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August 25, 2016
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Fred Flintstone Feet

One of the big issues I've been dealing with this summer is swollen feet and legs. I've had a bit of a history of this happening in hot, humid weather; a particularly bad episode is what led to my diabetes diagnosis eleven years ago. Except for an adverse reaction to Norvasc (a blood pressure medication), the matter — along with a diagnosis of chronic venous insufficiency in my left leg — has been reasonably managed by compression hose. A positive side effect of the compression hose has been to almost completely eliminate the recurring episodes of chronic pain resulting from a history of several severe sprains to my left ankle.

This summer, all of that went *poof*. While our hot, humid July was not without its climatological contribution, it's been difficult to tell if, and to what degree, my retail job has contributed to the situation, and what might be attributable to the Cartia the doc prescribed for additional blood pressure control. The compression hose has become increasingly less effective, leaving me with ankle bulges that don't disappear, muffin-top knees at day's end, and Fred Flintstone feet.

You've never heard of Fred Flintstone feet? Take a look at the 1960's-era cartoons again. Fred's feet, which run the Flintmobile that gets him and the family everywhere they need to go, is foot-powered ("by the courtesy of Fred's two feet"). Rather than being specifically masculine, their balls are barely indicated on the bottoms when he's seated, and are pretty much without any visible curvature that reads "foot", and often appear swollen to the modern eye. They look like block-shaped blow-up balloons. His BFF Barney's feet are about the same. Meanwhile, the high-heel-sporting wives, Wilma and Betty, have perfectly shaped feet which show little disfiguration from the many hours they spend standing doing housework, nor from the toebox constriction of their shoes.

I probably wouldn't be as concerned about the Fred Flintstone feet if they only happened at the end of the day, after eight hours of standing and walking, or if it went away when the hot, humid weather broke. Unfortunately, the issue starts the second I swing my legs over the side of the bed, before I even set my feet down on the carpet. The compression hose doesn't appear to be doing much, nor does tight-lacing my sneakers and Oxford-style shoes. Worse, for the past few days I've been experiencing the sort of ankle pain that I've associated with sprains (or their years-afterwards sequelae). I deliberately chose to keep my feet elevated for most of my day off, trying to give my foot a chance to heal. Unfortunately, the Fred Flintstone Foot followed me around all day, and I'm able to feel minor swelling throughout my calves. Last night, the swelling expanded to the outer side and outside bottom of my left foot, resulting in the sort of chronic outer-edge foot pain I've been experiencing for most of the past year.

On the plus side, it's not so bad that I won't be able to put on socks and shoes tomorrow. On the minus side, most adverse effects of medication cause permanent damage (see: why I can't take diuretics at all), and I can't see spending the rest of my life with the sort of discomfort and movement issues this issue has been causing. The swelling is adversely affecting my ability to feel in assorted and changing places from my toes to my thighs. Worses yet, my medical plan means it will be another two months before I will be able to visit the doctor to figure out what we can do about it. Other than stopping the Cartia and seeing if it will return my feet and legs to normal and keep them there.

There's got to be a better solution. After all, this isn't the Stone Age.

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