Today I went to see Dr. Mahoney at the Des Moines University Clinic. He was recommended by a Daily Mile friend as being sympathetic to runners with feet problems. I went to my general practice doctor last week and he told me to just stop running if I wanted to get better. I think that’s like telling a fish to stop swimming.
I was expecting pretty much the same advice today.
After arriving at the clinic, paying my deductible and filling out 4 forms I was taken into a room by an assistant and an assistant to the assistant. Being a University clinic I assumed they were training students. I joked about getting the VIP treatment. I sat with the assistants and we talked about the injury. I explained how it happened and what I have been dealing with for the past 4-5 weeks. I asked them why the heck would they want to touch other people’s feet all day. They laughed at that. I appologied for my ugly feet but I guess they have seen “way worse”. They put on some gloves and prodded my foot for a while. After documenting everything they left and said they would return with Dr. Mahoney in a few minutes.
When the doctor came back in with the assistants we reviewed what I had told the assistants already with a few more questions from him. He then put me through a handful of tests. Most pushing and pulling with my feet. He also felt the bones and asking if this hurt or that hurt. I did some walking for him down the hall as everyone watched. I supported by body on my toes without any pain. I explained that I really don’t have much pain and that it is the swelling under the balls of my foot after my runs that bugs me. No one made a joke about swelling balls but I sure wanted to. They could see the area was swollen despite not running on it for 48 hours.
He confirmed what I had self diagnosed with the power of Google Search. Bone bruise. He said there is no way it could have a break or fracture any place since I was able to do all the tests without any problems. He then explained where he thought the bruise was and why it was swelling, going down after a couple of days, and then swelling back up after a run.
I was waiting patiently for him to tell me to just take it easy and stop running. But to my surprise he said he wanted me to keep running. He reached in my work shoe and pulled out my insole. He said he was going to make me a special insert that would not cost me anything. I was surprised to say the least. Dr. Mahoney and his assistants left and I waited for them to make my insert. After a while the two assistants returned with a custom cut insert and lipstick. The assistants were going to circle the area on my foot that was bruised and have me step on the insert. Then they would build up the area all around the bruised area where the lipstick mark was. Before they marked up my foot I ask what color it was and that I needed to call my wife so that she did not think some hot nurse was kissing my feet. They told me the color was Fierce Fifty and I replied that is not my color. We all laughed at the the events that were taking place. I was just happy that this might relieve the pressure in the right area and allow me to keep on truckin’.
After the lipstick marking of my foot I stepped on the custom insole. That put the mark on the insole and they left. After a short wait they came back and handed me the insole. I was instructed to wear the insole every day in every shoes for the next week. I was to call them back and provide an update to see how I was doing. They let me go on my merry way. I was pretty happy about the entire deal and my foot felt good as I walked out of the clinic.
Here is a photo of the insole. It looks pretty janky but to be honest it feels great. The white area is a kind of a super compressed fiber material. Cotton maybe? They made it a little thicker than normal since I’d be running on it.
That is the Altra Lone Peak insert on the left next to the custom one. The red smug you see on the new insert is the lipstick mark.
I removed the Altra insert from the Lone Peaks right shoe and put in the custom one for my run tonight. I did a little over 10 miles and my foot felt the best it has in some time. My toes did tingle for a while on the run but nothing that preventing me from…. (wait for it)…. keep on truckin’. After I was finished with the run I took off my shoes and sure enough the bruised area felt really good. Not anything like it felt the last 4 weeks after my runs. Less swelling for sure. I am not sure it swelled any more than it already is on the run.
Woohoo, finally some progress in the right direction!
So in the end I am really excited and I think this custom insert is going to do the trick while my bone heals. I imagine that it will take another month to get back to 100%. But I think I can pick up my mileage now and try to savage a little fitness for my 50k ultra on the 17th. This weekend I will try to get in a 20+ mile run and then cycle down for the race on the 17th. With any luck I will be able to just squeak by for my first 50k ultra. All I know is that if I finish it will be a PR guaranteed since this is my first one.
Keep on Truckin’