Saturday, September 9, 2017

Light at the End of the Tunnel

The last 18 months have challenged my identity as a runner. As I've dealt with the pain of hallux rigidus in my right foot and recurrent numbness in my left foot, there were many times I questioned whether I would truly ever think of myself as a runner again.

I am relieved and grateful to be able to say that I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I finally see myself as a runner again!

Hallux Rigidus Management

  • Orthotics with a Morton's extension limit the movement of my big toe, largely eliminating any discomfort from hallux rigidus.

  • New Balance 880v7 are deep enough for my orthotics and actually come in my size (5.5 D). They even have a beautiful porcelain blue color. I deeply regret not buying a second pair before they sold out of my size...

  • I replaced most of my (non-athletic) shoes with orthopedic shoes. I would be lost without Naot, the only brand that makes beautiful orthopedic shoes in my size. 

Naot "Amato" - my fanciest orthopedic shoe

Numbness Management

  • For years I thought I had neuromas, and had managed the numbness with wide shoes and lock laces, but they were no longer doing the trick.

  • I obtained my written medical records while working through the hallux rigidus diagnosis and discovered how tenuous my neuroma diagnosis actually was. It was speculative, at best.

  • I now suspect the numbness is a circulatory issue. After lots of experimentation, I've settled on lacing my shoes differently to reduce the pressure on the top of my foot and keep the tongue of my shoe from shifting around. My last 6 runs have been free of numbness.

Lydiard lacing with a tongue twist

  • I've experimented with so. many. different. socks. In the end, I've come back to my original favorite, 2XU low rise performance socks. They are just the right thickness for me and give my toes enough wiggle room (but not so much wiggle room that I get blisters).

It Takes a Village

My comeback has been slow. Slow on the calendar. Slow in pace. Slow to add distance. I am beyond grateful to the "village" that has supported me and stuck with me as I've slowly sorted all of this out and begun to rebuild my running self. 

I am especially appreciative of three women who have each run with me on a near weekly basis over recent months, even though it meant running slower (often MUCH slower) than they otherwise would run on their own. Thank you Lynn, Susan R, and Susan K! Your constant companionship on so many runs that were far more tortoise than hare has meant so much to me.

And big thanks to my husband, Rick, who often twists his own schedule into a pretzel so I can run with my village people. And to my little guy, who is my biggest cheerleader and fan.


Up Next

I actually have some races on the horizon! A couple of 10Ks this fall, and - if all goes well - a half marathon in the spring...

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