Philip Goddard
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My Little Brush with Plantar Fasciitis
-- How I turned a potentially life threatening situation upside down

by Philip Goddard

ABSTRACT

My growing dismay at having managed to pick up the somewhat notorious foot strain injury condition known as plantar fasciitis, which was gradually getting worse despite my cutting down on my hiking, turned into relief and confidence when I came across a small book that presented a proper multi-pronged strategy for healing that condition and prevention of re-injury, and I went ahead with all diligence using the relevant methods.

Imagine, then, my growing dismay all over again when it became apparent that the condition was still gradually getting worse despite or indeed because of all my best efforts (including backing off from particular exercises as appeared to be necessary), and then had that injury condition joined by two further strain injury conditions (posterior tibial tendonitis and peroneal tendonitis), both of which also have a reputation for being at least as difficult to clear!

I explain how, when eventually I appeared to be in an impossible and extremely intimidating situation, having even become afraid of the little bit of walking involved in going out to get my shopping, in one quarter-hour of intensive inner inquiry using energy testing, I finally got the key to the whole situation and immediately turned it upside down, cutting straight through the real problem that had kept me away from hiking and decent countryside for virtually a whole summer.

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Please note that all references to 'garbage' in this account are referring NOT to anyone's domestic refuse but to what is widely called 'the forces of darkness', 'the dark force', 'demonic forces', 'Satan', and so forth.

The screw slowly turns and turns in upon me...

For decades I had been going out on regular long and strenuous single day hikes, almost always on my own, and generally hitch-hiking to the intended walking routes from my home in Exeter, and then hitch-hiking back after the walk. These would generally make big days. Since I turned 60 years of age in 2002, most of my hiking had been on the more rugged stretches of Cornish coast path, indeed as far away as the Land's End peninsula (yes, hitch-hike there from Exeter, have a very strenuous walk that could be up to 21 miles on an exceptionally favourable day, and hitch-hike back all within the day!).

On 10th March 2012 I had one of the longest of my 'classic' hikes - on the South Devon coast path from Exmouth to Beer (Cornwall was contra-indicated that day because of expected weather developments). With my particular starting and finishing points that route is about 21 miles and takes me through a total of some 1100 metres of ascent (and of course a similar amount of descent), with a series of sustained steep gradients, some of which have long flights of rustic-style wooden steps made into them, presumably in an attempt to reduce erosion from so many hikers' clodhopper-bearing feet.

Going down such steep gradients is stressful for one's feet and legs, and is generally recognised as being where hikers tend most readily to pick up strain injuries. However, I had been doing what was in most ways a very smart thing, for I had developed a way of (relatively) lightly 'tripping' down such series of steps by very deliberately landing on the forefoot on each step and allowing the shock of the impact to be largely absorbed by the elasticity of my Achilles tendons. Thus generally, apart from the odd misjudgments, my heels had a soft landing on each step, and so my body did not get the impact shocks that most people would get at least to some extent on such steep descents, and I was able to move like that quite swiftly down such slopes. I did, however, wonder if at some point I would run into strain problems with my Achilles tendons because of my doing that.

In the event, on this particular day I did run into a strain injury, but it was not an Achilles tendon that was obviously affected, but rather, I got a rather mild nagging pain under my left heel. As soon as it had come to proper notice, I was hoping it would not prove to be plantar fasciitis (PF), because I had quite recently read a little about that condition and how it did have a way of affecting older people who go hiking on steep and uneven ground, and how it was notoriously difficult for most people to get clear of.

That nagging pain was a little more pronounced once I was back at home, and the following day, especially upon getting out of bed, it was strong enough to be fairly troublesome and make me limp a lot and only do essential walking for shopping at the closest available stores. Over the days the pain receded and I started once more doing my regular easy local afternoon walks down by the River Exe and Exeter Ship Canal (varying generally from 4 to 9 miles in total length).

Let me summarize now how the situation developed. In order to keep things reasonably to essentials, I am not recording the individual easy local walks that I did.

