I have developed my own little foot fetish over the past few weeks. Don’t worry, my foot fetish is only for my own feet, not yours! I’ve spent so much time over the past few months and, more specifically, weeks worrying about my feet, i had no choice but to become a little neurotic about them.
I spent several months (much of jan through may!) in physical therapy working on my muscular imbalances in my legs (most likely caused by 8 weeks in the damn boot for the stress fracture), getting ultrasound on my tibia (which tends to swell in the shape of an egg at the slightest amount of exercises), massage on my calves (which have become so tight it sometimes hurts to walk), and lots of foot and ankle exercises (because my feet are the source of all of my problems). Well, after all of that, i can finally say that i am seeing some progress.
My physical therapist has cleared me and has me going in on an “as needed” basis. He knows i’m pretty diligent about doing my exercises at home so we agreed that i will go back at any sign of a setback. After having the Canadian foot specialist (aka The Olympian 🙂 ) also look at my legs and feet, he agreed that my feet are the source of many of my problems. Not that i didn’t believe my PT, but this just added to the list of experts telling me a lot of the same things. Ever since this i have done my foot exercises every single night before bed without fail. As my runs have increased, i’ve had a little residual swelling so i had a massage this week specifically for my calves and right quad. Well, as it turns out, what really needed to be worked on was…you guessed it!…my FEET! Good grief!
Ed (massage guru) said my tibial tendon is so tight that it is pulling my feet in a way that’s basically the same as if i had my feet put on sideways. He spent about 20 painful minutes on each foot / tibia and suddenly my feet were straight. It was like i was looking at someone else’s feet. I literally feel like i have spent every waking minute since Thursday thinking about my feet. I am so incredibly conscious of how i am holding them when standing, sitting, driving, or whatever. I have stretched this stupid tendon as much as i can. Yes, they are drawing in a little- this is the tendon that had my PT so worried about possibly tearing if i weren’t careful because of how tight and shortened it is- but i’m going to keep working on it and hopefully i’ll get to experience a running season without injury!
I have returned to running…slowly but continuously. I had to start all the way at the beginning with 20 second intervals which is less than i’ve ever done but i stuck with it and each time i tried to push it a little too much, my body quickly let me know to back off. I have worked really hard over the past month to increase from 20 minutes of running to 50 minutes of running and so far so good. I’m paying more attention to my feet than ever before but i figure if i expect them to get me to all of the things i have planned for the fall (most specifically, Ragnar and St. Jude!), i owe it to them to pay attention to them anyway!
I’ve developed a love / hate relationship relationship with my feet that i didn’t even know was possible! My plan is to give my feet lots of love and hope that, in return, they love me back 🙂