While i feel, at times, like i’m suffering from PTSD- post traumatic stress disorder- from my run 1 year ago, when i almost had to crawl from miles 3 to 5 to get to the car on what was supposed to be a 10 mile run, i’m not. I’m actually suffering from PTTD- posterior tibial tendonitis dysfunction. Well now, that’s a mouth full.
PTTD is a fancy way of saying that i have screwed up feet. I haven’t always had screwed up feet. I used to love my feet. Now my feet are nothing but sources of pain and reasons that wearing open toed shoes is not easy (hence the missing toenail in the picture above!). Apparently last fall when i was having awful pain in my arches after my runs, i should have paid more attention. I just assumed that i was compensating for my stress fracture and had probably changed my form up a little. That’s probably the case but it was also my body sending me some warning signals.
Believe it or not, i didn’t completely ignore these warning signals- kind of hard to ignore pain so bad that walking around after a long run became almost impossible. I got insoles and keith (thanks keith!) spent lots of time massaging my feet after long runs. As much as that helped, i didn’t realize there was a bigger problem. For a solid year, we’ve blamed all my issues on my hips and glutes and never really thought that my feet might actually be the culprits.
I have always had flat feet but for whatever reason now i also have fallen arches. You can have flat feet and strong arches (although flat) but now i just have flat feet and weak arches. There is a tendon that runs from the inner arch, behind the ankle, and up the tibia- ie the posterior tibial tendon. It’s kind of like a bungee cord that acts a little like a spring when running and walking. My bungee cord is no longer a bungee and, instead, is a super tight rubber band with no give and a lot of stress. The concern here is that this tight rubber band could just snap. Your arch actually serves a purpose- it provides some shock absorption as you come down on your feet. I have no shock absorption so i have to be careful that this band doesn’t snap in half. So now while i’m feeling pretty good about the healing that is going on with my stress fracture, i have to be extra careful getting back in to running to make sure i don’t have a rupture on my hands…or feet 😉
What to do about it? Well, lemme tell ya. I spend lots of time working on the strength of my ankles and feet. I stand on a balance disc while brushing my teeth. I pick up dice with my toes. I walk down the street on the side of my feet and backwards on my toes. (i can’t really imagine being my neighbor, by the way!) I also walk around smelling like Tiger Balm as i spend lots of time every day massaging my tibial tendon with this smelly goodness. I’ll do whatever it takes. I’m just so happy to have a diagnosis and something specific to work on. I still spend time on my hips but i made a vow to my feet never to ignore them so much again.
Moral of the story- your feet need some lovin‘ too…..and by lovin’, i mean massage and strength training!