My doctor has told me I have Plantar Fasciitis. I went to him today complaining of painful heels, especially in the mornings, and pain later on in the day after standing and walking.
Its been going on for more than two months now, ever since I walked and danced around Munich, Germany, in this year’s Rathayatra back in May. It was a great pleasure on the day: bright sunshine, lots of happy devotees, and an appreciative German public, you know the score. But whether it was my bad choice of footwear – rubbery Crocs – or whether it was my slightly-too-enthusiastic-jumping-for-my-age or whether it’s just normal wear and tear – I don’t know. But I do know they hurt.
I have not been very kind to my feet over the years. Thirty-five years and more of using my feet, often bare, in walking, standing, dancing and jumping without so much as a massage must constitute some kind of abuse. If my feet were independent personalities I am sure they would sue me for ill treatment.
Back in 1986 I was the first Englishman to complete the 128-mile barefoot pilgrimage around the sacred land of Vraja in northern India. The first four days were torture – no exaggeration – but after that my feet seemed to appreciate all that wonderful, holy sand and bare earth. I was walking as Lord Krishna walked, in the places He walked, and the month-long walk served to bring me closer to Him.
Srila Prabhupada cautioned that the ‘Kali Yuga pavement was not meant for bare feet’ and warned his disciples to always wear shoes on hard surfaces. However, I serve in a large building with wooden floors, often cold, and I am always in bare feet or thin socks. Not good.
Anyway, my diagnosis means that I will wear thicker socks, do remedial foot movements, and wear gel cushions in my soles for a few months. If you see me wince any time, you’ll know why.