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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.
24th March - hike on North Cornwall coast path: Portreath to Perranporth, including St Agnes Beacon - some 14 miles, fairly rough and with some steep gradients. I had PF naggings towards the end, and these increased to a moderately pronounced pain when I was walking about during the following two days, then gradually tailing off. I soon resumed my regular easy local walks.
1st April - hike on South Devon coast path: Exmouth to Dunscombe Cliff, Salcombe Regis and out to the A3052 at Trow - some 15 miles. The PF naggings were evident again late in the walk, and again the pain was fairly pronounced over the next day or two, then largely tailing off during the week.
6th April - hike on North Cornwall coast path: Polzeath to the Tregragon valley (well beyond Port Isaac), finishing at Westdowns - some 14 miles, with a lot of steep gradients, and particularly punishing long flights of steps between Port Quin and Port Isaac. Again the PF naggings reappeared later in the walk, and were more pronounced the next day, gradually tailing off over the next several days.
15th April - hike on South / West Cornwall coast path: Lamorna to Land's End. Some 10½ miles, with some very hard-going steep and rocky terrain that would be a great challenge to any PF sufferer. I was a bit unsure about doing this one, but my energy testing indicated clearly for this route, and indeed for my not curtailing the walk even though I was experiencing some PF naggings occasionally quite early in the walk, and during the afternoon those naggings were more or less constant. The PF pain was more marked afterwards, and was quite a nuisance the following day, tailing off only slowly over the next few days despite my not having any local walks (the weather was playing games then).
I was a bit puzzled and disturbed at the seemingly cavalier way in which my energy testing had indicated for completing that walk in spite of the PF pain. My energy testing results had been quite consistent about that, and, seemingly, had been plain wrong. Yes, on the walk my further inner inquiry had indicated that the garbage (aka 'dark force', 'forces of darkness') was amplifying just an otherwise hardly noticeable minor discomfort - a phenomenon that I was well used to - but the way the pain became really quite strong after the walk and was fairly troublesome for essential walking the following day seemed to be proof enough that, regardless of any garbage interference, I had indeed had genuine PF pain on the hike - so, why had my energy testing, which had served me so well over virtually everything else, let me down there and encouraged me to go on walking and making the condition worse?
23rd April - I had had no walks since the last hike, and the PF pain had dwindled, but increased somewhat on this day without any obvious reason and remained at a slightly disturbing 'nuisance' level the following day, then gradually easing off over the next few days, but then remaining at 'slight' level over the following several days, regardless of mostly no walks apart from my bits of shopping - though with slight variations from day to day, with no clear reason for them.
19th May - hike on North Cornwall coast path: Boscastle to Tintagel. Some 5 miles (albeit having some steep gradients and uneven ground to make it seem longer) plus a few more miles of road walking in the hitch-hikes before and after the 'official' hike itself, this route was my choice today because the PF naggings, although at a low level, were not going away. Indeed, the PF naggings increased during the walk and were quite a nuisance, making me limp, once I was back in Exeter.
This was getting cause for concern, as it appeared that it was taking progressively less and less 'challenge' to get the PF going again. What the hell could I do? - So, the following day, belatedly I did a little Internet search for "plantar fasciitis" and at last started picking up some useful information about it. Over the days the PF naggings dwindled a bit but then did not go away and were continuing to fluctuate at a low level.
28th May - hike on South Devon coast path: Sidmouth to Beer. Some 9 miles, including certain small extensions that I did. This time I was using Mueller shock-absorbing heel cups in my regular hiking shoes, to reduce impacts on the bottoms of my heels. To what extent they were helping I do not know, because the PF naggings were noticeable for much of the walk, and were quite a nuisance afterwards, forcing me to limp, and this took several days to settle down to 'slight' level again (i.e., low enough for me not to be obviously limping).
17th June - hike on North Cornwall coast path: Crackington Haven to Boscastle. Some 7 miles, with a fair amount of uneven ground and some steep gradients, including some long flights of steps to go down. The PF naggings became really noticeable later in the walk, particularly after I had descended the particularly punishing long and uneven series of steps leading me off High Cliff - and the pain was fairly troublesome for walking afterwards, and did not get settling down till during 19th June.
