In May, I stepped up onto a step and felt a sharp pain in my foot near my big toe.
It hurt that day, and then I forgot about it. I went to Cancun for Memorial Day weekend, ran on the treadmill a few times while I was there and felt fine. But after I got home, any time I did workout that required stepping up onto something, the pain came back.
Eventually, it started hurting when I ran. And then it started hurting almost all the time. I could see the problem — the bone/joint/thing below my big toe was inflamed and red, and sometimes the pain went from the side of my big toe down the side of my foot. My first instinct was to use this as a reason to make Andy rub my foot all the time, so I kind of liked it.
Also, I thought it was probably nothing. I mean, it was just one weird step. So I began training for the Newport Half Marathon in September, which runs right past my office and near my apartment in Jersey City. I decided to “train for real” for the first time, and that meant interval speedwork and tempo running.
I probably chose the worst possible time in the history of my foot to start running fast intervals.
My foot wasn’t getting any better. I really thought it was just a bruise. But it seemed to be getting worse and last week I went to a foot doctor where I had an x-ray. He told me what I already suspected: I have a bunion.
Here’s what I learned from the doctor:
- Bunions are genetic.
- I always had it. I never noticed it because it never acted up. Training for and running a marathon did not irritate it.
- That day I stepped weird — THAT injured it and “woke it up.”
- My bunion is very minor.
- My current situation can be resolved.
- My bunion will get worse over time. (Thinking of my grandma’s feet, I’d have to agree with that one.)
- My insurance might pay/help pay for orthotics which will take the pressure off the bunion part of my foot when I run, which will help right now and over time.
- The bunion will continue to shift and get worse but there are measures I can take to keep it at bay.
(WARNING -CLOSE UP FOOT PHOTO COMING STOP READING IF YOU HATE MY FEET)
What the hell? Why is there always something? I’ve had more than my share of injuries over the years, and I totally understand overuse injuries. But all I did was take one weird step. ONE! Granted, I’m sure running and working out over the last few years contributed to my bunion being so susceptible, but still. I was ready to “train for real” for the first time! Speedwork! Things that I didn’t previously understand and scared me. 4 x 800. Or, 8 x 400 as I did by mistake because of my terrible reading comprehension skills.
Here’s what the doctor told me to do:
- No running for a week
- Ice and take anti-inflammatories if necessary
- Wear flip flops a lot less often, because they likely contributed to it getting worse
- Get a cortisone injection
- Go back to see him in a week, at which time he can check how it is doing and tell me if my insurance approved orthotics
That was last week. I got the cortisone injection on the spot, but it hasn’t been the amazing wonder drug it usually is for me (I’ve had cortisone injections in my shoulder and hip in the past). Tomorrow morning I’ll go back and find out if I’m getting/paying for/paying partially for orthotics and see what he says about when I can run again.
I’m guessing I’ll need more rest because it’s not looking or feeling much better. I’ve been going to Refine and substituting exercises that would aggravate the bunion, and it’s actually comforted me hearing that many of my Refine instructors had this same injury themselves from years of dancing in pointe shoes but are now pain-free.
And now, when I wear certain closed toe shoes, MY BUNION POKES THROUGH.
Who else has bunions? Comfort me by telling me you are also deformed.
tl;dr: My foot was 100% fine while doing all things marathon, I took one weird step and now my foot is forever ugly and I am worried I won’t be able to run ever again for the rest of my life.
ETA: The doctor told me Toms are just as bad as flip flops so I sabotaged my own recovery. Don’t make the same mistakes I did, kids.