During the latter years of walking in the Spirit to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, my feet were in severe pain at times but I ignored the pain and pushed on,...and apparently damaged the nerve endings on the bottems of the bones of my feet known as the Metatarsus.
The first Podiatrist I visited took x-rays of my feet and found them perfect; but after hearing of the pain I was in regularly; he recognized I was afflicted with "PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY."
He had no solutions for the problem and the pain killers my General Practitioner prescribed were knock-outs. How anyone can live under the influence of chemicals making them so "woozy" they can't function or feel good, I do not know; but here is what the medical profession has to say about them:
Drugs such as Gabapentin (Neurontin), topiramate (Topamax), pregabalin (Lyrica), carbamazepine (Tegretol) and phenytoin (Dilantin) were originally developed to treat epilepsy. However, doctors often also prescribe them for nerve pain.
Side effects may include drowsiness and dizziness. But why take drugs some Chemist has concocted in a laboratory when you know its not going to solve your problem? They have other remedies they will sell to you if you are foolish enough to buy them, but if you are wise; you might be able to help yourself.
Some people are in such pain they cannot touch anything with the bottoms of their feet. The problem can become so degenerate some feel no pain at all because their feet are numb.
There are five Metatarsals in each foot collectively known as the Metatarsus. They are numbered 1 to 5, starting from the 'big-toe' side of the foot. The entire section you see below as "H" in the diagram is wounded on the bottoms of the bones of my feet.
You will not immediately recognize the skeleton of a foot. The skeleton is sewn together by sinews and muscles and is held together by flesh and the fatty cushions we walk on to protect the nerve endings.
If it seems odd to be told there are nerve endings at the bottoms of your feet, remember your childhood when someone tickled your feet and made you laugh and jump to get away. They were tickling sensitive nerve endings God Almighty built into the bottoms of our feet so we can feel where we are walking.
You probably won't recognize your toes as E, F, & G in this diagram, because most people are unmindful
their toes are made up of bones and joints. And the Metatarsus feels like all one unit when we put our
hands on our feet, but there are five Metatarsal bones there:
My feet descended into PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY without my seeing it coming although there were plenty of warnings, and many attempts to solve the foot pain I was experiencing as my feet grew worse. I had never heard of the affliction until it was too late. Had I known what I know now, I could have brought the nerve damage to a halt at its earlier stages and would still be walking normally today.
The day of reckoning came when I could not walk from my vehicle into a facility not more than a hundred feet away from parking. My feet were screaming in pain. And I was trapped.
The orthopedic world had nothing ready for my affliction.
People with SEVERE PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY usually land in wheel chairs where they sit all day long suffering continually in their feet along with the misery of pain killer drugs and when they climb into bed they cannot sleep well because their feet are groaning in pain.
The pain was so bad I could not go very far at all to find materials to invent orthopedic shoes. My feet were screaming so loud I could barely think once inside a store. The situation was desperate.
Fortunately I had savings, a wife to help me run the errands and was retired so I had time to invent something to keep me walking. I spent thousands of dollars over the next few years developing many different styles of orthopedic shoes for my feet with the advantage of having my feet talk to me.
My feet became my laboratory on foot whereas our nation's podiatrists are at a disadvantage coming out of school into the real world to design solutions for feet problems. Most of them have good feet, and those who don't have good feet brought no answers for SEVERE PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY from America's schools.
I do not prescribe my shoe designs for anyone, so I am not practicing medicine; nor would I want to. I am providing good counsel for all with ears to hear. If you have access to foams and rubbers and sandals and a shoemaker, you can probably make your own Orthopedic solution.
I purchased about thirty pairs of inexpensive sandals to make it easier to perfect them and free me up to test various foams and rubbers knowing it would be a while before we found the right combination.
I cannot stand barefoot on the carpet at home or wear any kind of footwear or orthopedic shoes on the market. The bottoms of the Metatarsus bones will not tolerate touching anything due to the painful nerve damage of SEVERE PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY, so standing with two hundred and twenty pounds weighing down on my wounded feet is very difficult to endure for very long.
I had the straps of my sandals lengthened considerably. My shoemaker sewed velcro onto the lengthened leather straps so they can be more easily adjusted for various situations to produce as little pressure upon the Metatarsus bones where all of the weight of our bodies presses down as we walk (although those with normal feet pay little attention to it while I have sometimes felt like I was walking on cut glass or hot coals of fire.)
When I sit, I take my orthopedic sandals off and place my heels on a pad covered with a lighter user friendly five pound memory foam so the Metatarsus bones are not touching anything or I twist my feet over on their sides on the stack of padding on the floor and in this way I can remain seated for long periods of time. And so I have been enabled by the Light of the Lord to program this website library while crippled in my feet with SEVERE PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY over the past several years and have retained some ability to walk to my vehicle, drive to errands primarily where retailers provide battery driven shopping carts, going in on foot and returning to my vehicle without getting into too much pain.
