A Runner’s Feet


So, let’s all be honest and say that feet creep some people out.  And a runner’s feet can be pretty creepy.  We lose toenails (knock on wood, I’ve never lost one yet), we suffer blisters, we get farmer’s tans.  My feet are certainly not my best feature, but they are the part of me that hits the ground and I need them to be in fine working order.  I suffer from bunions and recently had the joy of my mother saying “Your feet look just like your great-grandmother’s!”  Not the compliment I was hoping for, but further proof that my gene pool is working against me on this front.  So, here are my feet.  Maybe your running feet look similar, maybe your big toe is pointing in the not-right direction, too.  But who cares?  Slap some hot purple (blue, red, green, orange) polish on those toes and be happy with them!

Note the angry red bump on the right foot
Note the angry red bump on the right foot

Off my soapbox and on to the point of this post.  My long-awaited (OK, less than two weeks of waiting) podiatry visit happened today and I’m thrilled to report that I got some good news.  First, a quick recap of my injury or what I like to call my “bump in the road.”  I’ve been having problems with my right big toe.  By problems, I mean pain that aches in the joint near where my toe joins the foot.  At its worst, I was convinced that this pain meant my toe was broken or that I had a stress fracture in one of the bazillion bones in my foot.  X-rays confirmed that there was no break, and the pain did improve slightly with rest and lots of Aleve. But, it was still there and got worse when I did activities that required bending it (i.e. lunges, some yoga).  I took some preventative measures to improve my running while I waited to see the doctor and anxiously headed to my appointment today.

I decided to visit Dr. Glady deLeon at the recommendation of the sports medicine doctor I saw when I injured my IT band.  It also turned out that a former co-worker and old friend was now one of her medical assistants, which helped ease some of my anxiety about visiting the office.  When Dr. deLeon walked in to the exam room and started talking to me about my pain and my feet, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief.  She is a runner herself and has marathon experience.  She was friendly and kind and didn’t gasp in horror at my feet.  Instead, she described that my bunions were the culprit, as suspected, and that the inflammation around them was causing the pain I was experiencing.  She confirmed that I was doing everything I could on my own to manage the bunions and that it was time to treat the swelling in order to relieve the pain.  Never once did she say anything negative-never said “Oh, you runners!” like the emergency room doctor.  Never said “Runners destroy their feet!” like the radiology tech in the ER.  In fact, Dr. deLeon said the words I had been dreaming of:  “We are going to do everything we can to get you through this race.”  I wanted to cry and hug her, but that seemed a little socially inappropriate, so I grinned and listened as she described my options.

So, here’s the plan:  first, oral steroids to attack the swelling.  If those don’t do enough, I may need to head back for injections.  And, some day soon, I will have to contemplate surgery to get permanent relief and get my toes back in alignment.  I’ll face the surgery when the time comes, but for the next 60 days I’m just facing the finish line and hoping to cross it.  I’m thrilled to be clearing this obstacle out of the way and to be able to run knowing that I have a plan in place to deal with any pain.  I’m grateful for Dr. deLeon’s help-so much so that I did hug her before I left the office!

Happy running all.  Here’s to loving our feet, just as they are!