Yeah here it comes. Maybe I give you a video first.

Session time accounting:

Total footbag playing time for the year so far: 35:30. One more 2-hour session this month, and I will be right at “Par” for the year!

Now, back to the health report…

From the top: My Eyes! My Eyes! Yeah my vision is getting worse, both farsighted and nearsighted these days. But it doesn’t seem to affect footbag much, I can still see the bag at that range OK without my glasses.

My neck and back are what affects footbag. I have an arthritic disc in my lower back that causes sciatica mostly in my left leg. I also have the top two vertebra in my neck fused together, probably since early childhood. It’s never bothered me much before, but I’m getting the same kinds of pains and problems in my left arm now, that I get in my left leg from my lower back. In fact the entire left side of my body seems to be experiencing intermittent neuropathy now. My left foot often feels like it doesn’t quite fit in shoes correctly anymore.

The neck and back problems wax and wane together: left hip and shoulder, progressing to radiating down leg / arm, sometimes causing numbness at extremities, and lots of popping at the joints, probably because the muscles aren’t all working together like they are supposed to.

Next is the chondromalacia, a roughening of the surface of the back side of the kneecap. It causes excruciating pain when bending down too far on the knees. I’ve taken glucosamine-chondrointin pills for a while after the first big flare-up, and the pain mostly went away. But I tapered off and stopped taking them due to side effects (gnarly gas, if you must know). The problem (knee pain not gas) seems to be coming back slowly but surely as I play more during the summer. I may be forced back onto the pills.

Finally, my ankles. Sometimes I’m not sure how much of my ankle pain is phantom from my back problems, but both of my ankles seem to be re-living earlier injuries. My right ankle has recovered from being broken almost 2 years ago, and only occasionally hurts. But my left ankle gets to hurting real bad, popping, and just feeling… out of alignment. Playing footbag makes it better to a point, which if I cross, it will start hurting way worse again a couple days after the session.

Wait, there’s just a bit more: Athlete’s foot! Over the last couple of years, I’ve developed a new kind of athlete’s foot type of irritation. Basically, it acts almost exactly like poison ivy exposure. Just as itchy, develops fluid bubbles, inflammation that constricts bloodflow and causes numbness… it itches so bad it drives me insane. The first couple of years I only got it for a bit during the winter. Last couple of years has gotten progressively worse, until I had it pretty much all winter this winter, and while the rash has gone away, I can tell my feet haven’t really completely recovered. There seems to be permanent tissue damage in a couple of my left toes now, and I’m very afraid it will be even worse next winter.

I suppose I could prattle on about other age-related problems, but these are the musculoskeletal issues that affect my footbag. The interesting / paradoxical point to all this is, how important playing footbag seems to be to keeping my back from getting worse. Not playing allows the sciatica to get much worse. I’ve gotten to the point where it hurts to play, but it hurts not to play, too. Given those rules, you bet your ass I’m gonna play. I still love the game.

I believe I need good chiropractic care first, but despair at the thought how much it will cost, even with good insurance. It takes time, too. I’ve been managing without OK for a lot of years now. Maybe I need to just break down and do the thing, and hope for the best.

Speaking of hoping, let’s hope next post is something more exciting than an old man’s list of body ailments. Until then, thanks for tuning in and keep kicking!

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