The rehabilitation and clearance process

Indeed, that is how it worked out; I did go on that walk to Double Locks and back after my evening meal. On that walk I did experience strong pseudo-PF pain that sometimes verged on a subjective 'severe', but I was feeling duly jubilant and not being swayed any more by this silly nonsense from the garbage. The walk the following day to the M5, thanks to a surprise energy testing result as I was approaching the M5, actually extended further, to the Topsham Ferry, making it a total of 9 miles, though certainly my legs felt well and truly knackered by the end of that. Nonetheless, my energy testing indications were for repeating that walk on the following day, and then, the day after that, actually to have a short Cornish coast path HIKE! - Wow!

Actually that seemingly outrageously audacious 'Third Day' plan did not work out, for the very mundane reason that for the repeat of that 9-mile walk I wore a relatively new pair of sandals, which, surprisingly, gave me bad blisters on the balls of both feet - an issue I had not had for years. Also, on that occasion my energy testing had indicated for me to cross some seriously uneven ground, and this had resulted in the inflamed tendons getting slightly more tender and swollen again, so it was clear that I needed to be just a little more moderate in my initial aspirations, and, particularly, to keep off very uneven ground as much as possible for just a bit longer to give the particular tendons a little more time to strengthen sufficiently.

In the event I had further repeats of that 9-mile walk and then, at last, an actual short hike (Boscastle to Tintagel once more) on 8th September, with no obvious repercussions. All the signs were for a rapid escalation to full-length hikes before the ending of British Summer Time in late October puts a limit on the length of hikes I can sensibly dountil next season.

...My first attempt at Exmouth to Beer again (21 miles and some 1100 metres of ascent) was on 15th September. The garbage pulled out all the stops to disrupt the walk and get me to give up. The pseudo-PF pain was constant, often quite strong, and gradually increasing, making it more and more difficult for me to walk with reasonable semblance of normality. The pain kept moving around, mimicking different problems, while still being primarily anchored in the underneath of the heel. By the time I got to Sidmouth (some 12 miles from start), not only was the pain really quite troublesome (probably verging on 'severe' at times), but the constant pain had done what any constant and fairly strong pain would do: it had caused me to become prematurely fatigued, so that by the time I had reached Sidmouth I was feeling quite as fatigued as I would have expected to be at Beer. I therefore had no sensible choice but to terminate the walk at Sidmouth and leave the full Exmouth to Beer route for later on. Clearly, thus, I still had some clearance and 'building up' work to do before I could tackle Exmouth to Beer workably comfortably.

On 19th September I successfully completed a hike from Portreath to Perranporth (North Cornwall coast), also taking in St Agnes Beacon - about 14 miles and something like twice as much ascent as Exmouth to Sidmouth, and with much rougher and more uneven ground fairly generally, so altogether a significantly harder walk despite only a slightly greater length. However, my left foot was in pain throughout, so that the walk was a quite 'difficult' experience, and on various occasions the pain seemed just too much for me to continue, but my energy testing consistently supported my continuing. I got through by frequently retuning my Clarity-Spheres to the current environmental stresses (which include the emotional button-pushings that the garbage is using in its attacks), plus a certain brute determination of mine to properly clear and resolve this issue.

Although I still had significant pain at and after the end of that hike, actually the pain was not as extensive and 'heavy' as at and after the end of the 15th September hike, and I was still able to force myself to walk properly through it (then feeling much less pain) rather than go into limping / hobbling mode. So, although the garbage was attacking me with feelings and pseudo-thoughts to the effect that things were at least as bad as ever, actual observations (as well as my inner inquiry results) pointed to considerable improvement as compared with that hike just four days earlier.

One development that I noticed particularly on and after the 19th September hike (i.e., on succeeding days too) was that the garbage much more frequently made brief menacing refocusings of the pain to become a strong burning feeling at the back of the heel, with a particularly rough, grating quality about it that gave it a particular quality of unbearableness and menace.

My next hike, on 22nd September, really came too soon after the last one, but I was grabbing a fine day before what looked to be a whole week of unsuitable weather coming up. That one was a nominal 9-minus miles and over 700m of ascent, from Polzeath to Port Isaac, again on the North Cornwall coast, and was distinguished by a particularly strenuous and indeed punishing series of steep gradients with steps - particularly between Port Quin and Port Isaac. On the preceding day, especially in the evening, the garbage was creating a gradual crescendo of pain coming and going and changing in character, complete with attacks of fear, clearly trying to put me off any thought of going out hiking, and I was busy zapping relevant illusory realities and tuning the Clarity-Spheres to all current environmental stresses. And then on the day itself the pain was troublesome throughout (though at least without significant recognisable fear attacks), and gradually increasing during the hike, often close to unbearable in intensity, and thus making the hike quite an ordeal, and with prematurely fatiguing muscles again.

