Sunday, February 17, 2013

Finally, Some Answers!

Good feet are hard to find.

I had an amazing day yesterday.

I don't know how many times I've posted about my ongoing, chronic foot issue, but I think about it every day so it feels like I talk about it all the time.

I've been convinced since this start of this injury that it wasn't just my foot, but that I had some sort of imbalance.  Over the past year I've tried just about everything to treat plantar fasciitis, but nothing seemed to help.  And every time I resumed running the pain flared up even worse.  It radiated to my heel, achilles tendon, and further research convinced me it might even be my flexor longus tendon - maybe even a combination of all of them.

I finally went to A.R.T. (active release therapy).  After the first session I had two completely pain-free days in a row.  I couldn't believe it.  Then I had a second session which didn't provide any relief.  During the second session, though, I found out they also did gait analysis.  My appointment was yesterday and it was an eye opener.

My appointment was with Shari Einhorn-Dicks, a physical therapist from Seattle who works with Deep Relief Maui when she is here.  We talked shoes (I brought my current variety of running shoes and three of my work shoes for her to see), what I've been using and how they have been working (or not) for me.  She measured and tested my feet in many different ways and took a few foot impressions.  Then I got the colored pen mark-up and dots stuck to many places on my back and legs.

Some of the leftover markings.
She videoed me walking, running, then running in several of the shoes I brought along.  Turns out one pair of shoes is good - my Brooks Pure Flows; one pair may be OK after I completely recover - my Saucony Kinvaras; and the two New Balance shoes are completely wrong for me.  My Zoots are also out of circulation, but they have too many miles on them anyway.

Just one look at the videos and my problem was immediately apparent.  My left foot severely pronates and does not recover during the stride.  It's awful and looks extremely painful - I can't believe my ankle isn't actually broken or deformed in some way!  No wonder my freakin' foot hurts!

The good news - it's 100% fixable!

While my right foot is biomechanically perfect (and a thankful shout-out to Dr. May, my podiatrist from 20+ years ago, who did my bunionectomies which are "beautifully done" in Shari's opinion) my left foot is a Morton's foot - if I remember correctly it's because my first metatarsal is shorter in relation to the second).  I also have too much flexibility in the joint.  This, in combination with a weakness in my left leg (which probably came in when I was off my left foot for 5 months while it healed from a stress fracture) is creating my issue.

The cure?  Well, an insole for my left foot that will help keep my foot properly aligned while I strengthen my left side, and perhaps a cortisone shot for the inflammation.  ZERO running until I can get this issue rectified.  I should be back in good running form by summer!

I HIGHLY recommend this kind of evaluation if you are suffering from chronic foot/tendon issues.  The video was so enlightening - I'm so glad we finally have something like this available on Maui.

I'll keep you posted on the progress.  I'm thoroughly optimistic that I will see good results.