20th June - a visit to Boscastle again - this time not for a hike but to make some further natural soundscape recordings at and close to the mouth of Boscastle Harbour, using my new CD-quality sound recorder. This did inevitably involve a bit of walking nonetheless, including over some uneven rocky terrain. I was being careful about foot placement, to try to reduce stress that my left foot got. Again I was using the Mueller heel cups in my hiking shoes. Most of the time I was sitting or standing, not walking, because I was making quite lengthy recordings - and then after less than two hours I beat a retreat and commenced my return hitch-hike because it was looking distinctly thundery in a very purposeful manner. But even after just those two hours of doing very little on my feet, the PF naggings were again getting quite strong. What the hell was I to do about this?
21st June - I received two slim books that I had ordered:
The 5-Minute Plantar Fasciitis Solution by Jim Johnson, which, as its title rather suggests, turned out to be a harmfully simplistic book, which operates on a journalist-style 'soundbite' mentality. The fact that this book generally got very high ratings from reviewers at Amazon.co.uk actually tells one more about the ignorance and limited outlook of the reviewers than any real helpfulness of the book. After all, the vast majority of people would always jump for a supposed quick-fix '5-minute solution' to any sort of troublesome ailment, regardless of whether that 'solution' would really address and resolve their problem or instead would simply give a bit of temporary symptomatic relief, or indeed was a complete scam.
The very notion that by using just one simple method (stretching the plantar fascia by manually pulling the toes back) you could genuinely resolve a PF issue is highly misleading because, while it might appear to work in the short term for some people, it cannot properly address the whole condition and the situation that had given rise to it, and thus do much to prevent re-injury. However, as that was the first of the two books that I read, in my desperation I started at once using the stretching procedure given in that book.
Injury Afoot: 30 Things You Can Do to Relieve Heel Pain and Speed Healing of Plantar Fasciitis by Patrick Hafner, which turned out to present a really good and comprehensive strategy for facilitating healing of the condition and preventing re-injury, including a range of basic / essential exercises for stretching / strengthening the relevant leg muscles as well as stretching the plantar fascia itself - so that, at least theoretically, one would gradually come to walk in a better controlled, balanced and co-ordinated way that would minimize one's chances of re-injury. I got using several exercises given in this book.
Bewilderingly and disturbingly, over the following days the PF pain got more pronounced, so indeed I temporarily discontinued those exercises that I thought might possibly be aggravating the condition, but I was still tending to get pain at times. I noted by that time that the pain was tending often to extend under the arch of that foot, and thus not to be restricted to just under the heel.
26th June - At a local hiking gear shop I tried out a pair of Teva sandals, which had a relatively high arch support* and particularly good under-heel cushioning. Trying those out, I suddenly had almost no pain - Wow! -- So I bought two pairs, one for indoors, one for outdoors (a big and unwelcome expense for me on my very small income!).
* This was quite a volte face of mine, because I had previously come to a clear conclusion that arch 'support' in footwear was generally a harmful thing because it interfered with healthy foot function - particularly the natural 'spring' mechanisms of the foot - so that 'arch support' was really simply unhelpful foot interference. Also, I found any really significant arch support to be uncomfortable, making my feet hot and sweaty underneath, and thus also readily becoming very smelly. I went for arch support at this point only because it was widely put forward as necessary if not essential to assist the clearance of plantar fasciitis, and my wearing test in the shop appeared to confirm that - though actually, if the apparently beneficial effect were really genuine, it might have been solely the particularly soft under-heel cushioning that was resulting in the much reduced pain.