I do have to limit the number of errands I run in a day if I want to be able to walk at home and not knock my feet out for weeks at a time. Once afflicted with SEVERE PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY there is a very small margin of error. I must wear the right orthopedic shoe design for the situation and change foam pads right on time or I will suffer a severe headache in my feet sometimes for weeks.
Foams of every kind lose their resiliency very quickly. They do not last more than three days and sometimes need to be changed daily.
This first photograph is of a pair of sandals modified by my shoemaker. There are two main modifications visible in the picture. If you look closely you can see the heels of the sandals were spliced open and leather inserts were sewn in to raise the heels higher to make room for thick foam pads and soft rubber heels of various kinds and combinations. The heels on the sandals I am presently wearing have been raised approximately double the height you see in the picture and there are sandals in stock raised to triple the height but you can only walk on so much foam and rubber.
It will be difficult for you to discern when you look at the front straps in the picture,
how much they have been lengthened; but manufacturer's provide minimum
strap lengths with the original purchase of their sandals so my shoemaker has
added quite a bit of length to my sandals along with maximum strips of velcro
to provide better control of how much pressure is exerted on the wounded Metatarsus bones.
The sandals I bought in a large quanities in different sizes from size ten to twelve are FADED GLORY sold at WalMart, but I am sure there are much better sandals on the market somewhere.
AIR WALK had a much better sandals design before the company sold its line, and though I searched quite a few Air Walk outlets for it; along with the Internet; it apparently is no longer in production.
So I kept to one product to avoid confusing the design process. There were some very tough questions to answer: (1) What size sandals to wear since oversized foam pads were needed for the Metatarsus bones to sink in to without the wound areas resting on the edges where pressure is greater? (2) What kind of foams to use? (3) What kind of materials beneath the foams should be used because the wounded Metatarsus bones were super sensitized to what was beneath. (4) What kind of soft rubber to use for heels within the Orthopedic design? (5) How high to raise the heels of the sandals to allow for padding designs to be inserted? (6) How to modify the strap lengths with velcro to allow for maximum control of pressure upon the front and the back of the feet? (7) And ultimately the sum of the matter would be whether or not materials chosen were affordable, even though I have savings; the cost of foams and rubber materials is exceedingly high and has to be taken into consideration. And we want to give special thanks to those dealers who raised the prices of some materials sky high when they saw how dependent I was on them, forcing me back to the drawing board to continue to invent new designs with other materials.
We are several years into the process, and I would be glad to try another leather sandal with straps if the soles were much more plyable and softer.
Meanwhile, I have put this article up on my website library so the afflicted can make their own orthopedic shoes based on the designs shown in this article with the understanding marketing rights belong to myself and to my heirs. Podiatrists are also welcome to contact me to collaborate on designs based on my research not only for sandals but for customized shoes as long as long as it is understood my rights as an inventor and designer are to be recognized properly. Manufacturers are also welcome to produce orthopedic shoes based on my designs as long as proper royalties are paid to myself and my heirs. This entire website and its articles are regularly copyrighted.
Foams have a very short resiliency lifespan which means foam has to be changed every three days for cases of SEVERE PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY, but foam really should be changed on the same schedule for anyone wishing to guard their already wounded Metatarsus from developing into a more severe problem.
I have found eight pound memory foam made in America to be the most resilient foam available at this time. Remember, it has to be able to bounce back from all of your weight coming down on it so the next step you take is ready to absorb your weight and bounce back again. There are some memory foams particularly from the Orient that do not bounce back up. They are of little or no use in the making of Orthopedic sandals.
After three days, American made eight pound memory foam still has the same form but the resiliency to bounce back is no longer there. Lesser weights of American made memory foam such as five pound, lack the density to absorb the weight of the body coming down on it and are no good for walking. They are feather light to the touch however, and are good for resting afflicted feet while seated.
I use C110 for longer lasting heels with sufficient bounce to keep the bones of my heels from developing SEVERE PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY, since my heels must carry much of my weight now in walking; and the heels must move the weight of my body just right or my wounded Metatarsus bones will tell me immediately.
The advice of my wounded feet is the advantage I have been given in designing Orthopedic shoes
If the heels are made too high, they push the weight of my body forward onto my wounded Metatarsus too quickly and there is pain, and if the heels are made too low, the Metatarsus are pressured immediately from the thick padding and there is pain. When the heels are made just the right height with the right design in length and slope, I step forward onto my heels using a cane to balance me, and very lightly roll my weight forward over the Metatarsus so they receive minimum stress.
