feet as much as possible, avoiding family walks, shopping, city breaks, dancing, and wearing nice shoes.
I elevated my feet as much as possible, knelt on a chair at choir (sitting felt too weird, somehow – especially as I was at least 20 years younger than most!) and mostly tried not to walk as much as possible.
A daytrip to Oxford resulted in a 3 month pain flare, during which I mostly tried not to stand up.
Get this, though there is nothing wrong with my feet.
No inflammation, no arthritis, no bone spurs or growths.
I’ve had nerve conduction tests, ultrasound scans, a strange vibration plate from an orthopaedic surgeon.
The diagnosis is plantar fasciitis, but it isn’t that. PF very rarely occurs at the same time in both feet, and it usually resolves after 6 weeks.
This has been more than a decade.
I have tried SO many therapies, conventional and alternative. Nothing really worked.
Until I found the rubber band technique.
It changed everything.
Wearing a rubber band wound my wrist, and pinging it onto the delicate skin on the inside of my wrist every time I started to think about my feet and how they hurt appeared to switch the pain off almost completely.
I went to London and walked around all day recently. I was fine. I had to work hard on my mental state and my thoughts, but I was fine. No flare.
Was I imagining it? No.
Am I saying the pain was psychosomatic? No.
Did it get worse when I worried about it? Yes.
Was it worse when stress levels were high? Definitely.
Did it get worse when I was focussing on the pain? Oh yeah.
I wore that rubber band for a few months, on and off. Slept in it, even – until I woke my husband up by accidentally trapping some of his chest hair in it and ripping it out when I moved. Oops.
I don’t need that rubber band all the time anymore.
I do need to look after myself, and walk the fine line between paying too much attention to my feet and not listening to them at all.
I haven’t given up hope that I’ll be able to wear high heels to parties, or a pair of nice knee-high boots one day soon.
The things that have helped are all what I call ‘coping strategies’. Things that need to be done. Things that simply make me feel better when they’re done daily, cumulatively.
In this case, it was something I needed to learn to manage so I could live my life. I let it get in the way for so long, because I thought my feet were beyond help.
When you’re living with a chronic condition, you need to know how to manage it so you can live your life. I am an expert at this. I lived with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ ME for 6 years in my 20s.
Now it’s my feet.
I firmly believe having had CFS/ME is one of the reasons I’m so good at my job, and have such a good success rate.
I get it: I know how it feels to live with a chronic, invisible condition.
Sometimes I wonder if that strong belief is getting in the way of my healing my foot pain, because being good at my job is so important to me. In psychology, that’s called secondary gain – where you benefit at some level from being ill.
There are so many facets to health. So often the mental/ emotional side gets ignored or dismissed.
So what is my message?
There is always something that can be done to improve the way you feel.
It might not be the most obvious thing, or something you’ve tried before.
Just because you haven’t tried it doesn’t mean it won’t work.
Just because you’ve been to your doctor and they can’t help doesn’t there is nothing that can be done. GPs rarely take emotions and mental state into account.
Most people I work with are in just that situation, and most get a real, tangible, even life-changing result.
Even for conditions with no name or diagnosis.
There are many ways to skin a cat; many prescriptions you may get from a Naturopath.
Some more familiar, like nutrition.
Some less familiar, like herbal medicine or food supplements.
Some completely unknown, like the rubber band technique.
Other naturopathic techniques that work include asking people to reduce things in their life that irritate them (like watching the news), to practise worrying for 10 minutes every day and train their brain to stop worrying outside of this time, to switch on their relaxation response.
My naturopathic toolbox is big, and there is something in there that will work for you.
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