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Why do people not understand?!?

Posted by MaryAnn O on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014780)

When I tell them my feet hurt when I first walk on them in the morning or when I have been standing or walking awhile, they say 'Yeah I get that too'! They do not understand that it is not the normal pain that people get if they have Plantar Fasciitis! I get so frustrated at people who think I am making more of it than I should be!! Does anyone relate to this??!!
It does hurt as everyone on this board knows! I have been suffering this for about 2 months now, have been doing stretching excercises and wearing arch supported shoes. If my feet do not get better, I may go to a physical therapist.

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

Renee on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014781)

Hi MaryAnn. You are right, people do not understand unless they have chronic pain also. Please see a podiatrist. Try some Birkenstock sandal, never go barefoot, and keep your chin up. I have had it for 3 years and sometimes I think I will lose my mind. I keep going because I have 3 boys depending on me. You can never explain the pain, so don't even try. Just keep reading the board and trying different things until you find a little relief. Good Luck!!

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

wendyn on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014783)

You are not alone with this experience - I would suspect anyone with a chronic problem goes through this. It's impossible to understand pain unless you've gone through it...you can't understand what it feels like to be in labor unless you've gone through it either and not everyone's experience is the same.

Fortunately, my close friends and family are pretty understanding...it's some of the people at work (I work in a large building and I know lots of people there), neighbors, strangers etc that start to get on my nerves (so to speak). You may find that the less you discuss your problem with people like that, the easier it will be. Otherwise you will feel like a broken record, and you will be overwhelmed with suggestions from people who have no idea what they're talking about.

After 15 months of pretty significant pain...I've grown tired of discussing my problem with people that have no experience with foot problems. I've developed standard ways of dealing with the routine questions and comments (some I hear a dozen times a day).

'What's wrong with your feet?' It's a long story.

'What does it feel like?' Hurts. A lot. Like someone smashed them with baseball bats.

'How are you today?' Hanging in.

'How are your feet?' Been worse.

'Why are you limping?' It's a long story.

'Did you hurt your feet?' It's a long story.

'Did you hurt your feet again?' No...still.

(I wear Birks all the time) 'Headed to the beach?' Ha ha - haven't heard that one before. You should be a comedian.

'Don't your feet get cold in those sandals?' No.

'Are you ever going to get better?' Hope so.

'Do they hurt all the time?' Yes.

'You should see a doctor.' Ya think?

'How did you get something like carpal tunnel in your hands? Were you typing with your feet????' Ha ha, haven't heard that one before...you should be a comedian.


Good luck!


Re: Why do people not understand?!?

Nicole V.R. on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014784)

LOL! Good for you, wendyn, I'll have to incorporate some of those responses! What frustrates me is that I think people think I'm lazy when I turn down activities which require a lot of standing or walking. Or if people are standing around talking I usually am not paying attention because I'm busy looking for a seat! When I first started having pain, I limped pretty heavily. On a visit to see my mother-in -law, I explained pf thouroughly to her. On our next visit, my foot was taped, and I found myself again explaining the whole thing. I don't think she took me seriously the first time!(and still doesn't).

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

Stuart B on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014785)

I tell people it's like having real bad tooth ache in my feet for 3 years! That gets them understanding. It's an odd thing to have though. I have recently found that the ibuprofen cream helps, you have to put lots on an rub it well in morning and night.

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

alan k on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014789)

I was given a book for Christmas from my family about how to beat the pain of various conditions that are all in your mind. I managed to contain myself.

On the other hand, though it might not seem like it, sometimes others are in denial simply because they naturally empathize and need to deny what is happening in order to avoid feeling bad, due to their natural empathy. Unfortunately we don't have that denial option.

alan k


Re: Why do people not understand?!?

Robin B. on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014796)

You're right -- people absolutely do not understand the pain of PF.

However -- the longer I live with this condition, the more I come to have a far better appreciation for chronic pain of all types. The truth is, 4 or 5 years ago, I wouldn't have understood either. PF wasn't part of my vocabulary, or my experience. If I saw someone fairly young riding around in Walmart or the grocery store in one of those motorized carts, I would think how lazy they were -- how they might feel better if they got out and exercised. Frankly, I was a fairly self-righteous jerk.

PF has certainly opened my eyes, in addition to knocking me on my butt. In a couple of years, I have come to realize that every day I probably pass by dozens of very 'normal' looking people who live with chronic pain of one type of another -- and that it's the pain that may cause them (or us) to be short, sharp, unpleasant or just sluggish.