When I stop walking, I stand with my weight on my heels; and if it looks like there will be a delay for any reason, I find a seat if possible. SEVERE PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY allows only a very limited walking distance daily when the Orthopedic shoes are right. If the Orthopedic shoes are not right, the Metatarsus will be screaming; and the pads must be changed right away.
Nerve damage is capable of regenerating, given sufficient rest. I first experienced this truth when my left leg was diagnosed with nerve damage from lifting too much weight on the leg machines at the gym. I took a year off to begin programming this website, and my leg stopped falling asleep with a few exceptions as long as I no longer put too much weight or stress on it. This was the beginning of my becoming crippled years before PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY set in.
By the time PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY set in, I had already learned of the wonders of ice packs using zip lock bags for maximizing the freezing effect on the afflicted areas of my back, and so I learned to use smaller ice pellets in quart sized zip lock bags on my feet particularly before going to sleep with a urinal on the bed to help me refrain from standing on my feet in the night to go to the bathroom.
The smaller ice pellet trays were purchased at K-mart and they are worth it. Large ice cubes in a zip lock bag are too big and heavy and sharp for feet afflicted with PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY, but if you don't have the smaller pellet ice trays; its better to crush your ice before setting your Metatarsus bones into it for several minutes every night and during the day if your feet are in pain.
By reducing the swelling on the wounded Metatarsus bones, the pain is almost always immediately gone as long as the afflicted individual does not stand on his feet. The afflicted individual must keep from touching anything with their wounded feet while sleeping including the heavy bedding. If nerve damage is to regenerate a little to your advantage while you are sleeping, you have to leave off all contact with your wounded feet.
I am tall and have a wrought iron bed frame open at the bottom so I can push my feet through it and lie on my stomach reducing pressure on my lower back and keep my feet from touching anything.
I have used EVA, a soft rubber, beneath the eight pound memory foam pads and Q61 foam works well, retains its resilience for a week or more but is incredibly expensive and has to be replaced regularly at about the same rate as EVA.
EVA comes in so many different formula's, its been a problem for years getting just the right formula, but it can work well beneath the eight pound memory foam as padding and lasts about the same amount of time as Q61 foam.
Dan Tack works well in cementing foams together after cutting them into pads with almost harmless electric scissors. I keep patterns made from tougher more firm rubbers to measure my pads on large sheets of raw materials using a fat felt tip pen.
I try to stock up a year ahead with raw materials and three months ahead with cut pads in stock. When you have SEVERE PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY on the bottoms of your Metatarsus bones, you cannot afford to run out of raw materials or you will not be able to walk very far to obtain replacements.
The pads you see pictured here were one of the
earlier designs before I realized the need for soft resilient
long lasting heels. The camera flash obscured the
difference in the colors between the two foams in use,
but the back heel and the bottom portions were cut from
tougher more resilient Q61 foam a favorite for use in higher
quality furniture and foam beds while soft memory foam was
inserted in the front top of the pads where the Metatarsus touches down.
In this next photograph, you can see the difference in the foams
more clearly and how the pad designs fit into the modified sandals
to form one of the earlier Orthopedic sandal designs.
If you were to have shoes customized for you, you would have the shoemaker raise the insides of the shoes sufficiently for the regular replacement of pads.
I find it strange when people in the shoe industry say they have pads to sell which will last a year and some of them glorify their product so much as to promise to replace them if they don't hold up; but I can tell you from my experience with foams, ...I haven't found a foam that is good for more than ten days. The lie works only because people have God given pads on the bottoms of their feet protecting them as they walk, so they don't notice their pads have gone bad. If they try telling the same thing to someone with SEVERE PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY, the feet of the afflicted will call them a liar.
Meanwhile, the thin pads Podiatrists recommend for placement in regular shoes cannot solve the problem for those afflicted with PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY. And since there is no more space inside a regular pair of shoes or sneakers; they will not stop the advance of PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY into a severe case.
There is a certain EVA type of soft flexible rubber that is good for the making of flip flops that I have not been able to identify, but the two pairs I was able to wear out a few years ago gave me a terrific break from pain. Most of the flip flops on the market are made of inexpensive hard materials and are useless to those of us afflicted in our feet. Flip flops are good in the warmer States, so please forgive my indiscretion if you live in snow country.
With the right kind of soft flexible durable material in the making of flip flops, there would be no pressure on the Metatarsus bones. But the idea hasn't caught on in our Podiatry schools, so it hasn't worked its way into the medical industry where the people go for answers. America really needs its Podiatry Schools to catch up with technology.
We have the materials here in America to make life bearable for those afflicted with PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY.
Lets get to work!