In my gofundme campaign post update from yesterday, I shared a bit about how crazy life has been with trying to sell our house, get vehicle hand controls, and such. This fall has been rough for me, trying to find balance while trying to master these life transitions, and the exercise routine that my body demands, has too often been put off and neglected.
Exercise can be an addiction if left unchecked, however, with most forms of ataxia being a “use it or loose it” scenario, exercise becomes a necessity. For me, when I don’t exercise regularly, I hurt, and various other bits of my particular blend of ataxia, start pronouncing themselves with more expletives. Over the last couple years, the part of my body that has been targeted in particular, is my feet (sorry for the pictures, they aren’t pretty). As pictured above, hopefully you can see that, while at rest (and walking), my feet tend to point inwards, the high arches pronounce even further, and my poor hammer toes start nailing. And yes, that is Camilla, my blogging buddy bunny, she really doesn’t care about all of this, unless your finger enters into her domain, or you neglect to keep the hay and food topped off, combine those two scenarios only if you want to see blood.
I’m no medical professional, but I think the inward pointing feet situation is in part a by-product of certain muscles and tendons, such as the achilles, tightening, and becoming shorter in length. A couple years ago, this presented with some nasty insertional achilles tendonitis, swelling into a large, painful lump at the rear of my heel. Well, I went through the rounds of x-rays, podiatrists, orthopedic specialists, and physical therapy in trying to “fix” this annoying problem. Through physical therapy, I was introduced to Kinesiology tape, which is amazing, but then I thought I’d go for a pedal with the kinesiology tape covering my swollen heel. Well, as I’ve covered in previous posts, that was apparently a really bad idea that turned into an extended period of wound care, complete with a wound vac.
With some easy pedaling (I’ve found this is the best way for me to pump new circulation through me feet), creative shoe solutions, and discovery of compression socks, I was able to heal up, leaving behind scar tissue. Well, with the craziness of the last couple months, combined with the onset of cold weather (I also won a case of Raynaud’s disease), my feet have been pretty miserable. The lump on my heel started to come back a little, along with the pain, the chilblains started up on my toes again and my feet have been uncomfortable. It seems like the heel also flairs up when I go through periods of extra furniture surfing around the house, putting weight and stress on my tendons rather than using the forearm crutches and wheelchair, I’m just asking for trouble. Pedaling makes this feel better, almost instantly. Winter is coming and ataxia is cold, maybe I should become a snow-bird.
On top of this, I’ve started developing, what we’ve recently learned from a dermatologist biopsy, Granuloma Annulare, on my feet, elbows, finger knuckles, and ears, of all places. Granuloma Annulare is kind of interesting, stated as being fairly
rare (hey, that’s me), and is a benign inflammatory response, or sorts, although there is no real known cause stated. I’ve been able to clear up the ones on my ears with a topical steroid, but am still working on the finger knuckles, and feet, which can be a bit painful with pressure (has been the worst on my ears, fingers, and elbows, the compromised feeling in my feet may be a bit of a good thing for that area).
All this fun is a bit discouraging, but hey, #imnotdeadyet and it’s time to get back in the routine of pedaling. As it’s actually dry outside, I’d like to go for an adventure, but instead, I’ve got another week or so of easy spinning on the SportCrafters rollers in the garage, conservatively working back up to some longer rides again, while taking extra care that my feet and heels don’t take a turn for the worse again..