Footsore, but not from walking

My main form of exercise is walking.

I’ve tried other forms: bike-riding and free weights; if you ever visit my place, you’ll see the weights in my living room. The problem is these other exercise routines take up too much time. I need exercises that take the absolute minimum of time to set up; the more preparation, the less likely it is that I’ll do it.

Walking turns out to be the best compromise. When I get home from work, I get out of my car and immediately walk briskly around my neighborhood for half an hour, listening to audiobooks on my iPod. I don’t walk into my apartment until the walk is over. Once I enter my home, it’s not likely I’ll leave it again that evening: my cats will demand attention; the mail (both regular and electronic) needs to be read; it’s far too easy to succumb to inertia.

Anyone who knows me (or looks at my profile picture) can tell that I’m not a slim, well-muscled figure of godliness. Still, this exercise is enough; it helps keep my blood sugar and weight under control.

So far, so good.

About three weeks ago I get a small cut on the base of my foot, just before I have to go a business trip. All foot wounds can be serious for a long-time diabetic like me, but I’ve self-treated this kind of thing before. I pack up some extra band-aids and antibiotic ointment and go off on my trip.

The problem is that the cut is on the ball of my foot. As I’m moving around, the bandage slips and sock lint rubs into the cut. I work out a scheme of multiple band-aids to cover the injury, but it’s too late: the wound ulcerates.

I cut short my business trip, go back home, and make an emergency visit to my podiatrist. I’ve seen this doctor for years, since about 1995. He’s very good about healing these kinds of foot injuries. He commends me for cutting short the trip, applies a dressing, and gives me instructions: I have to keep the dressing dry, so I have to shower with a "baggie" on my foot; no heavy walking, to keep stress of the wound.


The "foot baggie" is not a problem; they make special covers for people with casts so they can bathe and shower, and I bought one of those at a local medical supply store. The problem is that I can’t do my usual walking exercises.

The podiatrist has changes the dressing once per week since then. The ulcer is healing nicely, and when he’s done I know you won’t be able to tell that there ever any wound at all; this is not the first time he’s dealt with this kind of injury on my feet. But it’s been three weeks since I’ve been able to exercise, and at my current rate of healing it will be at least two more.

It’s a teeny, tiny little spot on the base of my left foot. For a non-diabetic, it would be nothing. But even minor foot injuries can be nasty for diabetics; my maternal grandmother had both her legs amputated due to diabetes-related wounds. She ignored the advice the doctors gave her about foot care; I am not anxious to repeat her experience.

I can feel the side effects from lack of exercise, but there doesn’t seem to be much I can do. I keep off my feet, think healing thoughts, and hope the next dressing change will be the last one.

I’m just kvetching. In the long run, I’ll be fine. But I want this darned dressing off my foot! I need my walks!

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  1. sabrinamari

    This is rough! I know the ill effects of no exercise: they include grumpiness, weight gain, short temper, and a sense of malaise (at least in me!).

    Hmmmm, my gym has a device at which you can sit and use your arms to turn a sort of arm cycle…do you have any kind of gym nearby that you might use, perhaps on a trial basis, for a couple of weeks?

    What about swimming? Is there anywhere you can swim?

    1. wgseligman

      My experience with gyms has not been good. Not that the people aren’t nice, but they always ask: “Do you have any health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, SF fandom…” and other things that I have.

      When I admit that I do, they ask for a note from my doctor, which is a reasonable thing for them to do. By the time I work through the bureaucracy of getting that note (which says, “Yes! Yes! Yes! Get him to exercise!”) it’s been a month, and my sense of incentive has worn away.

      I’d love to swim, but I can’t right now because of that dressing on my foot. I have the “foot baggie”, but it’s not good enough to handle a swimming pool.

      So if I’m grumpy for the next couple of weeks, you know why.

  2. freyas_fire

    They used to make a little contraption that you could place underneath a desk, and essentially “bicycle” while sitting down. It would give your legs the movement they need without putting uncomfortable pressure on the foot. Here’s one on Amazon, but I’m sure you can find them much cheaper.
    Also, can you use the liquid bandage stuff? They sell that in the same section as the band aids. Might be an alternative to regular bandages should it happen again. It coats the wound and would not move around like a regular bandage. Not sure if it’s something safe that a diabetic could use, though – ask your doctor to be safe.

    Hope the grumpiness abates soon! 🙂

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