Monday, June 18, 2012

Hi everyone -
Sorry it has been so long since my last blog post, but I have been facing a few issues.  I am off the trail again, this time due to an injury to my left foot.  I have developed Plantar Fasciitis.  It's been coming on for a while but I thought it was just a bruise on my heel.  On Thursday, June 14th, I was hiking well, picking wild blueberries and hurrying to Glasgow to pick up my next mail drop box of food and supplies.  Things were going just fine when I tripped over a rock with my right foot.  I reached out my left foot to catch myself and stepped on a sharp rock, exactly where the pain from the 'bruise' was.  It all brought tears to my eyes and I jumped and hobbled and limped to catch my balance.  This was at 11:00 AM.  I still had 6 miles to go to get down the mountain and to the road to Glasgow, Va.  Those six miles were full of pain and disappointment as I contemplated the end of my AT hiking adventure.  I imagined everything including a broken heel bone.  I managed to limp down the mountain, get to the road, and hitchhike to town.  There was a hometown doctor there and I made plans to visit the next day if the pain and swelling were no better.  I settled into the town shelter for hikers ( a free service including a hot shower and porta-potty).  The local Baptist Church had scheduled a 'hiker feed' for that evening, so I ate pretty well - hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, slaw, corn on the cob, cake and pie and sodas.  One of the ladies from the church played Mother Hen and insisted that I sit and soak my foot in icy water while she hovered over me.  The next morning started well as I limped to the nearby restaurant for breakfast.  My foot felt better until I went to visit the restroom.  The floor had a raised lip at the door that I didn't see.  Of course I caught it with the toes of my left foot, stretching the arch, and the pain shot up my leg all the way to my eyes again.  It was then that I decided this was more serious than expected and I made plans to visit the local MD to confirm what I was now thinking - I had Plantar Fasciitis.  I spoke with the doctor briefly to confirm my suspicions.  Being a doctor in a hiking town, he had seen this many many times and didn't even charge me for the visit.  He advised me to give my foot plenty of rest and if I was headed home suggested that I visit my personal physician.  So here I am, back in the Triad, resting my sore foot and hoping that I caught it in time for a quick healing process.  I have a series of exercises to do as well as regular ice packs and NSAIDs.  I check with my orthotics store and got a heel insert to keep me from overcompensating and causing additional problems.  If I can get this problem healed quickly, I can return to the trail and continue my journey north.  If it takes longer then I can possibly travel to Maine and hike southbound to where I dropped off.  If the healing takes too long then my attempt at a single-season thru-hike will be over.

There you have it - it's now a waiting and hoping game until I either return or time runs out for any option.

On a positive note, I now have time to work on all the fantastic videos I have collected from my 2.5 months of hiking more than 700 miles of the trail. 

Oh - I visited the Rush Gym today to compare my before and after weight loss on a scale that I could depend on.  As I left for the trail I weighed 254 pounds.  Today on the same scales I weighed 219 - a loss of 35 pounds in 75 days!  That's the weight of my backpack!  So I did accomplish the goal of getting in better shape and losing some unneeded pounds.

Look for a lot of video updates in the next few days.  One in particular includes a Copperhead Snake making a closeup strike at the camera lens.  It's pretty exciting to watch.

I promise to keep you informed of my healing progress and my plans to return to the trail. 

1 comment:

Adam said...

Hi Bob! My dad and I have really been enjoying your blog. Sorry to hear you're having foot problem. I had a bad case of plantar fasciitis about 10 years ago that took years to get better. I went to doctors, podiatrists, tried inserts, etc., for years before a shoe store employee told me to try standing on one foot. The idea is that you stand on you injured foot for five or ten minutes a few times a day, and the normal corrections you make to keep your balance exercise the muscles in your foot so they become stronger and take the stress of the plantar fascia tissue, allowing it to heal. This advice cleared up a problem I had had for years in a matter of weeks. I hope it works for you too so you can continue your AT adventure.