In a previous post I described how I use homeopathy when I have a cold. I thought I'd describe how I use homeopathy for problems with my feet. This will also explain how I became introduced to homeopathy. If you're not interested in homeopathy, feel free to skip this post.
I lived in Massachusetts for 17 years, and I did a lot of hiking in Massachusetts and New Hampshire during the 12 years that I was a Scoutmaster. New England has 48 peaks that are above 4000 feet elevation, and it is a tradition, known as peak bagging, among many hikers to climb those peaks. In my 17 years, I climbed two of them, the highest (Mt. Washington, 6288 feet) and the lowest (Mt. Tecumseh, 4003 feet). My two climbs of Washington were with my scout troop, and my climb of Tecumseh was with my family. On our way down Tecumseh, my kids ran down the trail, and my youngest daughter sprained her ankle. I did the traditional first-aid on her foot (RICE), but it took her about a month to recover from that sprain.
Not too long after my daughter's sprain, one of my scouts (Jeff) sprained his ankle, and a week later he was running around as if nothing had happened. I asked his mother why Jeff had such a quick recovery, and she introduced me to homeopathic remedies. She explained that she gave three remedies to Jeff. First was Arnica Montana, which should be given for any injury to help the body overcome shock. Next was Ruta Graveolens which helps the tendons heal. Third was Rhus Tox which helps the muscles heal. I was impressed with the difference in healing between my daughter and Jeff, especially since they were about the same age.
I was also interested in Rhus Tox, because I was leaving in a week for a week-long backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that would cover 50 miles of hiking and our first hike of Mt. Washington. This was during the time when, even though I was running, I was still having a lot of pain in my feet after several hours of Saturday yard work on my feet. That pain was peculiar, because it was reduced by movement. When I would first get up on Sunday morning, my feet would be very stiff and painful, but after walking around for a few minutes, the stiffness would go away and the pain was reduced. Jeff's mother suggested that I take Rhus Tox with me, because it is helpful when movement reduced stiffness and pain. I thought, "It's worth a try", and I put Rhus Tox in my backpack and took it during the week.
I had no problems at all with my feet during that week. I hiked 50 miles, climbed Mt. Washington 1 1/2 times (the half-climb was the evening before our full climb so I could check out the trail. The peak is 3500 feet [elevation change] above the trail head). No problems at all...until...until Saturday, the eighth and last day of our week. We were hiking 7 miles back to our cars and my feet began to hurt. I had run out of Rhus Tox on Thursday, and after two days of hiking without the remedy, my pain returned. After that trip, I was a confirmed believer in homeopathy. I've used Rhus Tox many times when I have stiff feet after several hours of being on my feet, and I believe it is helpful.
Ok, now back to my current problem of sore feet after 8 or so miles of running. I've explained that I believe the problem is due to my running fewer miles after stopping my marathon training while in Massachusetts, and my running even fewer miles per week after moving to Utah 14 years ago. For the past 2 1/2 years, after I recovered from my auto accident in August 2004, I've had an intense running program in which I started my post-accident running with 1/8 mile and two years later ran the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon. That running put a lot of stress on my 70+ year old body. That stress was increased by a double hernia operation, 10 big skin cancer surgeries (including several skin grafts, one with pig skin), and surgery to remove my gall bladder. Since that half marathon, I've been running 30-33 miles/per week, including fartleks and intervals and hill workouts. It has been a stressful 2 1/2 years, and apparently my foot muscles deteriorated during my years of reduced running and can't fully handle the intensity of my current training. My body needs more time to rebuild the muscles.
I still hope to run the Salt Lake City Half Marathon on April 21, but I won't be able to finish it very well if I continue to have the problem with my left foot. To give my feet time to begin healing, I'm planning on reducing the distances I run during the last two weeks of my training, and I will go through my normal two-week taper to the race. In addition, I'll be taking Arnica and Rhus Tox if I experience soreness again, and I'm taking daily dosages of Ruta between now and the race. I'm confident that my body will respond and strengthen the muscles in my feet, but I won't know for sure until race-day. As I've explained in the past, homeopathic remedies act as a catalyst to get my body to heal itself, and it all depends if I give my body enough rest and if my body does heal itself during the next four weeks.
This problem seems like a biggie right now, but in a few weeks when I look back on it, it will just be a small burp in my life.