I'm going on two years with PF, although I am starting to slowly recover. This condition has turned my life upside down for nearly two years and has forced me to accommodate just about everything I do (or want to do but can't) to my feet. There were definitely places I didn't go, things I didn't do and people I didn't see. At the same time, it has taught me a lot that I would never have learned any other way.

You may find that you lose some friends (a term used loosely here) who don't want to take the time or make the effort to understand that you have a temporary disability that doesn't shoe. You will have others who will make the effort and try to help. Overall, PF is a humbling experience that, for me anyway, has taught me much more about myself than about others.


Re: Why do people not understand?!?/ Reply

Elise M. on 1/16/00 at 00:00 (014809)

Hi Maryann,
Pain is a very subjective thing. My pain will not be the same as yours nor will you be able to understand my pain despite repeated attempts to describe it. My hubby was very skeptical of the level of my pain till he saw me crawling across the floor crying on my way to the bathroom. I took care of many patients in my 28 years as a nurse and one particular patient stands out in my mind. He'd had a hemorrhoidectomy done and was paralyzed with pain attempting to walk to the bathroom. It wasn't until I had similar surgery that I could appreciate/understand the level of pain this poor man sustained. I served myself up a BIG slice of humble pie for thinking and muttering to myself that this man was just a big baby. Experience will always be the best teacher. The comraderie we share here is because we are all living through the experience. Who else, but your own kind could possibly understand? Feel better.....................Elise

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

MaryAnn O on 1/16/00 at 00:00 (014823)

Thanks everyone, you sure made this an interesting post to read!! I relate what to what everyone said!! I too, get the feeling people think I am making more out of this than it really is, if they only knew!!!! If I got a book about how to deal with pain that is just in my head from family, I would be very hurt.
I am glad that I have this board, Thanks everyone!
MaryAnn

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

Allan G on 1/16/00 at 00:00 (014837)

Hi All
True Plantar Fascciitis causes a swelling of the Plantar attachment under the heel. A Diagnostic Ultrasound can very quickly tell you if you have true Plantar Fasciitis. The tendon attachment is normally under 4mm thick , and both feet should be the same. Chronic Plantar Fasciitis has been successfully treated with ESWT (Orthopaedic Lithotripsy) for years now.In Australia we are achieving 75% success on patients who have failed all conservative therapies. For more information contact your nearest Dornier Medtech site.

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

Dan W on 1/17/00 at 00:00 (014865)

Wendy as usual your post is, insightful and amusing, thank you.

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

Renee on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014781)

Hi MaryAnn. You are right, people do not understand unless they have chronic pain also. Please see a podiatrist. Try some Birkenstock sandal, never go barefoot, and keep your chin up. I have had it for 3 years and sometimes I think I will lose my mind. I keep going because I have 3 boys depending on me. You can never explain the pain, so don't even try. Just keep reading the board and trying different things until you find a little relief. Good Luck!!

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

wendyn on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014783)

You are not alone with this experience - I would suspect anyone with a chronic problem goes through this. It's impossible to understand pain unless you've gone through it...you can't understand what it feels like to be in labor unless you've gone through it either and not everyone's experience is the same.

Fortunately, my close friends and family are pretty understanding...it's some of the people at work (I work in a large building and I know lots of people there), neighbors, strangers etc that start to get on my nerves (so to speak). You may find that the less you discuss your problem with people like that, the easier it will be. Otherwise you will feel like a broken record, and you will be overwhelmed with suggestions from people who have no idea what they're talking about.

After 15 months of pretty significant pain...I've grown tired of discussing my problem with people that have no experience with foot problems. I've developed standard ways of dealing with the routine questions and comments (some I hear a dozen times a day).

'What's wrong with your feet?' It's a long story.

'What does it feel like?' Hurts. A lot. Like someone smashed them with baseball bats.

'How are you today?' Hanging in.

'How are your feet?' Been worse.

'Why are you limping?' It's a long story.

'Did you hurt your feet?' It's a long story.

'Did you hurt your feet again?' No...still.

(I wear Birks all the time) 'Headed to the beach?' Ha ha - haven't heard that one before. You should be a comedian.

'Don't your feet get cold in those sandals?' No.

'Are you ever going to get better?' Hope so.

'Do they hurt all the time?' Yes.

'You should see a doctor.' Ya think?

'How did you get something like carpal tunnel in your hands? Were you typing with your feet????' Ha ha, haven't heard that one before...you should be a comedian.


Good luck!


