At 9 years old, I cried SO hard when we left the doctor’s office. My feet were faulty. Apparently, my arches were collapsing. I had flat feet and tumbling caused incredible pain. However, the real problem was, I wasn’t going to be doing gymnastics anymore.
Gymnastics was a way our family played and engaged. My dad was a gymnast and watching it on TV was a huge family activity, as opposed to football or basketball. I knew I’d never be Dominique Dawes, but at 9 I learned I wouldn’t be a gymnast at all. Oh well. I ended up being too tall anyway.
Now, nearly 20 years later, my feet strike again. This time taking running away from me, although I don’t think permanently. However, this story is related. I swear.
From Freedom to Cast in 3 Hours
Last Wednesday, this is how it went down.
- 9:00 AM I drove to the Newport Orthopedic Institute.
- 9:40 AM I checked in for my appointment.
- 10:25 AM Waiting in a treatment room, staring at my x-rays.
- 10:50 AM Dr. Gerken came in, explained my foot problem and his plan.
- 11:05 AM Moved to the Cast Room. Mild inner panic.
- 11:30 AM Cast in place. Inner panic leaking outward.
- 12:15 PM I got home. Hungry, tired, and confused.
How in the hell? I went in to ask the doctor if I could run and came out in a walking cast? Seriously, a cast? I felt like I was 5 years old all over again. There was actually a girl about 5 in the cast room being held by her mom. It was so déjà vu it was creepy.
Dr. Gerken seemed to know exactly what was going on with my foot the moment he looked at the X-rays. Weirdly comforting and unsettling at the same time.
I had practiced my explanation of how I got hurt. That didn’t seem to matter. I had reminders on my phone of the questions I wanted to ask, “Can I run without damaging anything?”. Wrong question entirely.
To Dr. Gerken, the best course of action is no action. Immobilizing my foot/ankle for 4 weeks with the HOPE that it heals on it’s own and the pain stops. If it doesn’t stop the pain? Surgery.
He actually said I may want to become a cyclist. I was not amused.
I had to pick a color. These were my options. I can’t believe they still use the same colors. I was not in the mood for glitter and cast signings. Black it is.
But WHY do I need a cast!?
I am aware of the irony that I just started a running workout series. How could I film all those videos running and doing exercises but now be in a cast? Well, here is how things have been after my injury.
- When not weight-bearing, my foot has discomfort 75% of the time.
- When weight-bearing (standing/walking) there is discomfort/pain 90% of the time.
- When doing anything active it hurts in varying degrees, from Ow to %$#!, depending.
Sometimes I even limp. Clearly I don’t want to live like this. I asked to be referred to a specialist. I waited for the letter from my insurance to approve it. I got an appointment with Dr. Gerken. His website starts off with this:
Dr. Gerken specializes in the treatment of orthopedic problems affecting the lower extremity – from the knee to the foot & ankle. He has had extra fellowship training in these areas, and likes to focus on restoring one’s ability to walk and/or run effectively and pain free. “
Because of my Achilles
Heel Os Naviculare
Dr. Gerken explained that I have a common but unnecessary foot bone, known as the Os Naviculare. So I googled it. This skeletal accessory is known to cause problems and in some cases, it is surgically removed to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Unfortunately, the posterior tibial tendon attaches to this bone. If the bone is surgically shaved down to reduce discomfort or pain, this tendon has to be reattached.
Double unfortunately, the posterior tibial tendon is really important. It supports the arch of your foot. If it gets inflamed/torn, it doesn’t do that very well. No arch support means flat feet. Os Naviculare is also associated with flat feet. My feet have really made being active difficult.
I understand what I was dealing with as a 9 year old. This is why my feet get sore just for standing too long. This is why no fancy shmancy heels will EVER be comfortable for me.
And this is why we’re immobilizing my foot. Due to how my foot works and the damage to this tendon, we hope it will heal back to my version of normal. It may always be uncomfortable, but I’ve dealt with that my entire life. I’d rather not need surgery to shave down bone and reattach a tendon in order to walk or run without pain.
Wait, how did you get hurt?
I keep getting asked this. It’s been 3.5 months since the time of injury… so I’m not surprised. Here is an explanation AND the actual VIDEO FOOTAGE of when I hurt my foot.
So I put on a new pair of stiff sneakers and decided to dance wildly around my living room.
I admit, I was on a campaign that involved uploading fun videos and I got a bit over excited. In hind sight, it was so not worth it. So. So. Not. Worth it.
Here is the final edited video I did for that campaign:
The Cast Life
I was told not to get my cast wet, not to stick things down it to scratch an itch, and to generally stay off of it. Apparently beating at your cast to cause vibrations in order to alleviate an itch is acceptable.
Videos of running workouts are thankfully pre-recorded. In the mean time, I may do some “How to workout in a cast” videos. Come October, I should have this stupid thing off!
Curious about the weird extra foot bone? Read more on the Os Naviculare or Accessory Navicular Bone.
Related Post: The one when I got the cast removed.