That may sound to be most discouraging, but actually my inner inquiry indicated that all the sterling work that I had done over the previous few days, zapping the relevant illusory realities and frequently tuning the Clarity-Spheres to current environmental stresses, had initiated processes that were all going ahead but simply needed more time before the results would be physically observable. The indications, thus, were that this situation would not continue for long, and there was no cause for concern or discouragement, and soon I would notice considerable and reasonably consistent reduction in the garbage's pain interferences, including on my hikes.

In the event, early in October the pain came on again at least as strongly as I'd known it, which on the face of it looked to be an extremely discouraging setback. However, it quickly became apparent that the real problem then was the garbage amplifying and distorting discomfort from a minor strain in my left main calf muscle group, caused by my over-zealous execution of the lunge position calf stretching exercise.

Therefore it was clearly necessary to 'go easy' with my physio exercises, and to be vigilant for signs that I might be straining anything in that leg, however slightly, and to back off as necessary, at least temporarily, from whatever was causing the strain(s).

It was thus that, with a whole series of ups and downs, I experienced a gradual reduction in the occurrences of the pain, and during those final months of 2012 the pain gradually ceased to be a significant issue affecting decisions as to whether to go out on a hike or field recording session (as part of my new Broad Horizon Natural Soundscapes or Wind Chimes in the Wild projects).

All the indications from my inner inquiry were for a continuing re-strengthening of those weakened parts of my left leg / foot into 2013, so that during the latter year I would most likely find myself as strong and injury-resistant as I was prior to 2012. I always had rather a tendency for small strain injuries of leg muscles and tendons - but nothing like what had been troubling my left leg during 2012 - the cause of which apparently temporary additional weakness I go into a little further below.

"Do be careful and not overdo anything!"

To those who compulsively insist on saying admonishing things to me about 'taking care' and 'not overdoing things' when I mention anything about my extremely purposeful rehabilitation from that stupid garbage deception scenario, I have this to say:

Up yours, Dirty Paws!
Up yours, dirty paws!
Yes, Mum! Yes, Mum!

Or, in other words, who or what do you imagine would give to one more accurate and genuinely appropriate and genuinely helpful guidance in such situations? The opinion of a person who has no (at least detailed) knowledge of one and one's particular situation or indeed of the injury condition involved, and yet who compulsively delivers advice and cautions out of his / her own ignorance, fear and restricted outlook, OR the understandings that one can get for oneself through careful observation, clear thought, and using inner inquiry to gain indications from one's own deepest aspects, which latter would surely know what is genuinely best for one if anything / anyone does?!

Of course, on occasions I am bound to 'overdo' something, because errors and unforeseen outcomes are all part of the learning process associated with living an active and healthy life. Those who constantly stay in a state of supposedly comfortable withdrawal from any possibility of 'overdoing' something are greatly stunting their lives and are more likely to die sooner.

And let us remember that I had already gained handsomely by using my energy testing / inner inquiry results and maintaining a consistent 'Go suck the other one!' stance to all who presumed to know better than my own deepest aspects and would give me unsolicited ignorant advice and admonishments. I have thus previously healed, with neither magic nor medical intervention nor following any person's advice, a major attack of osteo-arthritis in my right knee and a Grade 3 tear of my right quadriceps, in both cases getting back into full length hiking in a matter of months - and also I have cleared myself of major and potentially life threatening disruptions from the garbage, with an effectiveness and efficiency that I have not yet seen matched by anyone else. It is thus particularly bizarre of people to come at me with any presumption that they know better than me about how to look after myself! What they all really need to do is to get off their arses and start living proper, self-directed, self-actualized lives themselves, and indeed to actually start risking 'overdoing' the odd things themselves!

Post mortem

The above narrative is educational in its own right, showing how one can be completely hoodwinked by the garbage so that an actually quite minor and indeed transient physical issue can be hijacked and exploited by it to create a seriously life-destroying scenario based on illusory realities that it cultivates in the back of one's mindspace. However, some things that people would greatly benefit from knowing have not yet been said above, so I will now fill in some gaps - particularly concerning how I got the PF condition in the first place and how I am ensuring that I get no significant 'repeat performance' (either of genuine PF or of any garbage-sourced simulation of that condition).

