So rehab is starting to make some progress. Overall I think Piriformis was the issue. I am now able to bike and run, although I am not able to do so with any intensity at this point. That's the good news. The not so good news is that all the extra swimming I did flared up some older shoulder issues from high school and college...so I have taken a little break from swimming. And now I have a full blown case of swimmer slackeritis. The idea of getting up in the morning to swim is so revolting I simply turn the alarm off in the mornings and roll over. I'm not proud of that.
Having said that I can fully justify my behavior by simply saying...who cares. It's swimming. I'll be one of the top swimmers no matter what. That may sound arrogant as hell, but seriously, a few weeks off won't impact anything in the grand scheme.
On another note, the bad news is that I am considering another surgery.
Before I continue, allow me to difinitively say that I do not have Munchausen syndrome. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchausen_syndrome
I'm sure denial is an indicator for this disorder...and so maybe I do have it. But I was once told that if you're able to question your own sanity...then you can't be insane. I'm all good.
In any case, here is the deal. Many years ago, probably close to 10, I have a rather large bunion removed from my right foot. The surgical procedure ended up shortening my big toe, and not by an insignificant amount. At the time I thought nothing of it as I wasn't terribly athletic yet...I had just started into triathlons. I'd had the bunyon all my life, wearing dress shoes all the time for work and then starting to run caused a lot of problems.
Long story short, one of the potential problems that was not addressed with the bunion surgery is that my 2nd and 3rd toes are now too long. And as I wear socks, my toes get bunched up. Typically the big toe is strong enough to prevent that, but not in my case as the toe is too short. That, over the years has led to hammer toes.
Overall I'd say I've been dealing with this for at least 5-7 years. I can't remember when it first started to surface. At one point I had the tendon lengthened in my 2nd toe, and that seemed to help a lot. But over time the problem has returned. As things currently stand walking actually hurts worse than running. Dress shoes tend to suck. It's a giant pain...in my foot.
I haven't posted anything about this for a vareity of reasons, but the primary one was that I could ignore it. As my regular readers, my natural tendency is to ignore the pain until it becomes a full-blown issue preventing me from doing what I want or even requiring a trip to the ER.
I've tried orthotics and they helped a bit. I tried a metatarsal pad, which I still use. But that's been ineffective. Lately I've been using a tape-job that essentially limits the toes range of motion. For the most part, this is the most effective treatment I have. And it is only 30-40% effective. It only makes things a bit less painful.
As I was doing some rehab and thinking about the season I came to realize a few things:
First off, I know for a fact that I am favoring that foot. And that could lead to a host of other problems...including an imbalance in my hips causing the piriformis syndrome. Even if that isn't the cause, now that my glute pain is gone, I've noticed that my foot actually hurts. That's not good considering how little I've been running. It's generally sore with some sharp pain thrown in with every step. I've also noticed that my right leg is generally sore in the foot/ankle/shin region. That can't be a good thing.
But more than that, I have no real plans for this season. I have no race to qualify for, and I don't even really care. I've always known that my foot would require some work, and I've taken every half-measure possible at this point. Perhaps the time for half-measures is at an end. Especially since I'd like to train and race for the long-term, this may be the best overall option.
Last time I saw a foot doctor for this they did say that shortening my 2nd and 3rd toe should resolve this issue. Recovery is around 3 months, so if I were to have this done in about a month from now, I'd be able to get back into some training after 2 months, running after 3 or so. That puts me into July. Not so bad.
We'll see what the doctor says in early April.
In the mean time, rehab and working out will continue as if there are no issues. Should be fun.