My Left Foot

January 5, 2012

When the stabbing, burning pains in my left foot began to wake me up at night back in October, I consulted my chiropractor, Dr. Mike, who sent me for an MRI and X-rays.  The reports showed what I think are way too many "degenerative changes", many if not all of which I attribute to two bunion surgeries on that foot.  After several weeks of ultrasound therapy and strengthening exercises, we decided to call in my podiatrist, aka Painless Parker.  He did the surgery on my right foot, which is giving me far fewer problems, so I trust his input.  He felt the main issue right now is tendinitis and capsulitis on the inside of my foot: the tendons from the ankle down to the big toe joint are inflamed.  He recommended a course of laser treatments, 6 in all.  After 3 sessions, I do feel some real improvement and am cautiously optimistic that I'm on my way to a happier foot.

I share this to remind my fellow gardeners how important it is to look after our feet.  They say an army marches on its feet: well, gardeners garden on their feet, more often than not.  Whether we're traipsing from back to front and back again multiple times a day, or pushing a shovel into the earth, our feet are under a lot of pressure.   The most important thing I've learned from this injury/experience is to choose footwear that will support and protect my feet.  

For more than a few years now, I've worn garden clogs of one sort or another.  They're comfortable and they're easy to slip on and off.  Supportive and protective, they are not, as I've learned in the past few months.  Dr. Mike told me that the clogs allowed my foot too much freedom of movement, especially considering the uneven terrain I traverse throughout the course of a gardening day.  Not only did he give the thumbs down on backless shoes, he recommended that I look for shoes with a sturdier sole that are designed to keep the foot stable, such as hiking shoes/boots.  I found a pair of lightweight Merrell hiking shoes that met with his approval and I've been wearing them ever since.   I can feel the difference in support and stability and I'm a little ticked at myself for my cavalier attitude towards garden footwear  for too many years.   I hope my fellow gardeners will hear me now and believe me sooner rather than later (sorry, Hans & Frans): let my newfound belief in sturdy footwear serve as a good example and my prior dismissiveness as a horrible warning!


This is an important message. I can only second it and hope your readers heed it. If we take care of our feet, they can do a much better job of supporting us in the garden and everywhere else.