27th June - I received and started to use a night splint that I had ordered. The bulky contraption was like an open-fronted boot made of rigid polypropylene and with a lot of internal cushioning. I thought I would never get to sleep with that hulking big thing on, but actually the particular model (from physioroom.com) proved to be remarkably comfortable and it distracted me little when I was in bed. The rationale behind using one of those is that the device holds the foot in a position that keeps the plantar fascia slightly stretched, resulting in a lack of the relatively strong pain that generally greets sufferers for their first little bit of walking after getting out of bed. Indeed, this seemed to be working for me, and I got only a little pain on getting up, and then I would put on my Teva sandals, and it would be relatively okay.
However, over successive days, during the day the pain would come and go without any clear cause or direction, and my easy local walks were getting fewer and shorter, and I was getting resigned to the prospect of not clearing this issue and being able to get on hikes within this year.
There were occasions when I realized that the apparent PF pain I was getting could not be genuine, and had to be phantom pain projected on the affected area by the garbage, for the pain would come and go in a way that did not tally with a genuine physically sourced pain and did very much tally with my previous experiences of garbage-sourced pains, which would similarly come and go in a rather erratic manner though often coming on in response to particular situations as though in an attempt to control my behaviour, and in particular to put me off my hiking - but out of safety I was still assuming that I really did have PF, and set aside those observations.
10th July - I noticed that I had marked tenderness and some swelling of the posterior tibial tendon, running from under the arch of my left foot, underneath and then behind the inner malleolus (ankle bone) and up into the calf muscle complex. Over the days this appeared to be getting gradually worse. I therefore stopped doing those practices that might at least possibly be aggravating that tendon. I also took what care I could to place the foot in ways that would put minimal stress on it - and that included a total ban on any hint of squatting.
15th July - my energy testing indicated for me to experimentally discontinue using the night splint, but after two nights without it the PF pain was increasing again, and so I used it again. However, on that occasion, late in the small hours I experienced an increasing burning sensation in the arch of that foot, with the beginnings of numbness in my big toe, so I took that off and did not use it again.
18th July - received and started using a pair of Spenco arch supports, which I hoped would help me with the inflamed tendon and maybe the PF. These were actually of limited use because (a) they were really the wrong shape for me and raised part of my foot that needed to be sitting more or less flat - and although they were supposed to be heat mouldable, I simply could not achieve any significant reshaping of them, and (b) they would stay in my sandals only when I was indoors. When I tried wearing them outdoors and getting on any sort of gradient, one would work its way forward, while the other would work its way out the back. At least I used them in my flat, but really comfortable they were not, and my feet very much disliked the close contact and lack of ventilation in that middle part of them.
19th July - by now I had stopped more or less all the exercises for the PF for fear that one or more of them were the cause of the tendon inflammation, which an Internet search had revealed as posterior tibial tendonitis (aka tibialis posterior tendonitis), which appears to have at least as 'difficult' a reputation as PF for its 'seriousness' and difficulty in clearing the condition. As a somewhat desperate measure, I turned my nose up at the 8 to 9 weeks' waiting time to get a NHS physiotherapist consultation (which would at least cost me nothing), and paid an ill-affordable £35 for a session that very day with a private physiotherapist just down the road. My aim really was just to get some guidance as to what exercises I could safely do without aggravating that tendon.
The physiotherapist was great and got me to test myself with various of the exercises I had already been using, plus some useful additional ones, and she was definite that I had no cause to worry and I could use almost all of those exercises without reservation. I was thus overjoyed and started straight-away using the exercises once more, together with certain of the new ones.
The following day, however, I found an increase in tenderness and swelling of that tendon, and was left to assume that one or more of the exercises had caused the aggravation. I also found what seemed to be a little swelling and tenderness under the arch, which had not been there before - though whether that was the plantar fascia or points of attachment of the posterior tibial tendon, I did not know.
From then on, the PF pain was still coming and going, generally in ways that periodically made me withdraw from the exercises I needed to be doing, and the tendonitis, albeit with ups and downs, was slowly getting worse.
During the following days, at considerable expense I got some different sorts of arch-supporting insoles*, which were in their different ways improvements on the Spenco arch supports, and indeed the very expensive custom moulded Superfeet insoles should have been near-perfect. Unfortunately none of these would remain in place in open sandals, and that led to further most unwelcome expenditure in purchasing some 'hybrid' sandal-shoes that would allow my feet some degree of ventilation while keeping the insoles in place. I did not at all enjoy wearing them.
