If anyone is interested in an update regarding the problems I've faced since walking across the United States last year (self-diagnosed piriformis syndrome), here ya go:
I think it's been five months since I first posted here (nine months since my difficulties began), and it's still hard for me to walk. At times I've been really focused on stretching and staying well-hydrated, but at other times I've kind of slacked off. I've felt a gradual change throughout these last five months, which feels like improvement, yet it's still really hard for me to walk, and I can't run or jog. Even though I feel definite improvment in some ways, sometimes I think I've declined in other ways. Also, people have told me I look like I have more trouble walking now than I did five months ago.
One major improvement has been in my feet. For several months my feet were cold, purple, and numb. And they weren't just cold; they were uncomfortably cold. So cold that I regularly had to soak them in about 130-degree water. Even after soaking them in hot water for half an hour or longer, they still wouldn't feel warm. At one point my feet were also covered with small raised white spots that looked almost like warts, which I could rub off without any pain. (I once googled some of the characteristics and found a name for this condition, but I can't remember what it's called. It was the least of my concerns at the time.)
For the last couple weeks I've been pretty serious about stretching several times a day, as well as staying hydrated. I've also been using a swimming pool as tool to help me incorporate more lateral movement into my gait. I can already feel a difference in my feet, which are starting to feel close to normal. (It's been at least a few months since my feet felt cold.) However, my hip sockets still feel destroyed.
This has been so hard. I can't do any physical labor, and just being out in public is really difficult because people can't tell how hard it is for me to get where I'm going without tripping or losing my balance and running into them. To them I look very able-bodied, so they don't give me the room I need to avoid running into them awkwardly. Every step is an adventure. Even taking a shower wipes me out. (I tend to take long, hot showers, though, so that's part of it.)
As frustrating and difficult as this has been, I still feel like I might be one minor adjustment from walking normal again. In fact, earlier this week I started thinking about doing a much longer walk than the one I did last year. I'm now thinking about doing a 48-state walk, which would be around 10,000 miles. If I can walk remotely normal by the end of next month, I'm gonna hitchhike to Maine and start this two-year walk.
Even with as much as I think I've learned about what's going on with my legs, there's one thing that really puzzles me: Why didn't this problem present itself during the walk? I was fine until a couple weeks after finishing the seven-month walk. In fact, I felt so good toward the end that I was doing 22 miles a day for the last month. It hurt like hell, of course, but I didn't have any trouble doing that kind of mileage. ?????