Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sensible Shoes

Plantar faciitis is a pain in the heel that comes from a hard landing, as in launching oneself off a desk on a classroom stage to catch a marker pen tossed to one by a student in the back row, or from walking normal Romanian distances of two-to-three miles a day when used to a sedentary American lifestyle.

The ailment had been in my left foot for over a month, and had not been getting better, causing me lots of pain and costing me lots of fun. My inability to walk without a severe limp finally caused me to tell Shirl about it, and she reacted wisely, nagging me into going to see a doctor. I asked at the Faculty, and learned that the good Dr. Dan Locaciu, Chief of Cluj's Clinic of Orthopaedics and Skeletal Trauma is a Rotarian, and as such a friend of my Prodeacon M. Luţaş. Mihaela arranged an appointment for me last Thursday. But then it snowed over most of Europe, and the doctor returned late from a conference in Warsaw, riding all night on that midnight bus from Budapest Airport, and having to operate on patients the next morning. So, my appointment of last Thursday had to be postponed, I had no relief this past weekend, and missed much of what's to see in Sibiu as a result.

Upon returning from Sibiu Sunday evening, I was sick of hurting, and thought to Google "Heel pain." Up popped plantar fasciitis. I went to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website, and learned a bit about the condition. Clearly it was the most likely diagnosis of my problem. I began self treatment as recommended by the AAOS . Ice, ibuprofen, stretching exercises and rest. The very next day, yesterday, I felt a distinct improvement. This morning, the day of my doctor's appointment, I had very little pain, and a much-reduced limp.

So, today Mihaela took me to meet Dr. Locaciu. Mihaela had told me he was not going to charge me. So, my first question of the good doctor was, "Do you play golf." "Yes, I do," he said. So I invited him to join me in a round at the Paul Tomiţa Golf Course in the spring. He accepted. It will be on my nickel.

After an examination and an X-ray (to rule out a worse condition), Dr. Locaciu confirmed my self-diagnosis, and prescribed fancy innersoles and a cortisone shot. Interestingly, one goes to the Farmacie oneself to buy the cortisone and anesthetic in Romania, and brings it back to the clinic for the shot.

The innersoles are working well. I've had a pain-free afternoon. I no longer fear going to the kitchen for a drink of water. I have suggested putting off the steroid shot, as I believe my heel is healing well without. Tomorrow I will hear the doctor's word on that, and take his advice.

At the office today I learned that my ailment has been common among American visitors to UBB. We really do walk a lot over here, and if we are not used to it, we pay the price.

My advice to future Fulbrighters coming to Romania, invest in a good pair of soft-soled walking shoes, and break them in before coming over. I didn't.

1 comment:

SKM said...

Very happy that your foot is recovering. And I will try to bring my best walking shoes. Wish I could get a quick knee replacement.....