* This appeared to be doubly necessary at that stage, because - yes, you've guessed! - arch supports are generally reckoned to be extremely important or indeed essential for anyone with posterior tibial tendonitis, so evidently optimal arch support was now doubly 'essential'. I did not like this at all, and my feet got horribly smelly because of the restricted ventilation underneath.
Initially I seemed to get an improvement in comfort with each insole type, but then I would start getting increasing pain. I would therefore switch from one insole type to another and get some relief, but before long I would be getting pain from that too. I did not dare not to be using arch supporting insoles now, with the tendonitis getting gradually worse, and certainly feeling objections from the tendon if I left the foot unsupported even briefly. Meanwhile, my local afternoon walks now generally did not go further than just down to the Quay and back - probably about a mile in total, if that, and, increasingly, even that was causing me pain.
29th July - found the beginnings of swelling and tenderness on my left peroneal tendon, behind the outer malleolus, more or less opposite the main swelling and tender spot on the other tendon. This was really getting silly! How the hell was I going to get out of this turn-of-the-screw sort of situation?
Over the days and weeks I struggled on with this situation, increasingly viewing even the day's short shopping excursion (often just a few minutes' walk either way) with some trepidation, and getting afraid of having an afternoon walk at all, though my energy testing still did tend to indicate for me at least to go down the Quay briefly, even though that itself was increasingly resulting in more pain.
20th August - the first breakthrough! Things seemed really quite desperate, for each of the types of insole was causing me significant pain, the PF pain now being quite considerable. As a far-out fling I went to a foot care shop I had not been in before, just to see if they had any arch supports that were just that and not actual insoles - i.e., they would support the arches but not interfere with the feet otherwise. The woman there who dealt with me seemed to know her stuff, and quite sternly told me that I was doing things all wrong with the insoles, and that it was extremely unlikely that I needed anything more than I already had. She said I should be using supportive insoles no more than an hour a day to start with, and then the duration per day should be only very gradually increased. She was adamant that for the rest of the time I should not be wearing such insoles at all.
So, as soon as I was back in my flat, not knowing anything else I could do, for the hell of it I yanked the insoles out, and at once, without insoles at all, my feet felt a tremendous relief. That then led me the following day to use some focused inner inquiry about that, and the indication that I got then was to experimentally not use insoles at all! Indeed, my experimentation and further inner inquiry then led to a clear indication that my feet had actually needed reasonably flat, NON-arch-supporting (i.e., non-foot-interfering) footwear all along - indeed, as I had originally understood before this whole horrible PF saga had started! It was thus not such a surprise that, after a full day without significant arch 'support', the tendon swellings had already noticeably decreased.
So, yes, it turned out that arch 'support' (i.e., interference), even from the modest amount of 'support' I got from the Teva sandals, appeared to havebeen the CAUSE of the tendon strains (well, at least the precipitating factor, for I am sure there would have been other factors too)! So, at least now the tendons were starting a very slow recovery, and the whole footwear issue was considerably simplified. Thus I really had only the plantar fasciitis issue to really concern myself with.
As it turned out, however, I was indeed to be 'really concerning' myself with that particular pain rather a lot. Initially, after cutting out the arch support, the pain was much reduced, but over the days it was tending erratically to increase again. The pain would come on more strongly after my having done shopping or having had a little walk down to the Quay and back, or shortly after my having done one stretching / strengthening exercise or another; it seemed that virtually everything at all positive that I did was aggravating it. I was getting more and more afraid of just going out to get my shopping. I progressively reduced or cut out the various exercises.
