Over a year ago, my dd15 (then 14) complained about foot and ankle pain. Thinking she’s probably twisted it, I suggested waiting it out, since that’s usually what the doctor recommends, along with ice packs, rest, and elevation. She didn’t complain much (she’s not a complainer at all), but three months later when she returned from her month at sleep away camp, she told me it was still hurting.
That obviously was way too long for a strain to still be a problem, so I took her to the pediatrician, who recommended rest, cold, and elevation. I told her we did all that and together we determined that a referral to a podiatrist would be in order. I spent the next five months taking dd to the podiatrist. He tried a number of things – taping her foot, wrapping her foot, uniboots – but nothing improved the pain.
At one point he said said the inflammation was the problem, so I did some research and prepared some herbal capsules dd was able to take to reduce that, rather than take steroids. (I wrote about that here.) Her foot stopped hurting but when we returned, the podiatrist said if we hadn’t reduced the inflammation with medicine he was familiar with, he couldn’t trust that the swelling was actually gone. He said pain was the only indication that there was swelling, and just because the pain was gone it didn’t mean anything – maybe the herbs I gave her had an anti pain effect. So she’d still need to take the anti-swelling medication he recommended before he could determine what else he could do to address the situation.
In short, dd decided she didn’t want to, and we never went back – after five months and a number of visits, we were no closer to figuring out the problem and I didn’t have confidence that it was going to be figured out. I did take her to our chiropractor, who did an adjustment as well as energy work, which improved the situation. But the pain was off and on, and I felt there was something physiological that had to be dealt with.
Several months later, a fantastic orthopedist was recommended by a friend, and I was very impressed by him and grateful that we met someone so knowledgeable and competent. In our first and only visit in the beginning of June, he determined that the pain was caused by slightly fallen arches – her walking pattern had changed to compensate for this, which was what was causing the pain. And this could easily be taken care of – all she needed were orthodic inserts.
I met the orthodist there, made an appointment for the next day, and went to get dd fitted for orthodics. The orthodics she needed were $500 for a pair, and my insurance company recently stopped paying for these. (I found it ironic that they’d be willing to pay for visits to a podiatrist for months but not a one time outlay to alleviate the need for future visits.)
I asked her about options if we didn’t go with the orthodics, and she mentioned cork bottom shoes were good since they mold to the shape of the wearer’s foot. The brand she particularly recommended was Teva, which are very pricey. However, the factory is located in Israel and if you go there, you can buy them at half the price – and the factory is fairly close to where my daughter will be for the coming year. So I told dd we’d wait for her to go and she could treat herself to a few pairs when she got there.
But then at the end of the visit the orthodist said something that I wondered about – she said that for dd, the worst thing possible for her feet was to go barefoot. This seemed counterintuitive to me, and got me thinking and then learning more…..
(Since this is getting so long, I’ll share the rest of my research in another post.)