Adventures In Running

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Are the foot problems almost over?

What a year it has been. It was somewhere in July when I started feeling Plantar Fasciitis in both my right and left feet. Still kicking myself for messing with my running stride and trying to shift to being a forefoot runner. I was able to get the PF under control fairly quickly in the right foot, but the left foot (as usual) seemed to be settling in for some fun and games.

Some days I think the left side of my body is cursed. Knee surgery on the left knee in college. A dog brush to the ankle in the early 1990's caused permanent nerve damage and lots of pain for a long time. Stress fracture in the lower leg that I walked on for months before a podiatrist finally figured it out. Tendon surgery + removal of Morton's Neuroma the next summer in the left foot. Ligament surgery the next summer in the left foot. Not to mention having my crutches slip out from under me two weeks later on a marble floor after an unexpected downpour at which point I felt something lovely tear in the ankle. I lived with that for years until it quit hurting – just found out in an MRI that I had actually tore a tendon.

So – when running the Wasatch Crest with Leslie Peterson last August, it was a bit worrisome that every once in a while if I hit a rock wrong, it felt like a bruise on the bottom of my foot. It didn't last for long – but I should have got a clue.

Fast forward to the first Saturday in October. Leslie and I were running the St. George Marathon and I was feeling really good. Strong, healthy, happy. Until mile 9. At mile 9 the bottom of my foot started hurting. By mile 10, every time the left foot hit, I was in pain. By mile 13, I was in agony. Was it a bruise? I had no idea. But my race went totally in the toilet at mile 13 and we switched from me encouraging Leslie every step of the way in the first half to her encouraging me every step of the way in the second half. Needless to say – it was not a good day.

I broke down and finally went to the podiatrist. Turns out that lovely bruising feeling was no longer Plantar Fasciitis, but had turned into Plantar Fasciosis (advanced and chronic PF). He put a pressure pad in my orthotic to keep pressure on the PF and I was supposed to ice it and use BioFreeze three times a day.

At the end of October, I ran in the Ft. Bliss Marathon. My daughter KT Taped my foot and even though I DNF'd the race at mile 19 because the concrete and boredom had made the race no fun, the foot did not hurt at all while running. I was sure I was cured.

No such luck. Pretty soon my foot was hurting even when I was not running, walking, putting pressure on it, etc. Burned. Kept me awake at night. Made me limp. Made me dread running at all because then it would be worse.

So, on my 52nd birthday, I had PF surgery to poke holes in that sucker and get it healing. My doctor says I had one of the most crapped up PF's he had ever seen – it was full of scar tissue. At least I strive to aim high in some things!

Recovery was slow – but I actually followed directions. Dr. Steve told me I would be back to running marathons and 50K's by the middle of March. Nope – my foot was once again hurting from even short runs and standing on it for long caused a lot of pain (amputation was starting to sound like a good option). MRI's and cortisone shots didn't solve anything – but it turns out my calcaneus/ankle bone was out of joint and that relieved the worst of the pain.

Should be good.



The outer left side of the foot had been numb after the surgery. Now it started hurting more and more often. Never had problems with my arch (other than PF) – but now long runs made the arch burn.

Yesterday I broke down again and went back to Dr. Steve. He quickly diagnosed the arch burning as tendonitis from the large toe. The pain on the side of the foot (which got really bad starting a week ago) was also tendonitis.

Treatment – roll the arch and bottom of the foot 3x per day on an iced lacrosse ball – digging in as hard as I can. BioFreeze. Tape the bottom and side of the foot for the other tendonitis. Ice it. After only 24 hours, I am starting to see a difference.

I have to admit I am looking forward to the day that I will actually be pain free for the first time in that foot in a year. I am positive it will be soon.

On the running side of things – 10 miles today on the Porter Rockwell Trail. Mini taper will now occur since I need to fumble through Park City Marathon next weekend. I'm not ready for it – but know I can finish it.

Keep on running. One step at a time. Very true mottos for this past year.

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