As always, my inner inquiry using energy testing indicated that the problem was much less than was appearing to me, and it would be all right before long, and it also confirmed what I was assuming - that the garbage was magnifying the pain and making the condition seem more serious than it really was. But yet I could not argue with the strong painful tenderness I had under my left heel upon manual pressure, and it seemed that again and again my energy testing and inner inquiry was letting me down and giving me incorrect responses to my energy testing in such a way that I was led to keep doing things that aggravated the condition rather than helped me clear it.
28th August - during the evening the garbage was attacking me with fear about my situation. When I get an obvious garbage attack I do not just sit around and let myself suffer*; I have simple procedures for dissolving all such attacks - notably dissolving relevant illusory realities with the Grounding Point procedure and also retuning my Clarity-Sphere setup to all current unidentified environmental stresses (which, importantly, include emotional button-pushings, which form part of any garbage attack). As well as using inner inquiry to establish what illusory realities needed to be zapped, I got a clear indication that the situation was not as I was imagining, and was a garbage contrived illusory scenario, and I was still on track with the PF recovery - though at that stage of the proceedings I could not feel strong confidence in any apparent reassurance I got from my inner inquiry about this issue, seeing that my energy testing and inner inquiry appeared to have been letting me down so badly on this particular subject.
* And neither do I go for a medical attempt at a 'solution' such as medication, as most people would, for it is neither a solution nor anything other than harmful.
At least the pain did recede somewhat along with the dissolving fear feelings of the garbage attack, and I actually got some sleep. However, about 2 a.m. I had to get up for a pee, and was taken aback at the strength of the pain under my left heel with each hobbled step of mine to the bathroom, and the garbage at once exploited that and attacked with more fear. Once I was in bed again it was clear that I was going to have a rather rough time with more garbage attack on and off for the remainder of the night if I did not take some relevant sort of positive action. In order to get my attention out of this, I set up what I call the supportive surroundings regime, which I describe in Ways of Handling a Prospective Rough or Sleepless Night, and this did indeed help a lot. What also helped, though, was my having noticed that when I got up again to set up 'supportive surroundings' I was getting very little PF pain - suggesting that at least much of the pain I was getting was actually not genuine at all and was phantom pain being projected into my foot by the garbage.
29th August - 'crunch' day! - Although the pain was little on getting up, it soon increased to become quite a nuisance. When I eventually went out to do some shopping the pain was really stronger than I would ever want to go walking with (i.e., with plantar fasciitis and the virtual certainty of doing the foot a significant re-injury while it is in such a tender state), and I was even wondering about taking a taxi! - But my energy testing still supported my not doing that and still just walking, never mind about the pain. After that my energy testing did not support my just remaining indoors after lunch, but still indicated for my going down to the Quay briefly. In a state of a bewildered despair and not knowing what to do with myself, I followed that indication by indeed going down to the Quay. That was very uncomfortable indeed, and once I was back in my flat and working at the computer the pain was increasing further, and it seemed that I really had re-injured myself further quite significantly, and that my energy testing and inner inquiry were still letting me down over this issue. Oh, help!
Feeling quite desperate about my predicament, I then did some more intensive and purposeful inner inquiry than hitherto, at last following up yesterday's superficially reassuring indications, which I had felt so reluctant to take seriously, and I did so this time together with a more purposeful examination than previously of the pain itself.
I should explain here that I was already all too familiar with garbage-sourced phantom pains and the way that the garbage uses them and causes them to come and go - and how those phantom pains were always distorted versions of any real physical pains that they were attempting to mimic - generally with a much greater 'unbearableness' quality about them.
I explain more about garbage-sourced phantom pains in The True Nature of 'The Dark Force' and its Interference and Attacks.
Because I appeared to be in a totally impossible situation whose only outcome could be either being a cripple or a suicide case, and was also aware that the garbage had sought to get me into similar situations in the past, which were all really sham ones aimed at screwing me up and indeed very likely ending my life, I made the extra effort now to work out what was really going on. Just receiving an 'assurance' would be no use at all. It was necessary for me to be able to see that any 'reassuring' indications were actually correct and 'added up' with all my observations. It was thus particularly important to examine that pain and see how much of it was genuine and how much was bogus.
