The Saga of the Foot

“Eric why are you on crutches?!” I’ve gotten used to hearing this. My foot is swollen and painful and difficult to put weight on. But I don’t have time to sit around. Things to do at work, things to do at home. So I use crutches a lot. About a month ago now (May 8th to be exact) we went to visit some family friends, and that is when the trouble started. What great sin did I commit to put myself in this situation? I played soccer.

I’ve had problems with my right foot for pretty much the entirety of my adult life. My Parkinson’s started there. As a result, for as long as I can remember that foot has never worked quite right. Stubbornly refusing to conform to the natural heel-to-toe rhythm of a normal gait, that foot has always been prone to stiffness and pain. The latest episode, initiated by a seemingly harmless game of soccer, is causing me more grief than ever before. I learned from the foot doctor that I have unusually high arches which Parkinson’s aside, contributes to my chronic foot problems. He did admit that my left foot is structurally identical to the right. But since I’ve had nary a problem with that one, Parkinson’s, not surprisingly, appears to be largely to blame for my history of right foot pain and stiffness. The high arches exacerbate the problem. Some Parky’s run marathons to combat their symptoms. That was never an option for me. Shows how different we all are.

There I am with the ball, carelessly enjoying myself…little did I know the price I would pay.

So back to the soccer match. Our friends have two children who are close in age to my boys. They suggested we play soccer in their backyard. I’m normally cautious about running around much for fear of getting hurt. But i felt great, so I decided to join in. I’ve been paying for that decision ever since. The thing is, there was no pop, no tear, nothing like that. Just overuse. Parkinson’s makes my right foot not work quite right. Too much activity causes it to get injured. Trust me, it hurts. Just ask my wife who has watched me hobble or crutch around for almost a month now.

But why is it taking so long to heal? To be honest it’s probably partially my fault. The doctor said I needed to stay off of it. For the first week I was a pretty good boy. But then eager to DO something i went mountain biking. Of course I tweaked it a little on that ride. Now, almost a month after the injury, I’m still struggling with this. I’ve got all kinds of things that I would like to do at home. Raised garden project? On hold. Jump on trampoline with kids? Don’t even think about it. Walk without pain? Not a chance. I’ve even worked from home for the past week in an effort to stay off my feet.

I’m not really writing this to complain. I know there are always those far less fortunate. I will eventually heal (I’m assuming). I’m planning on taking the foot doctors advice and trying orthotics. Maybe that will help, maybe it won’t. But the point that I’m trying to make here is that this is a good example of one of the many ways that Parkinson’s works to reduce your quality of life. The day after the soccer match, I’m pretty sure the other father who participated just went on with his life. Me? That was the beginning of a miserable month (and counting). Thanks to my unwanted and unwelcome guest, Parkinsons.

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