Remember way back in April when I went to Urgent Care and the PA yelled at me for running “at my age”? At that time I had self-diagnosed myself with a “stone bruise”. After x-rays were done and that PA told me that she found no structural issues, and a stone bruise “might be” it, but that she could refer me to a physical therapist, I assumed that my degree I got on Web MD was accurate and have not been to a doc since then.
I also never followed through with the physical therapist, and I have been battling pain since that time. The pain is mild compared to what I went thought when my IT Band was fucked up and is nothing compared to the constant overwhelming battle I had with my Achilles.
I bought wide width running sneakers and putting in most of my miles on the lesser impact treadmill has helped. And every night, while stretching, I vigorously deep massage into the ball of my foot - with my thumbs and with a lacrosse ball. I also have been using the TENS unit - which I still use several nights a week on my Achilles - on the ball of my foot.
But still there has been pain. Right in the ball of my foot. While I’m running some, but afterwards quite a bit. Wearing high heels makes it worse. The toe right next to the big toe has been bent awkwardly down and both bending it and trying to straighten it has caused pain both in that toe and the ball of the foot.
A smart person would follow up with a doctor or physical therapist. Or they would stop running. That’s what a smart person would do - which I am not.
At the 10K race I did a couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a fellow runner who has had her share of running injuries. We were talking about how running is so good for you but certainly takes its toll on the body. She told me that she had been running with 2 dislocated toes. She didn’t know that they were dislocated but finally went to the MD who had to pull them back into place. She said that they had become dislocated because she curls her toes when she runs. She asked if I did that. I thought about it and realized that yes, on my one foot, the injured foot, I do curl my toes when I run.
I was thinking about this a couple days later as I sat on the floor stretching. Instead of massaging the ball of the foot like I normally do, I instead grabbed that bent second toe and pulled a little on it. There was no pain, but it almost felt like bubbling where the toe goes into the foot. So I pulled harder and then I felt and heard a “POP”. It didn’t hurt - it was almost exactly like when you crack your knuckles. There was also no sense of instant relief, but I thought my toe seemed straighter.
The next day, I looked down and saw a large bruise where the toe goes into the socket and I suddenly realized that my toe was almost straight! I could bend and flex it without pain and, even more surprising - there was almost NO PAIN in the ball of my foot!
So here for MONTHS I have been thinking it was an issue with the nerves in the ball of my foot and it actually had to have been related to a partial (I’m guessing) dislocation of the toe! So all the freaking massaging and TENS application was basically useless, when all I needed to do was pop that toe back into place. Can you believe it?
So since then, instead of massaging, I regularly pull on that toe making sure that it is settled into place. I don’t know that much about dislocations, but I do know from people that I have talked to who have dislocated their shoulders in the past that once something dislocates, it tends to do it easily in the future. So after a run I fiddle around with that toe. I have not felt a POP again like when I did it the first time, but I do sometimes feel that bubbling sensation and I think it is resetting it some.
While the pain isn’t 100% gone, it’s way way better. And if you’re thinking that I should still go and see a doctor, that’s probably what a smart person would do…