Coping with Bartonella Foot Pain

A full two and a half years prior to my Lyme diagnosis, I experienced what I now know to be one of the hallmark symptoms of Bartonella. It started with numbness in my feet and feeling like I was walking on rocks. That first day, I literally removed my shoe to get a rock out. No rock!

Since I was already living with multiple sclerosis, which can cause sensation abnormalities such as this, I headed off to my neurologist. We were a little bit stumped when my MRI came back without any new lesions (usually there’s a lesion to accompany sudden symptoms) but he treated me with steroids anyway. It never got better.

I went on to be diagnosed by a podiatrist as having plantar fascittis. It was a little odd to me because I am not at all overweight, and I don’t partake in hardly any running or other high impact exercise that’d affect my feet.

Nonetheless, I started treatment for PF. This meant acupuncture, physical therapy and a lot of at-home care. You name it, I tried it. And even before I found the true cause of this pain, I was able to get it very well under control. The things I found worked best for me include (roughly in order of impact):

  1. Never ever going barefoot, not even on midnight trips to the loo. At all times I wore something with really good arch support:
    • Anti-pronation sneakers; I went to a running store and they analyzed my gate and made a recommendation.Asics Gel Kayano as the model that work best for me.
    • Sole inserts used in shoes that otherwise have NO support (I found adding them to shoes with a little support worked even worse… doubling up is as bad as going without). Think, Converse sneakers. Size shoes up half a size to make room for the inserts.
    • Sole flip flops for around the house.
    • As I improved, Birkenstocks and Halfinger brand slippers also became options.
  2. Using this pro stretch at least 2x a day to keep my hamstrings, calves and Achilles lose.
  3. Using a belt to stretch stretch stretch my Achilles.Seated-Calf-Stretch
  4. I strengthened my feet by standing on my tip toes 25-50x in a row 3 times a day. First both feet at a time, then one foot at a time (all weight on that foot).
  5. Rolling my feet on a frozen water bottle 2-3x a day to reduce inflammation.
  6. Keeping a lacrosse ball under my desk to roll my feet on 2-3x a day to break up scar tissue.
  7. Using the stick on calves to keep them loose.

Now that I am properly diagnosed with late-stage Lyme disease and am treating my Bartonella co-infection, my foot pain is soooo much better. I still haven’t given up my arch support (honestly, it’s possible I never will be able to go without this) but I find I can spend short bursts barefoot no problem. Those midnight trips to the bathroom, they feel wild and free these days.

Hope these tips help someone out there still suffering!

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