First appointment with Dr. Patel…
I had my first appointment with my orthopedic foot specialist, Dr. Patel, today. I went to him because my mother-in-law worked with him. She was a nurse at the orthopedic center he practices at, she recommended him and has confidence in him, so I do as well. She retired from there at the beginning of this year, so she joined me for my appointment. She enjoyed seeing all of her old coworkers, and I was happy to have someone there that actually understands this stuff. I’m guessing he’s right about my age, is confident, outgoing and friendly. I feel good that the treatment he will provide will be very helpful for my long term health.
He looked at the x-ray and MRI with me showing me what it meant. Very interesting, I definitely learned a lot. He asked me to give him the whole story on what led up to the injury. I explained basically everything that has happened with my running starting with my first marathon in March up to switching to the Vibrams and eventually the injury and dropping out of the Wickedly Fast Half Marathon. He ordered some more x-rays to see how it has progressed since the last one.
After getting the x-rays, it was back in the room with Dr. Patel. He said that it is coming along well, but these things take time to heal and I need to have patience. Too much too soon could cause serious damage. He did an exam of both my feet and was interested to find that I have less sensation in my right foot (the injured one) than my left foot. This has always been true, I’ve never paid much attention to it, but my left foot has always been the sensitive type. This caused he concern because I had told him that when I have pain in my foot, even when I had to drop out of the race, the pain goes away fairly quickly and I am comfortable on it again. This has made him want to be a little extra cautious, he doesn’t want me to do something that should hurt, but me just not feel it.
He did not feel that switching to the Vibrams without a break in period caused the problem. He thinks it may have been the last straw, but he believes that a series of things starting with the marathon contributed to the problem and it would have happened with or without the switch. In fact, much to my delight he stated that he believes that barefoot or minimalist running is less stressful on the feet due to the improved form it forces you to develop. That made me happy because I fully intend to get back to my Vibrams once this is over. Once he decides I can return to running I will discuss with him how he feels I should go about working back into minimalist running. I’ve been blaming myself for all of this for not breaking into the Vibrams slower, so it was nice to hear that I can stop beating myself up about that since he feels the injury would have happened anyway.
Then he dropped the bomb on me. I was expecting it, it has only been a little less than 3 weeks since the race I dropped out of, but I had allowed myself to hope for better. 3 to 4 more weeks with absolutely NO running. In 2 weeks I can start using a stationary bike (not a regular bike) with low resistance and not too long on the miles. I am going back for another appointment with him on May 26th and he will determine then if he believes I’m ready to get back to running.
Well, that’s that. I will have a total of at least 6 weeks with no running. I’m going to use these next 3 weeks to reevaluate my plans for the year. With that much time off I will need to start fresh and work my way back up. I will need to back off a lot of the aggressive plans I had for the fall. I’m not sure exactly what changes I will be making, but once I make some decisions on it I will post it here. It was disappointing, but I will use this as a fresh start.