Friday, March 2, 2012

Foot Fault

My rib injury has plagued me for almost 2 ½ years. I have been fortunate not to have any other injuries crop up during this period, until now. I guess sometimes one injury just isn’t enough. I erroneously thought that one of the commandments of training is “Thou shalt not have to deal with more than one ailing body part at any given time.” Wrong.

This particular injury began 5 weeks ago when I whacked my foot against the wall doing a backstroke turn. I know you are thinking to yourself, “How on earth does a seasoned swimmer like yourself make such a novice mistake?” I can only speculate that since I hate swimming backstroke I was probably daydreaming about white sandy beaches and got a little too close to the wall. I saw stars, cursed a little and scolded myself for being so mindless.

Anyway, I diagnosed myself with a bone bruise and continued with my regular run schedule. My foot did not impair my ability to ambulate, although it did ache a bit. I ran Cross Country nationals, workouts, long runs, all without incident and my foot was seemingly getting better. And then, BAM, last weekend my foot started to hurt so much it crippled me. Four minutes into a run I became hobbled. I had to limp/hop back to my car.

I was so convinced my foot was broken, I dragged myself and my lame foot to the abyss that is Urgent Care for an X-ray.

Now, my defense mechanism in such situations is humor. I like a dose of sarcasm with a hint silly. It makes everything better. This behavior was not well received by the good people at Urgent Care (which by the way was neither urgent nor caring).

When the doctor was examining my foot, I pointed out that he was very lucky that I just had my annual pedicure. Had it been a few days earlier, he would have been holding a very ragged looking foot with jagged toenails and not this lovely, cleaned up version with purple polish. He gave me an odd look that possibly implied that he  thought my foot still looked grungy and gross.

The doctor decided that I needed an X-ray. I replied “Oh goody! Now I have another CD to add to my collection of body parts. Pretty soon, I will be able to assemble my entire skeleton in X-ray format.” Not even a chuckle.

Fortunately, the X-ray did not reveal any broken bones. However, since I could not walk, I was given a boot. I’m not talking a cute winter boot that not only keeps your feet warm but also looks good with skirts and pants. I’m talking an ugly monstrosity of a boot that doesn’t look good with anything. Of course, I inquired whether it came in something more trendy, like animal print or camouflage. Nope. All they had was one that is too small. Can you believe these things don’t come in half sizes?

 I know you are jealous and want one of these for your shoe collection!
Since I have not been able to run, I have become somewhat of a gym rat, excelling in the sport of elliptical. I recently discovered that the machine I like to use measures watts! That is a metric I can relate to; it has changed my whole elliptical experience. Now I can track whether I set an elliptical PR. If I can figure out how to save and download the files I will post them online for analytic purposes.
Yesterday I tested out my foot by running on the Alter G. My foot hurt a lot, even at 50% body weight. At least I don’t have to go on a diet to make my foot better.

It seems that there is swelling around the bone that I banged against the wall. Running on it all this time has caused so much tightness in my foot it is very immobile. It is unlike me to ignore a problem like this for so long; I usually go to physical therapy for a hangnail. With the ribs pestering me so much, though, I just couldn’t deal with another injury. I was in deep denial. But, as I have learned, and I know I am stating the obvious here: when things don’t get better they get worse.


  1. Sarcasm with a hint of I know why you keep me around. Although it is rarely a 50/50 split.

  2. One injury at a time, that's for the youngsters! As you get older you hope its just one at a time, then just two, then just three.....
    Best of luck with the foot and the rib, hope you're out of that boot soon.

  3. Ugh, condolences! Hope it gets better soon.

  4. I don't think getting older is a valid excuse for being more injury prone. Older athletes have to train smarter and hit the gym more. In my case, I was negligent and let something that was potentially small get a little too big.