I thus bared the suffering foot, and as I focused in on the pain I was particularly aware of that very quality about it that experience had already shown to be a hallmark of a garbage-sourced phantom pain. However, that did not in itself mean that there was not genuine physical pain too, so it was necessary here to proceed with great care and caution, lest I draw ultimately disastrous conclusions. The heel pain was really crying out for me not to touch that part of my body at all - a strength of pain I had not had before from the 'PF'. However, I had had this sort of thing before, especially a few years back when the garbage was giving me a horrendous pain in the anus. On that latter occasion the real tell-tale indicator was that when I actually pressed firmly upon my anus, moving my hand around to accentuate the pain, there was actually NO pain there at all, and the actual pain that I was feeling was then in a sort of halo around the actually painless part that I was massaging.
In the event this was just the same. An initial firm probing and massaging hand contact upon the underneath of the heel did reveal a somewhat tender spot, but the rest of the pain immediately withdrew from where my hand was - then being at times like a sort of halo around the foot and at other times seemingly dancing around it like a devilish Will-o'-the-wisp, or like lightning strokes dancing around in an intensely active thundercloud. I withdrew my hand and then repeated that probing a bit more strongly. Now even that apparently real and physical tender spot became painless as the initial flash of pain immediately receded into the general surrounding halo of dancing 'lightnings'. Yep, as far as I could tell, this whole show was BOGUS, and my inner inquiry concurred.
Furthermore, my inner inquiry indications, now that I was 'listening' to it with a more open mind, were that although I did have a mild bit of PF originally, after the particularly demanding hikes, for all practical purposes that had actually already healed in early to mid-June; the last hike on which there was any genuine PF (i.e., that would actually be felt) was the 28th May hike from Sidmouth to Beer - and that was only very slight and would have been hardly noticed. The rest of the pain even then was phantom pain from the garbage. Indeed, by the time of the 15th April Land's End hike already the primary 'PF' pain was garbage-sourced phantom pain, and although there was a little genuine PF, it was in itself not enough to be a major issue for me, and hence my energy testing indications to continue the walk to the end despite the apparent contra-indications from the pain I was actually feeling.
So, far from my energy testing and inner inquiry having been letting me down, what had actually been happening was that, connived at by the garbage, I had been my own most proficient saboteur through having locked onto the notion that because I had got a bit of PF from my hiking, most of the pain that I was getting was genuine, and thus I needed to treat the whole situation as a serious PF one rather than a garbage attack one. I was well aware that the garbage would be adding to the pain and making it seem more troublesome than it really was, but as long as I had any pain at all I had been afraid of re-injuring that foot, and so I had been unwittingly reinforcing the harmful feedback loop of illusory reality, pain and fear that it was systematically building up for me, and thus I had been disregarding my repeatedly encouraging and reassuring inner inquiry results as being weirdly, unaccountably wrong over this issue.
At this stage I was still fairly locked into that unhelpful mindset because of particular illusory realities I was carrying, so first I had the odd additional illusory reality to 'zap' using my Grounding Point procedure, and did that immediately. I knew I still needed to be extremely cautious about any practical application of this new understanding that appeared to be unfolding, because following the logic of this scenario that my inner inquiry was revealing would cause me major trouble if it were wrong. In other words, if I went out walking with merry abandon in complete disregard of any pain I was getting, and any significant part of that pain was genuine PF pain, I would be right up Shit Creek.
One aspect of the situation that made it easier to take a big 'leap of faith' and try aligning myself with my inner inquiry indications was that no other scenario, including what up to that point had seemed to be the case, made sense, whereas my inner inquiry indications ALL 'added up', making sense of all my observations. -- And so it was, that I then energy-tested on having a short 'proper' walk tomorrow - maybe to Trew's Weir bridge and back to start with (I guess, not quite two miles), for, I was assuming, I would need to build up slowly and cautiously, at least initially - all the more so as I was now 70 and it would surely require more work and diligence to regain leg strength following my hiking hiatus. My energy testing, however, amazed me in indicating the best option to be to walk the 4 miles to Double Locks and back that very evening, and point myself towards walking down the canal to the M5 motorway flyover and back (7½ miles) tomorrow! At last I filled with an incredulous joy as I started seriously to take such a preposterous notion on board.
