Today’s post is one I’ve been meaning to write for a while, but I took some time to really think about what I wanted to say. It’s honestly not the most cheerful news to share, and if you’re grossed out by feet you might want to stop reading right here, but it’s pretty important to me and will wind up having a big impact on my upcoming fitness routine, so I know it’s time to share.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might have noticed that I never, ever post pictures of my feet. There was this one rare shot in my recap of my trip to Punta Cana, but even in that picture one foot is hiding behind the other. Why is that, you ask?
It’s because I have a severe bunion on my right foot. A bunion, also known as hallux abducto valgus, is when your big toe points inward toward your other toes, creating a pointy bone on the side of your foot. See it there in the picture below?
I know you like my PJs 😉
Bunions are caused by a couple of different factors. According to my podiatrist, 80% of people with bunions get them from wearing shoes that are too tight, or push all your toes together (like ladies whose shoes are too narrow, or who wear high heels too often). The other 20% of bunion cases are caused by genetics, which is the kind I have. My foot looked like this when I was born, and there are a few women in my family who have bunions as well. Unfortunately, these genetic bunions are usually more severe, and are often harder to remedy.
Speaking of remedies, you may be wondering what happens when you have a bunion, and if it needs to be fixed. Unfortunately, the only way to fix a bunion is through surgery. Sure, you can buy different inserts for your shoe or try night braces (I’ve tried ’em all) but my doc swears they don’t do any good, and I have to say that in my experience, he is absolutely right.
Now of course surgery is pretty drastic, so you may be wondering why in the heck you would get surgery on your foot just because a bone sticks out. What’s the big deal, right?
Well, for me, my bunion has grown extremely painful in the last year or so. There are certain shoes that I no longer wear because after just a few minutes in them, my foot will be throbbing. Even once I take the painful shoes off, my foot will continue to hurt, and it’s starting to get really uncomfortable and annoying. All the running doesn’t help, and each and every time I run, my foot is painful. That’s a lot of pain. I would say that my foot hurts each and every day, and some days it hurts worse than others.
Here you can see how red and irritated the skin is after wearing a cute pair of booties all day.
I’ve always known I would need to have this surgery one day; even when I was a little kid I went to the doctor for my foot and he told me that one day, “when you’re in your 20s,” you will probably need to have surgery. Blissfully, that seemed so far away, so I didn’t give it much thought.
Then a couple years ago I saw another doctor, who confirmed that surgery was in my imminent future. He told me to wait to have the surgery until I was in a lot of pain, since the recovery is pretty brutal and takes a long time. I remember happily replying that my foot didn’t hurt that much, so I would wait. Then I went on my way and once again, put my foot problems on the back burner.
Then this year, for whatever reason, my foot started to really hurt. A lot. I went to the doctor before Thanksgiving, and he gave me the news I was dreading – it’s time.
So what’s next? Well, I will be getting surgery on my foot on January 9. I will have to be on crutches for a month, and then in a boot for about 6 – 10 weeks, depending on how fast my foot heals. That means I will (hopefully) be out of my boot sometime in March, and can slowly start working my strength back up for running and other fitness activities at that time.
The doctor did warn me that it could take months (even after the boot) before my foot feels comfortable again, and it could even be up to a year before it’s fully back to normal. Yikes.
Of course this means that the DC Rock ‘n Roll half in March that I already have a bib for is now out (I was so excited for that race!!) and I am going to have to find an alternative way to stay in shape in the late winter/early spring (I have a feeling my abs and upper body will be ridiculous!). Although all of this news really depressed me at first, I have now come to accept it.
My foot has been bothering me so much lately, that I know this is something I need to take care of. Fabio pointed out that I’m only 25 years old, and I have a loooong life ahead of me. Do I want to spend the rest of my life in pain? No. The doctor also told me that the younger I am when I get the surgery, the easier the recovery will be, so it just doesn’t make sense to put it off any longer. My job is going to let me work from home while I’m on crutches, which is a huge help.
All of this is to say that the blog is going to be a bit light on the fitness front at the beginning of next year, so expect a lot of recipes and food talk instead. 😉 I hope you’ll all continue reading even though there will be less fitness talk, and I will do my best to continue varying my posts and keeping things interesting.
For now I’m trying my best to stay positive about the whole thing, but you can bet I’m scared and more than a little sad about it. Sigh.
Question of the day: Have you ever been injured/out of the fitness game for so long?