Sunday, October 19, 2008


This is the color of my feet lately. Red hot. No, they're not red to look at, they Feel red. You see, I have chronic foot pain.
Occasionally, it flares up and causes me a lot of trouble.
Years ago, I started having pain in my right foot. I would start to feel a sharp burning in the toes and then diffuse pain over the entire forefoot. It was very bad when I ran but also hurt after a mere 30 minutes of walking around the grocery store.
After lots of tests and opinions from various doctors, I had surgery in 2005 to remove a huge neuroma. Nerves had been pinched and caused a big ball to form. The mass was removed. I had 3 kids between 18 months and 5 at the time, but I survived my month on crutches. I behaved and refrained from running for 3-4 months! I started back in the spring and it was glorious. I ran that whole summer pain free. I compared it to swimming. It was like I could 'finish my stroke.' I had a new form. I was stronger. Myself again. It had been torture, but the surgery was worthwhile.
And then, it came back.
The pain came back. But alas, not just in my right foot, but my left too.

I have seen my doctor on and off since 2005 for this. She struggles with new ways to help me. I try different sneakers. I tried orthotics. I had them altered. Nothing. Nothing helps. Sometimes I have relief for a few months. I kid myself into thinking I am cured.
It always comes back.
Since August I have been in PT. I had great hope. Someonen new. Someone who had fresh ideas. "We'll break the scar tissue. We'll do ultrasound. We'll cure the bilateral plantar fascitis because it all connects together and that may be making it worse." Nothing. More pain. Bad bad pain.

My training is going well. I am strong. I have been working hard for months and months. I have 2 weeks of hard training left before I get to taper for Worlds. I am honored to be going and excited to race in these hard core conditions.
But while I'm on the roads fighting fatigue from a hard 12 mile run or a 60 mi ride followed by an 8 mile run, I am also fighting pain. I limp. I cringe. I stop and try to squeeze the burning out of my toes. I want to push the final 3 miles but I can barely step. If I fight the foot monster for a few miles, it sometimes diminishes and I can go on without losing my breath to the hurt.
It almost brings me to tears. Yes, the pain makes me want to cry, but it's more than that. Why me? Is this going to sideline me eventually? Who knows. I can't think that way. I am told by some who are familiar with this that it'll be ok. I just need to rest after Worlds and let the neuroma "settle down" Sometimes they flare up. My Physical therapist told me I was a time bomb. Thanks for the encouragement. I don't need that right now.
I must hang on. I can fight through this. It's an added challenge in my world of sport. And I am all about challenges.


The Lazy Triathlete said...

Take care of your feet and good luck at the worlds.

Swimming for ME said...

There has been a lot of new research on chronic pain lately and it suggests that various psychological treatments are as effective or more effective than medical treatments like surgery. I don't anything about neuromas but I wonder if some therapy to deal with the pain would help (you'd have to get someone who knows what they are doing). You certainly have the right mind set and motivation. And if I know you as well as I think, it would take a steamroller to sideline you. :) Stay strong Ange!

Marni said...

I hope your feet get better! I Get plantar fascitis a few times a year and although it doesn't stop me from running I have to change where I run. I usually get new shoes every 3 months regarldess of mileage. Have you been taking fish oils? Try to add some more omega's in the diet (like fish) and keep up with water, fruits and veggies. :)
Can't wait to see you soon!

Pedergraham said...

I wish I could lend you my feet. They are overly well rested lately. My mom suffered years of foot pain and I remember it. I hope that you get some relief even before Clearwater. Can't you get those three little guys to do a little at-home PT?!

Sparkplug said...

I found your blog through Jamie's (Maine Runner), and enjoy it. I have had a bad neuroma, nowhere near as bad as yours it sounds!, but have had luck with using a thick medical foam that sticks to my insoles as a way to relieve pressure off the neuroma area. I cut a piece about 2 1/2" x 2" and stick it to my insole so that it takes the pressure off the neuroma area when I flex my foot. Sounds a bit odd perhaps, but it really worked for me. I wondered if you'd tried something like that? Who knows, it might work. Good luck!

Zach said...

I thought it was cold this weekend when I woke up and it was 39!

Sorry to hear about your feet, that sucks that they are bothering you so much. Hopefully a little rest after Worlds will be just what they need.

IronMatron said...

I don't have neuroma, but I do get really thick, hard callouses in between my toes, I think b/c of my bunions, actually, and I relieve that pain with those circular callous things you can stick to the bottom of your feet. They relieve pressure. It may not help, but you could try it! I think Dr. Scholl's makes them.

Judi said...

Try acupunture Ange. It will help.