Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Podiatrist vs. Podiatrist

Two weeks ago I promised you a podiatrist story, and I know you have been holding your breath, waiting for it.  Well, wait no more, because not only am I about to deliver my long-promised podiatrist story, but I am also going to tell you a second story about my recent appointment with a new podiatrist!  (I bet you feel like youʻve won the lottery!)

To recap: I hurt my foot on my long run a few Sundays ago, and was hobbling around all week before I finally decided to see a podiatrist that Friday.  In the meantime, I had been icing my foot and keeping it elevated.  On the Wednesday of that week I stumbled upon this video that dealt with a different yet similar foot injury.  Feeling sort of desperate for improvement, I tried massaging my calf in the same way, and what do you know?  My foot felt significantly better!  I was still hobbling, but my range of motion improved dramatically.  Off to the podiatrist I went.

The podiatrist did not look like this, though isnʻt he cute?
Netsuke Podiatrist via

First off, I have to say, she was very nice.  She made me feel comfortable and at ease as soon as she walked into the room.  I told her what was wrong, and that my foot felt a bajillion times better because of the massage, though it was still a little tight.  After inspecting my foot, she said she thinks I may have stressed my peroneal tendons, and based on my research, I had to agree (because, obviously, Dr. Google is my PCP).  Her prescription? Orthotics.

I guess I was kind of expecting her to prescribe orthotics, but I was surprised at how quickly she decided that was the solution.  This was my first foot injury in my adult life.  I donʻt have problems walking, and until this point, I havenʻt had problems running.  Why on earth would I need orthotics?  I did tell her about my minimalist shoes (to which she responded, "Why are you running in those? Because of the trend?"), but rather than suggest a more supportive shoe, she suggested orthotics.  Hm.  I guess thats how podiatrists make money.

Peroneal Tendons.  Foot anatomy is fascinating!
Who knew?  via

I politely declined any offer to fit me for custom orthotics, and left the office.  I was feeling good anyway, and needed to focus on my upcoming race, which I ran well for myself.  My foot did well during the race, but not so well after.  It tightened up again almost immediately, and I was hobbling all week.  Icing, elevating and massage only helped so much.  I was hobbling pretty bad.  It didnʻt hurt as much as it was really, really tight.

I decided to see another podiatrist, one who is affiliated with a local running club.  I told him the whole story, and mentioned the orthotic prescription of the other podiatrist, to which he said, "Stand up.  Ok, sit down."  (Apparently he was checking to see if I had a stable stance.  Since I do, he didnʻt recommend orthotics).  When I told him about my minimalist shoes, he asked, "What are they?" and nodded that he knew which ones I was talking about.  His diagnosis? Peroneal tendonitis.  His prescription?  3 options: 1) rest, 2) physical therapy, 3) take it slow.  When I asked if I could still run my half-marathon in three weeks, he said cross-train and listen to my body.  Run if I feel good.  Donʻt over-train.

He recognized that I ran too hard, too soon in my minimalist shoes, and recommended I take more time to ease into them (like 2 years, as opposed to the 2 months I had been running in them).  He himself runs in minimalist shoes, usually for his shorter, easy runs.  He also recommended I not run in minimalist shoes until my injury is completely healed.

Happy Little Piggies! via

Hallelujah!  I am so happy to find a podiatrist I can work with! (though hopefully I never have to visit him again).  

I am opting for Option #3, and taking it slow.  Today was my first day back in the gym, and though the workout was a little boring, it was still great to be exercising again!  

As for my half-marathon, Iʻm going to do easy runs and lots of cycling, and re-assess myself a few days before the race.  If my foot is still acting up, no race for me.  Iʻll be bummed, but thereʻs so much I want to do over the next few months, its not worth jeopardizing my summer just for this race.

Stay tuned!

Whats the longest its taken you to recover from an injury?  How did you stay active while injured?

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