Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Feet Are Changing!

During the past couple of weeks my right knee has been giving me trouble.  I go at my usual breakneck speed on the cross trainer – no problem there – but when I’m lying in bed at night there’s a disagreeable ache in the back, the fleshy part, of my knee and another one along the front of my shin, not conducive to falling asleep.  I know from past experience that my knee is probably fine.  This is a job for Dr. Hoffman. 

In an earlier post, “Respect the Feet,” (10/1/2011), I have written about my adventures as a podiatry patient.  I have custom-made orthotics, built up on the right side to compensate for my slightly shorter right leg. The orthotics get adjusted several times a year and my feet are fine.  Usually the adjustments are minor and I can identify the offending spots myself.  Sometimes I tape little pieces of cardboard to the orthotics to check out my theories.  This time I had no clue.  I brought the orthotic in to Dr. Hoffman and described what was happening.  He disappeared into his workroom for a minute or two and emerged with the orthotic considerably filed down, not just a tweak but a major change, and a change in the direction of greater stability.  Something between my hip and my foot has improved and I’d love to know what and why.

Two possibilities occur to me.  One is that I’ve been working on leg strength for six weeks or so, doing the Legs and Back workout in P90X about once a week.  This workout has plenty in it for feet as well as legs and I think it has also helped my balance.  The second possibility is more intriguing:  maybe the change has something to do with diet.  About a month ago I read about new research at the University of Texas Medical in Galveston about maintaining muscle mass as you age.  The resulting recommendations were that you eat at least 20 but no more than 30 grams of protein at each of three meals a day (“Get Older, Stay Strong,” 3/18/2012).  At that point I changed my breakfast routine.  I still have oatmeal and toast but I have added cottage cheese (14 grams of protein per ½ cup).  Some days I have eggs (6 grams each).  The oatmeal and toast have protein too but only about 5 grams each.  Perhaps this new regimen is helping my muscles, including those in my right leg.

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