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:
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!
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.
Knowing what was causing the genuine PF in the first place - important!
With the assistance of my inner inquiry procedure, I worked out what I had been doing on the particular hikes, that had caused genuine PF in the first place. It had NOT to any material extent been strong impacts upon my heels - particularly because my loose, unstressful and efficient mode of walking, based in my use of the Alexander Technique, results in my spontaneously placing my feet much more gently than most people do, even when going down steep slopes cut into steps. What had caused the problem was the particular way I was descending the steps on certain of the steep slopes. I was actually going down in a smart and elegant way, landing on the forefoot and allowing the foot and the supporting tendons and calf muscles to absorb the kinetic energy of each impact, so that the heel would generally have a really gentle landing. The problem was that the plantar fascia - the supportive band of tough connective tissue under the arch - was getting mightily stressed by my doing that, and so little 'micro-tears' were occurring in it, which accumulated to create the noticeable strain injury condition that is recognised as PF.
However, there was more to it than just that - quite apart from the matter of why I got the condition only on my left foot, which I comment on further below. On my first hike after I had 'unfrocked' and squashed the whole pseudo-PF saga I thought that in future I would always have to descend all the steps on steep slopes tiresomely slowly on an individual basis, no longer neatly treading down from one step to the next right the way down - and thus, indeed, I would be too slow on the longest hikes to fit them into the available time any more. In the event I found that such slow tedium was, for the most part, not necessary at all and usually I could still go down almost (but not quite) as quickly as before, because with most of the steps, for each I could use the muscles of the 'upper' leg to lower myself to provide a reasonably gentle landing for the foot that was descending at that point. What had been the real 'killer' on the Exmouth to Beer route was the rather distant spacing of some of the series of steps, whether vertically or horizontally. From each of those steps I would be launching off, effectively in a slight jump, thus giving the landing foot and its supporting tendons and muscles a quite big hammering.
It is just those more distantly spaced steps where I would need to slow down and take each step in a careful individual way, or indeed walk around those particular steps if possible. -- So, you see, it appears that I can easily avoid doing the very thing that was causing the PF in the first place, and so it would be extremely unlikely to recur even after such long and challenging hikes - though completing the route would take just slightly more time than before.
When I did have genuine PF, it was only slight
The genuine PF that I did get was actually mild and easy to heal, as compared with 'classic' PF. People generally get it primarily because they are walking / running badly to start with, but my very good mode of walking, as I say, based in my use of the Alexander Technique, was ensuring, and still ensures, that as long as I do not go doing anything 'silly' like semi-jumping down from one step to the next, I would not get PF at all, even if I took no other preventive measures.
Clearance of the underlying weakness
My inner inquiry has consistently indicated that the underlying weakness in my non-physical aspects that enabled the PF to occur at all (after all, my right foot was apparently unaffected), has more or less cleared anyway, thanks to my own ongoing self-actualization practices. According to my inner inquiry results, that weakness was a very temporary matter, caused primarily by the early stages of my ongoing use of the Archetype Zapper procedure*. The temporary slight weakening in my non-physical aspects caused a temporary slight 'dip' in my grounding, and made me more sensitive to certain (not all) environmental stresses - and in addition it had made primarily my left side become slightly more vulnerable to strain injuries of muscles and related tissues such as tendons and fascia. Although the underlying non-physical weakness has allegedly more or less cleared, it would take some time for the adverse physical effects to completely rectify, but my indications are nonetheless that they are well on the way out.
* Of all the healing / self-actualization procedures and practices that I use, apparently this is the only one that has any significant adverse side effects. Actually, quite apart from those side effects it is a particularly serious procedure to use, and I give due caution about that in the page on archetypes. However, it is such an important procedure that I still use it and recommend it (with due cautions) for those who are sufficiently advanced in their self-actualization process for them to be able to handle the possible adverse effects (which include possible initial quite intimidating garbage attack).
