friday morning came and i was a wee bit nervous. i had the first appointment of the day with the foot/ankle doctor, and looking back, that was a great strategy because i was in and out in a jiffy (makes a 7:45am appt totally worth it). i got x-rays first and then settled in to meet with the doctor.
while i normally go to all my doctor appointments solo, brandon graciously agreed to go with me. i needed him there for a couple reasons; #1 he'd force me to be honest about my pain (not under explaining how much it hurt, etc), #2 he'd ask the right questions (because i never know what to ask doctors) and #3 he'd keep me honest about treatment (having someone else hear what the doctor tells me to do is clutch). i recommend having a doctor buddy - if you're anything like me - to keep you on track and honest to make sure you get the proper treatment for whatever ails you.
anyway, after x-rays, me explaining my history of aches, breaks and running related injuries, i had some answers that seemed to align with the pain and symptoms i've been having.
1) i don't have a bunion! - this is a shocking revelation, because i've gone since september thinking i had a bunion that was causing me pain. let this be a lesson learned: always get a second opinion and always get x-rays - they're the only way to tell for sure whats going on under the skin! what my original consultation in september thought was a bunion is actually bursitis, which is basically a lot of painful inflammation and swelling of the bursae in my big toe. on the xray, you could clearly tell the large lump on my big toe was tissue type stuff, rather than the bone of a bunion. you could also clearly tell that my toe is not severely slanting to the right, like it would with a bunion in the picture. bunion de-bunked!
2) i have metatarsalgia ... - after taking a look at my foot, the doctor pointed out two things i had never ever noticed: #1 a large callus that has been developing on the ball of my foot, between big toe and second toe and #2 thinning fat pads. i was shocked that i wouldn't notice something like a callus, but it was quite obvious when she showed me. i also had no idea that fat pads could thin out. the thinning fat pad and the callus were all indications to her of extraneous stress/impact on my metatarsal heads and thus, metatarsalgia (inflammation in the ball of my foot). aside from my thinning fat pads, which provide cushion to the metatarsals, ill fitting shoes can lead to this type of inflammation, and my guess is that this certainly is part of why i'm experiencing this type of injury. i've blogged too many times about how hard its been for me to find a good fitting running shoe (here, here, here, here). anyway, the doctor fitted me with a temporary insert and metatarsal bar to help take the pressure off my metatarsals. the more long term solution is a custom orthotic that will do the same, but in the meantime, this will give me an idea of whether or not this type of solution will relieve the pain i'm having. my next immediate step is to also find a shoe with a lot of cushioning in the forefoot. thank gosh for demo shoe day coming up in march!!!
3) ... and acute plantar fasciitis - i feel like i hear about this injury in the running community a lot. after describing some of the more recent heel pain i've been having, the doctor also told me i have acute plantar fasciitis. she gave me a list of stretches to do 5-6x a day (and she also told me not to expect any results if i only did them 2x a day). of course, i haven't done any of them yet, but i will start. i promise!
the good news out of all of this is that i don't have a stress fracture. i was honestly preparing myself for one, because i always prepare for the worst. but knowing that i don't have one means i can go into my races this weekend and not worry too much about making any injuries i have exponentially worse. its going to take a bit to get used to the inserts, find the exact right placing of the metatarsal bar, but it should all be worth it if it relieves the pain and keeps me running! i do wish i had gotten an x-ray at the beginning of the injuries, back in september, but am glad i finally took the right course of action to see a doctor now.
anyone out there dealing with metatarsalgia or plantar fasciitis? i'm curious about what shoes have been great for either of these injury types!
*also, i am not a doctor. please do not take anything i say here as medical advice. i'm just sharing my experiences and personal reflections *