Re: Why do people not understand?!?

Nicole V.R. on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014784)

LOL! Good for you, wendyn, I'll have to incorporate some of those responses! What frustrates me is that I think people think I'm lazy when I turn down activities which require a lot of standing or walking. Or if people are standing around talking I usually am not paying attention because I'm busy looking for a seat! When I first started having pain, I limped pretty heavily. On a visit to see my mother-in -law, I explained pf thouroughly to her. On our next visit, my foot was taped, and I found myself again explaining the whole thing. I don't think she took me seriously the first time!(and still doesn't).

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

Stuart B on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014785)

I tell people it's like having real bad tooth ache in my feet for 3 years! That gets them understanding. It's an odd thing to have though. I have recently found that the ibuprofen cream helps, you have to put lots on an rub it well in morning and night.

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

alan k on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014789)

I was given a book for Christmas from my family about how to beat the pain of various conditions that are all in your mind. I managed to contain myself.

On the other hand, though it might not seem like it, sometimes others are in denial simply because they naturally empathize and need to deny what is happening in order to avoid feeling bad, due to their natural empathy. Unfortunately we don't have that denial option.

alan k


Re: Why do people not understand?!?

Robin B. on 1/15/00 at 00:00 (014796)

You're right -- people absolutely do not understand the pain of PF.

However -- the longer I live with this condition, the more I come to have a far better appreciation for chronic pain of all types. The truth is, 4 or 5 years ago, I wouldn't have understood either. PF wasn't part of my vocabulary, or my experience. If I saw someone fairly young riding around in Walmart or the grocery store in one of those motorized carts, I would think how lazy they were -- how they might feel better if they got out and exercised. Frankly, I was a fairly self-righteous jerk.

PF has certainly opened my eyes, in addition to knocking me on my butt. In a couple of years, I have come to realize that every day I probably pass by dozens of very 'normal' looking people who live with chronic pain of one type of another -- and that it's the pain that may cause them (or us) to be short, sharp, unpleasant or just sluggish.

I'm going on two years with PF, although I am starting to slowly recover. This condition has turned my life upside down for nearly two years and has forced me to accommodate just about everything I do (or want to do but can't) to my feet. There were definitely places I didn't go, things I didn't do and people I didn't see. At the same time, it has taught me a lot that I would never have learned any other way.

You may find that you lose some friends (a term used loosely here) who don't want to take the time or make the effort to understand that you have a temporary disability that doesn't shoe. You will have others who will make the effort and try to help. Overall, PF is a humbling experience that, for me anyway, has taught me much more about myself than about others.


Re: Why do people not understand?!?/ Reply

Elise M. on 1/16/00 at 00:00 (014809)

Hi Maryann,
Pain is a very subjective thing. My pain will not be the same as yours nor will you be able to understand my pain despite repeated attempts to describe it. My hubby was very skeptical of the level of my pain till he saw me crawling across the floor crying on my way to the bathroom. I took care of many patients in my 28 years as a nurse and one particular patient stands out in my mind. He'd had a hemorrhoidectomy done and was paralyzed with pain attempting to walk to the bathroom. It wasn't until I had similar surgery that I could appreciate/understand the level of pain this poor man sustained. I served myself up a BIG slice of humble pie for thinking and muttering to myself that this man was just a big baby. Experience will always be the best teacher. The comraderie we share here is because we are all living through the experience. Who else, but your own kind could possibly understand? Feel better.....................Elise

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

MaryAnn O on 1/16/00 at 00:00 (014823)

Thanks everyone, you sure made this an interesting post to read!! I relate what to what everyone said!! I too, get the feeling people think I am making more out of this than it really is, if they only knew!!!! If I got a book about how to deal with pain that is just in my head from family, I would be very hurt.
I am glad that I have this board, Thanks everyone!
MaryAnn

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

Allan G on 1/16/00 at 00:00 (014837)

Hi All
True Plantar Fascciitis causes a swelling of the Plantar attachment under the heel. A Diagnostic Ultrasound can very quickly tell you if you have true Plantar Fasciitis. The tendon attachment is normally under 4mm thick , and both feet should be the same. Chronic Plantar Fasciitis has been successfully treated with ESWT (Orthopaedic Lithotripsy) for years now.In Australia we are achieving 75% success on patients who have failed all conservative therapies. For more information contact your nearest Dornier Medtech site.

Re: Why do people not understand?!?

Dan W on 1/17/00 at 00:00 (014865)

Wendy as usual your post is, insightful and amusing, thank you.