As I understand it, those adverse effects occur only following the first-time zapping of any particular archetype connection, so that at a very early stage in one's using the procedure (which would ideally be carried out daily in ongoing fashion), the procedure would be totally benign. The only problem is that the initial weakening of one's non-physical aspects takes a few weeks to recover, and in the meantime that could lead to certain generally quite minor physical problems such as increased sensitivity to certain environmental stresses, and also to some types of garbage attack, such as phantom pains - and there is always a fairly long delay between the recovery of one's non-physical aspects and the resultant clearance of related physically based problems.
Physical strengthening / balancing exercises
For the moment anyway, I am continuing to carry out ongoing daily exercises for leg and foot strengthening and increasing flexibility, range of movement, and balanced operation of the leg muscles. These measures themselves would reduce one's likelihood of PF recurrence, but also are actually very good for making one more resistant to all manner of other types of strain injury - so, while they might be seen as somewhat 'overkill' for me as I can simply avoid the physical actions that would cause me the PF as noted above, actually these exercises would help me have more trouble-free hikes generally, and very likely with slightly better speed, and without any increase of leg / foot fatigue. Also, they would help to maintain some degree of strength and muscular balance / co-ordination for hikes during periods, especially in winter, when the weather is not encouraging me to go out hiking much.
To assist with those exercises that involve a specific number of timed rounds of the respective exercise in a session, I purchased from Amazon a Gymboss Interval Timer. This enables you to set up an automatic repeat sequence of a specific duration for a specified number of times, at the end of which a different alarm sound is played, so that one knows when that particular exercise is completed for that overall session. You can even set it up similarly for a second repeated duration, for use where you want a specific timed 'off' or 'relax' period between each round of the exercise itself. I find this little timer greatly improves the exercise experience, and the sessions for which I use it seem to pass much more quickly than otherwise.
One point worth noting is that the The 5-Minute Plantar Fasciitis Solution book not only really promotes only one method for one to use to supposedly solve one's PF problem, but the book contains NO suggestion that it would be a good idea to give equal attention to both feet, even if only one foot obviously has the condition. I took the view - consistently supported by my inner inquiry - that it was actually necessary to carry out any exercise equally on both feet or legs (and I have consistently applied that principle). Otherwise one is creating new imbalances in one's walking / running, which would inexorably lead to new, different, problems further down the line.
Actually, in my case my energy testing indicated the plantar fascia stretching exercise (pulling the toes back and holding them there for a short duration, with repeats) to be of low priority for me and really not worth any time spent on it, because the other exercises I was doing were already taking up quite enough of my time, and were much more what was really needed to enable me to be more resistant to such strain injuries in future.
Interferences from the garbage no longer a significant issue...Well, I wrote the above note before the garbage's phantom pain had returned to try again to stop me hiking or even walking - but nonetheless, despite some initially quite troublesome resurgences of the pain, the overall trend during the final months of 2012 was downward to the point that by late December only certain movements of my left foot elicited any pain at all, and walking, even in relatively non-cushioning footwear, was generally not bringing the pain on at all.
As already noted, the garbage's simulation of PF is actually identifiable, once you know what to look for and do not allow intruded pseudo-thoughts and illusory realities (kindly given to you by the garbage) to distort your interpretation of what is really going on. Also, my techniques for dissolving garbage attacks and various other interferences do more than just dissolve the current interference / attack. They actually immunize one to further attacks exploiting the same vulnerabilities / illusory realities. That means that it would be much more difficult for the garbage to do a repeat performance for me even if I did get a slight genuine PF recurrence. And of course I would be much quicker to notice if any garbage hanky-panky had started, and thus would 'zap' its interferences at once, so that they could not build up into any troublesome situation again and indeed I would thus become still more comprehensively immunized against further such interferences. Perhaps you can see, then, that my methodology, properly applied, gives one a real 'win-win' life situation.
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.
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.
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!