May 23, 2014
So, I went to the podiatrist today.
Don’t worry, I’m not injured. Well, I am, but it’s not acute and won’t get in the way of Ironman Wisconsin. For the past year or so, I’ve noticed the sides of both my feet have developed a bump and have caused my little toe to start turning inward toward the other toes:
As you can see, it’s pretty noticeable – when I got fitted for my tri bike last spring the fitter asked me if they caused me any pain. And at that time, they didn’t. But since then they’ve gotten a little worse and they do sometimes cause me pain now after running. Consulting with Dr. Google, I determined I had bunionettes, or Tailor’s Bunions, on each of my feet. Bunionettes are just like bunions that typically occur at the base of the big toe, but happen on the other side of the feet. (They’re smaller and obviously wayyyyy more adorable, hence the “ette” name ) So basically, overtime, the most outward bone of each of my feet have gotten inflamed and slightly deformed, creating the bump and causing the pain. (Read more about them on eorthopod.com and wikipedia.)
Although Dr. Google has the highest reputation around *snort*, I decided a while ago that I should go see a real doctor. And the day arrived! I saw Dr. Stroebel at Agnesian’s Foot and Ankle Clinic. He was GREAT! He’s a very nice man, and he explained things very well to me using his dry erase foot chart:
It didn’t take him long to do an exam and concur with Dr. Google. I asked if these developed because of my running or something else. He said “Oh it’s from your running.” without missing a beat! He said it’s common in women with thin, narrow feet, which I apparently have.
Then he ordered x-rays:
He explained that the X-rays were required because bunionettes are typically due to swelling of the top part of the bone, but can sometimes involve the 5th metatarsal bone getting sorta bent, and that requires different treatment than if the bones are straight. Hey look – mine are straight!
When Dr. Stroebel saw my x-rays he told me I have BEAUTIFUL feet – his emphasis, not mine! Apparently I’ve got great bone density, good arches, nice straight metatarsals, good alignment, and perfect joints (you know, except for the bunionettes). Way to go, feet!
I did the classic “rating scale” question: On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst, where are my feet? He rated my feet at a 4. He then explained there are basically three treatment options for bunionettes:
1). Suck it up. Ok, he didn’t say that, I did. But basically that’s what the first option is – just buy shoes with large toe boxes so they don’t rub so much, and treat the soreness like you would treat any other soreness after a workout – RICE-B – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation…and Beer to numb the pain. He might have said Ibuprophen and not Beer, but I’m not sure.
2). Less severe surgery: The doc cuts in to the foot and shaves the bone/joint down to it’s proper size. Outpatient, not a huge deal actually. Recovery is a couple weeks to 2 months before running again.
3). More severe surgery: The doc has to cut out a portion of the 5th metatarsal bone and realign it with pins. Recovery to running is a couple months.
If your bones are bent, you need option 3 – so I get options 1 and 2 – YAY! He said that due to the moderate nature of my bunionettes, surgery would be a reasonable option if I wanted to do that, but I don’t need to. At this point, I’m obviously just going to suck it up until after Ironman Wisconsin. I am considering surgery in the winter off season though. December or January would probably be a good time to be laid up. Therefore, if I do so, I have a couple months to determine who gets the privilege of waiting on me hand and foot (haha…foot!) during that period of time. To apply, compile your current resume, 3 recent references who can attest to your caring touch and ability to tolerate whining, and a 3,000 word essay about how I am the most awesomest person ever. Then send your materials to me attached to a new Wahoo Kickr indoor bike trainer.