If I go walking long and strenuous hikes like Exmouth to Beer again, won't I just get PF all over again?

Of course I cannot completely rule out the possibility of it recurring, though I have good reasons, as listed below, to consider such a possibility to be extremely small, and of no significant concern if by any chance it did appear again. Here follow my reasons for thinking so.


So, finally...

Rather like at long last getting some beautiful fine weather after an extended wet, cold and windy period, I now appreciate my walks and hikes more than ever, feeling a new joyfulness, freedom and beauty about them. - And a part of that new joyfulness is in my awareness of certain physical problems no longer being able to arise from my hikes and not only disrupt or prevent further hikes but even disrupt my everyday life. Every time the garbage tries something on me, it actually shoots itself in the foot because by doing so it is actually showing me a vulnerability of mine that I can then heal and thus render myself still further invulnerable to such interferences. The methodology that I present on my Self-Realization site enables anyone who properly uses it in an ongoing fashion to do likewise.

Postscript

Now, in November 2013, I can report on how I have fared since my 2012 shenanigans. In fact some pain under my left foot - generally NOT under the heel - would develop during the odd hiking and field recording outings during that winter, but not enough to stop me, and this progressively diminished, so that during the spring and especially summer and beyond (i.e., in 2013), those phantom pains were no longer an issue, and I was able to walk full length hikes again without problems - yes, including Exmouth to Beer. Naturally I have been careful on all walks to be more gentle on myself when going down steep sets of steps - in particular, not launching off from one step before landing on the next.

On some walks I would very briefly feel just a slight nagging of one or another of the old phantom pains in the left foot, but that would rapidly go away again, actually within the walk. Typically the garbage would seek to encourage me to abandon any walk by plying me with some phantom pain (particularly a strain-like pain in my left shoulder, and sometimes an all too familiar twingeing pain on the inner side of my right knee) as I approach some point at which I could easily terminate and return home, but I recognise those games and use energy testing to indicate what my best choice really is in such situations (actually virtually always to continue), and almost invariably such pains would more or less go away once I was past the particular potential abandonment points).

Actually there was one rather disconcerting development while the pain was phasing out during the autumn of 2012, in that the posterior tibial and peroneal tendons developed a surrounding oedematous swelling, which then progressively extended into the foot, so that the whole foot became oedematous. My inner inquiry indications were that this would eventually settle down, and indeed ever so gradually during the spring, with fluctuations it did so - though nowadays I still get a little oedematous swelling around those tendons behind the malleoli (ankle bones) a day or so after a hike and then going down over the next few days. Indeed, that is also happening for my right ankle, though at least I have not had any pain associated with that swelling.

However, things have not been totally straightforward for me, because a particular set of circumstances enabled the garbage to increase its interference with my neck this year, making it stiff and painful to move my head, so actually I have had a garbage-sourced pain issue this year after all! I have been working on that, and there are signs that the issue is progressively resolving, but at least it has not prevented me from getting out on my hiking and recording outings, even though it has given me some quite unpleasant discomfort.

Subsequently...

My legs have still tended readily to get temporary minor strains, some of which would manifest at under-foot pains. However, these have generally not been a hiking-stopping issue for me, just requiring a little care - and generally in any case rarely appearing to be any sort of return of my 2012 issue. The oedematous swelling around posterior tibial and peroneal tendons just above the ankle gradually became less and less noticeable, even after really hard hikes, though in the latter case I would sometimes see just a little if I looked carefully - but then I may well have had that much in such situations before the PF and pseudo-PF situation arose.

As already noted, through 2013 I progressively got back into full-length hikes, the phantom foot pain eventually not being noticed at all - at least in any significant manner. Having taken more care about going down steps on steep descents (I write this paragraph in 2016, at age 74), I have managed not to precipitate plantar fasciitis again - though occasionally I would get other, non-critical slight strains that would heal over just a matter of days. Even at this tender age I have still walked Exmouth to Beer, (and indeed Tintagel to Polzeath, which, although a little shorter, is actually significantly harder) and succeeded in not getting significant strains from all those steep descents on rough steps. I must be doing something right!


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