Sunday, February 15, 2009

Little toe, big problem

It's just a little toe on my left foot. Not the little toe, a big toe. Not the big toe, the long toe next to it. For some people, the big toe is the long toe so the long toe is not next to the big toe, it is the big toe. But my pain isn't in the big toe, it's in a big toe which is the long toe, which is just a little toe but not the little toe. Clear?

Anyway, I hurt it a week ago Saturday during a 13 mile training run with my group. It just started hurting a couple of miles in. And kept hurting, although not unbearably so. Yet. Other than the pain, it was a wonderful run. Thirteen plus miles around the storied monuments of the nation's capital on a wonderful winter morning, about 40 degrees with a very slight breeze and a sunny sky. Perfect conditions for running.

Shortly after I started running nine years ago, I had pain in that very same long toe that eventually forced me to suspend running completely for eight weeks, twice. My doctor diagnosed it as tendinitis in that toe each time and prescribed two months of rest, period. Each time it had gotten to the point where the pain in my foot would cause me to just pull up. It would just come on, walking or running, and force me to sit down and tear off my shoe and massage my toe until I could go on.

These bouts came on about a year apart, and the rest period was the only thing that helped. For about seven years though, I haven't had a whisper of the problem. Until Saturday.

Sunday was 60 degrees and I tried running. I just had to run in such gorgeous weather after the long cold snap. I made it to the end of my sidewalk and stopped. My toe didn't hurt worse, it just still hurt.

I felt guilty and lazy, but I took the whole week off from running. In my yoga class, I did plank position from my knees like a decrepit old man so as to keep off my toes. I rubbed Tiger Balm arthritic lotion on my toe each night. I had a big relay race coming up on Sunday which I had to do so as to not let my teammates down. By this morning my toe felt much better although I could still feel a slight ache in it occasionally.

This is the only injury that has ever caused me to miss more than a few days running at any time. It put me down for two months, twice. It has my complete attention. I have to be able to run to conduct the training classes that I direct for my club and am responsible for. Such a little toe. Such a big problem.

14 comments:

Kelly said...

Ouch. It seems like every runner has SOMETHING... most just pray it's not something they need to run with (like a toe!). Good luck and feel better!

Christie said...

Now that I'm clear on which toe it is, I hope it doesn't end up being a big deal. Maybe you should scale back on your mileage until it feels better. I hope it doesn't get any worse. Good luck with that.

Petraruns said...

Good luck with it. Hopefully just backing off for a few days will help?

jeanne said...

careful who you're calling a decrepit old woman...

and so sorry about the toe. A Second Toe (I believe that's its official name) longer than the Big Toe is a sign of intelligence, so don't mess around with it.

Hope it heals up quickly.

ShirleyPerly said...

Bummer! Sounds like you missed running your race too. Hope the toe improves soon.

Anne said...

Isn't it always the little things that cause the most pain?! I don't know of anyone who's had tendinitis in their toe like you. Morton's neuroma, yes. But it almost sounds like that toe's doing more work than the others if the inflammation's isolated to just that one digit. Very strange, but I hope the rest works like before.

Danielle in Iowa said...

I thought it was called an index toe?

And I totally do plank from my knees most of the time. And I'm 31.

Just_because_today said...

I had to actually draw a mental picture so I could figure out which toe is hurting. That toe gets babied a lot so hopefully it will get better soon. Can't run without it...Good luck

Sunshine said...

Wikipedia has a couple of interesting paragraphs about Morton's toe.

Shoes just a half size longer have been helpful for me.

blue haired lady said...

Hey Pete,
just checking in... Ever thing that maybe it's just the universe trying to tell you that running is a little hard on the body? Nah...

Susan said...

I coulnd't agree more with the title of this post! I do hope you get relief soon.

And THANK YOU for telling me of your oldest's birth; it's just good to know I'm not the only woman who ever had such an ordeal! 100% worth it, mind you, but an ordeal none the less!

Rainmaker said...

I think yo ought to cut if off. Slice-a-roo!

Funny you mention this, I managed to get a blister under the same toe last night on the treadmill. Seriously...totally unnessessary.

Oh, and sorry I didn't make it out again to the race this week. :(

Dori said...

Hope it gets better soon. You could always bike ride alongside the running group you coach.

va loans said...

That toe might be small but it can produce the most pain.