The following is Sarah's first-hand account:
"When 2021 began, I set a goal of completing 52 hikes in 52 weeks. The goal was not a strict one hike per week but to simply complete 52 hikes over the course of the year. The challenge forced me out of my comfort zone to explore new trails and new parts of Colorado. I had so much fun enjoying sweet time on the trails with friends and family and I loved witnessing changes in the landscape throughout various seasons of the year. By the time summer wildflowers were in full swing I was hiking several times a week and was well ahead of pace to finish my 52 for the year.
Unfortunately, with the increase in mileage I began to experience strange sensations in one of my feet. It would feel hot and sometimes sore in the ball of my foot after a long hike. Throughout July this morphed into pain that I could no longer ignore. By August it was so painful I stopped all hiking. I didn't want to walk around my kitchen, let alone hit the trails. I still did not know the cause but hoped, with rest, the pain would subside.
By the end of the month, there were no improvements. My buffer of extra hikes still meant 52 was possible for the year, but I was doubtful my foot would heal enough to make that happen. I finally scheduled an appointment with a foot and ankle specialist. He was pretty certain I had developed a neuroma. He said if I wanted to be 100% certain, we could do an MRI and that treatments frequently include cortisone injections. But before we went down that expensive road, he wanted me to start with trying insoles that would offer extra metatarsal support, take the pressure off of that point in my foot, and also support my high arches.
I was extremely skeptical, given the level of pain I was experiencing, that insoles would be effective. However, I was willing to give them a try before paying for far more expensive imaging and treatment. My doctor had strong opinions on which insoles were worth using and PowerStep was one that he recommended. I ordered both the Pulse Plus Met and the Pinnacle Plus Met pads to try out in different types of shoes.
I tore open the package when they arrived, eager to see if they would make any difference (but fairly certain it would be minimal, if anything). I could not believe the difference they made! The first week or two my husband and kids would laugh at me as I walked dramatically in front of them declaring. "Look! I'm walking....withOUT PAIN!"
Thankful to be back to walking around with normalcy, I eventually got brave enough to try out my new insoles on the trail. In November, armed with new hiking boots (with a wider footbox) and my Pinnacle Plus Met pads, I ventured out on my first return hike. I hiked over six miles that day and felt great. I think I teared up as I realized that I could truly get back to my favorite outdoor activities. Hiking is stress-relieving and life-giving for me. I hadn't allowed myself to fully process what it would mean if I had to give it up for good due to injury.
I'm so thankful to be back at it. Neuromas don't go away. I do feel it mildly at the end of my longer hikes but I've never returned to feeling the pain I had this summer and without my PowerStep insoles I wouldn't be hiking at all.
On December 30th at Rocky Mountain National Park, I completed my 52nd hike for the year! It was snowy, and windy, and -1F but my family were troopers and came with me. The adventure felt like a real celebration of completing a goal that I was sure I was going to have to give up on before my Dr. recommended PowerStep."
Photo taken after completing her 52nd hike. Congratulations, Sarah!
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