Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hypersensitive

One of the things that amazed Jeff after he broke his foot was how incredible everything felt after he got his foot out of the boot. He told me that the first time he was able to touch his foot to the carpet, every sensation was heightened. The carpet just felt bizarre. He said that the sensations lasted for a while as he relearned to walk. Occasionally he would have to stop just to rub his foot on the floor to feel how odd it felt.

I'd been having similar feelings. Since I'm able to take my foot out of the boot earlier I noticed how the bottom of my foot was much more sensitive. The carpet had a roughness and texture that I simply didn't notice with my other foot. The throw blanket we have on our couch was almost painfully soft. The first time I draped it over my bare foot, I gasped. It was wild.

I mentioned this to my physical therapist and her eyes got wide. She asked me to describe the sensations. I said that things just "felt more...just more" (I'm so eloquent sometimes). She immediately followed up that she was glad I had mentioned it. Apparently when limbs, particularly feet, are unused for too long the nerves become hypersensitive. At the early stage this is not a terrible thing. Sensations are heightened and the person tends to find this interesting rather than scary. But if hypersensitivity is left unchecked, the sensations quickly become painful. Suddenly just touching a fabric to the foot would be like stabbing it with pins. Too much sensitivity is apparently not a good thing.

So part of my physical therapy is to rub my foot on any texture that feels heightened. I've been rubbing the bottom of my foot along the carpet, the walls, the linoleum, blankets,... pretty much anything. I recently noticed that our bath mats felt amazing so I spent ten minute rubbing my foot along them. I'm sure it's starting to make Jeff a bit concerned about me. It's a bit odd to be working to make myself less sensitive. But I have noticed that since I've started walking more, these sensations are growing. Nerves are an amazing thing. Hopefully mine decide to function properly again. At least once I get my boot off.

2 comments:

Lonster said...

This post reminded me of the scene from Disney's "The Jungle Book", when Baloo the bear gets an itch on his back and tries rubbing different things on it until it finally scratches his itch away.

I would think you would try to get Jeff to give you foot rubs. "But, the therapist said I needed rubs on my foot!"

Cat B said...

Well I do lumber around a bit like Baloo. :-)

I tried that tactic but I think after taking care of my surgery wounds for four weeks, Jeff not so interested in touching my feet again for a while. Plus it does live in a foam boot. Not the prettiest foot right now.