A Pain in the Toe (update)

This is the position that causes the most pain - when the big toe is bent in lunges.  OUCH.  (blurry pic courtesy of my four year old)  This week I bit the bullet and went in for a podiatrist appointment to try and determine what the heck was going on with my left foot - specifically, my left big toe.   I've been having some pain with significant upward flexion of the joint.   I notice it most during lunges in Body Pump when that left leg is back and quite a bit of weight is placed on that big toe.  How important is your big toe in running?  Pretty darn important as it turns out.   That big toe can carry up to twice the load of the lesser toes - and up to 40-60% of your body weight!   I've noticed when I run up hills and push off forcefully that there is some discomfort in that first metatarsal joint.   While the discomfort in running has been minimal, it was the significant pain during lunges in Body Pump that prompted me to finally go in and get it checked.

I was nervous and braced myself for the doctor to tell me that I had to take some time off.   He poked and prodded a bit, watched me walk in bare feet, and moved the toe this way and that and asked if I felt any pain.   After a "hmmmmm" from him, he had me go to the next room and get some x-rays.  Gulp.  I knew that a stress fracture wouldn't show up on the x-ray unless it was already healing, but I was still nervous about what we would find.  Three x-rays later, I was sent back to the room to wait.   I had asked for a copy of the x-ray, and a few minutes later the doctor came in and handed me this:


I almost hugged the podiatrist.  I refrained, but just barely.  That picture up above?  That is my mostly healthy, albeit slightly deformed, foot!  No stress fracture suspected, no injuries to the sesamoids, no plantar fasciitis.  But see the reduction in space between that first metatarsal and proximal phalange? That's where it hurts.  He basically concluded that I have a bit of "hallux limitus" (stiff big toe) due to the fact that my big toe (over time) has bent to conform to the running shoes I have been wearing, causing the very early stages of a bunion.   The bend in that big toe has reduced the space available for the first metatarsal to move the toe into proper dorsiflexion, causing pain.   The good news?  He's hopeful we can help that big toe move back into place by moving to roomier shoes and using a product called "Correct Toes" to help restore the proper spacing between the toes.   While I'm not thrilled to hear the word "bunion", I am very happy that nowhere in the diagnosis were the words "stress fracture".  WIN.

Correct Toes - anyone out there used this?  Had success?

The (slightly) bad news?  Time for new roomier shoes.  I may have to say goodbye to my beloved Mizunos (or at least go a size up) since he fussed at me for running in a shoe where my toe is so close to the end of it.  I have tried to go up in size but feel like I'm running in boats.  Guess I'll just have to get used to that if I want to stay in the Wave Riders.  I'm not loyal to one particular brand though (I have Adidas and New Balance shoes in my rotation), so I'm hopeful I can find something I like with a wider toe box, but that still feels okay on my narrow feet.

My toe is pretty close to the end of the shoe...but when I go a half size up I feel like I'm sliding all around in the shoe!

I'm a very happy camper in that I am able to keep running and have the green light to continue training. That was the best news I'd gotten all day!  I left the podiatrist's office with a much happier disposition.  For now it's time to order some Correct Toes, pick up a pair of roomier shoes, and take it easy on the lunges.   Thank you for all of your positive vibes - they must have worked!

Anyone have recommendations on shoes they like with roomier toe boxes?   Has anyone used a toe spacer like Correct Toes?

Easing back in....and a Family 5K

First run back!  Slow, and on the treadmill thanks to a freakishly cold early morning! (Could not bear the thought of getting back into tights...AGAIN) This past week was my first foray into running again post-marathon.  I am loosely following the Hanson's post-marathon advice of "two weeks off, two weeks easy" and have really enjoyed having this past week fall into the "easy" camp!  If I wake up and it's pouring rain outside and I don't feel like running, I don't go!  After a season of no excuses and getting it done rain or shine it's nice to have a break from the focused and committed mentality of hard training.  And I've had a wonderful time going for runs with friends and not worrying about getting in a speed session or pushing the pace.  The weather is starting to shape up and we've had some beautiful mornings (like today!) in the upper 40s, low 50s which has made for wonderful running weather.  I'm trying to savor it now before we are catapulted into the brutal heat and humidity that is waiting just around the corner.

I'm back to taking (or teaching) BodyPump three times a week and I've added back in my core work and my PT exercises for hip strength.  Still working on getting around to adding in drills, but plan to add those in once I'm back on an official schedule.   Besides a somewhat over-the-top consumption of Easter candy on Easter (hey - I gave up dessert for Lent!  Don't judge. :)), I'm working on reining in the diet some and getting back to my healthier choices.

The only slight niggle in my return to running has been the return of some foot pain in my left foot.  Running is just fine and doesn't bother me, but my left big toe (or the tendons around it) is killing me when I do lunges in BodyPump with that left foot back.  I'm unable to hyperextend that big toe without some pain.  I'd been dealing with it for two months or so pre-marathon and it's not any worse than it was during that time.  It improved during my two weeks off, but once I added Pump back in and started running it's flared up again.  Not sure quite what it is (flexor tendonitis?  Sesamoid problems? Please please please not a stress fracture...) Podiatrist appointment is schedule for this week so fingers crossed for a diagnosis that allows me to keep running (or at least lets me return to running fairly quickly).

Week in Review

33 miles for the week.  While wearing glasses.  (To all you peeps out there running with glasses on - my hat is off to you!  I'm decidedly NOT loving it.   Having LASIK surgery in a week or so and have to be out of my contacts until then.)

No real workouts to report this week but I did get in a couple of easy runs with friends, a "long" run of 9 miles with my Saturday group, and for something totally fun and different:  I ran a family 5K on Easter!!

The start of the Buggy Bunny Hop 5K

My (crazy but fun) family started this tradition 13 years ago to honor my late Grandfather, whom we called "Buggy".  The Buggy Bunny Hop 5K is staged from my parents house and features 3.1 miles of hilly neighborhood roads with two Egg Stops along the way.   Participants wear bunny ears during the race and have to pick up a jellybean-filled plastic egg at two locations (to prove you've completed that section of the course) and then run back to the start.   It's highly competitive (okay, not really) and there's even a trophy engraved each year with the winner and time of completion!    This year I opted not to race it, but I wanted to use the middle mile as an opportunity for a teeny bit of speed work and pick it up a bit.

Mile 1:  First mile I ran with the family at 7:53, enjoying the sunshine but not so much the WIND.

My mom with my two little ones and my nephew - they were a great water stop team!

Mile 2:  Grabbed the egg from the first cul-de-sac, ate the jellybeans (better than GU!), and picked it up for a 6:24 mile

Mile 3.1 + some:  Grabbed the second egg, then ran a bit and circled back to run it in with my family at around an 8:10 pace.  My two little girls served as the official jellybean/water stop volunteers and we all had a blast.  It was such a fun way to get the whole family involved and (much like a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day) it was a great opportunity to get in a little workout before chowing down on Easter dinner!

Buggy's picture and race trophy! (We even have an awards ceremony afterwards - yup, we're a bit nuts.)

That's it!   It's been fun getting back on the roads, especially with Boston right around the corner!  I am not going this year, but will definitely be watching and I'm happy to be running some with everyone while they get excited for their race.   Hoping that this week will be a repeat of last week with some nice easy running and my usual core work and BodyPump workouts.  Fingers crossed for a good appointment at the Podiatrist - would appreciate any good luck vibes you care to send!

Anyone out there ever have problems with their big toe?  Who's in the taper for Boston?