All About my Stinky Feets, Part 1

January 17, 2010 at 8:13 am 9 comments

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what’s wrong with my feet. I’ve been hesitant to write too much about it because I don’t want to sound whine-y, but I do want to try to answer your questions. 🙂 So here’s the gist.

Thirteen and a half months ago I felt a pain in the forefront of my foot, around the metatarsals. I had been wearing heels at a wedding, and had run 3 miles beforehand, so I brushed it off as fatigue from one of those two things. However, the pain didn’t subside, and it started to bruise. I’d had a stress fracture several years back, and this felt hauntingly similar. After much research, I was pretty convinced I’d done it again. Even knowing there wasn’t much that could be done, I headed to the doctor to get it checked out.

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The x-rays didn’t reveal a fracture, but the doctor was fairly certain that’s what I had. Plus, it was early in the injury, and stress fractures can take several weeks to appear on a x-ray. So home I went in an attractive blue boot. Not even one of the cool plastic black ones.


I was devastated that I had to stay off my foot for 6-8 weeks. Crushed. I was blissfully unaware of what was to come.

Weeks and weeks passed. I was an excellent patient. I stayed off of it as much as I could, responsibly listening to the doctor so I could get back to running sooner. There seemed to be no improved; no change in the amount of pain. If anything, it was getting worse. I was downing endless combinations of Advil, Tylenol, and Aleve to no avail. (Which I never did) I knew in my heart something wasn’t right. A stress fracture would be healing, even if it took awhile.

Back to the doctor I went. Still no stress fracture on the x-rays, but obvious pain and trauma. I was sent to an orthopedic doctor, who took yet another set of films. No stress fracture, no bone spurs, no neuromas, no nothing. He told me it was probably metatarsalgia(inflammation of the metatarsals) and I should get new running shoes and run with metatarsal pads. While I knew this wasn’t right, I got new shoes, and I put metatarsal pads in all my shoes.

Fast forward a few more weeks with no positive progress. I returned to the orthopedic where I was given an MRI. The MRI revealed little more than some inflammation. He told me to live with it and come back in 6 months. (I’m still barely able to walk during this time).

At some point during that process, my liver had enough. It was tired. No more pain medication for me. It wasn’t doing anything anyways.

Frustrated, exhausted, and in pain, I headed back to my original doctor at the end of February. My right foot had not shown any improvement, and now I was getting the same pain in the left foot. It obviously was not a running injury. I hadn’t run in almost 4 months, and a new pain had appeared. A week or two later, the pain showed up in my hands. If my hands and feet could be interchanged, the pain would have been in the exact same place, the exact same feeling.

The doctor’s next guess was rheumatoid arthritis, but all tests were negative. She sent me to a rheumatologist. He ran every test in the book. (He didn’t do this willingly- I basically had to beg and plead for him to try anything, but you have to be your own advocate. He wasn’t living in pain- I was.) Lots of tests- parvovirus, hepatitis, Lyme disease, lupus, RA…  Still no answers. Come back in 6 months.

Meanwhile, I was thoroughly run down and exhausted, my hair was falling out in frighteningly large clumps, and my white blood cell count and platelets had been in the tank. After several re-checks, I was sent to a hematologist. She agreed my blood work didn’t look good, but couldn’t come up with a clear cut answer. Her best guess was some kind of connective tissue disorder, or a lingering virus. Perhaps a bit of a vitamin B12 deficiency, although it wasn’t revealed in the blood work. The only thing she found in my lab work was a positive ANA. So she sent me back to the rheumatologist, where I found out it was very inconclusive and there was little they could do with the additional information but wait and see what happens. Come back if it gets worse.

Worse? I couldn’t fathom what worse would be. I could barely walk- forget run or dance. I could barely hold a pen- I had trouble signing my notes at work, and opening charts was a task that left me thoroughly exhausted. I couldn’t open jars,  and I had trouble with door handles. I winced if anybody touched my hands or feet. I couldn’t sleep at night- even a sheet on top of my feet caused enough pain to wake me. I clearly remember the day I had to get my husband to zip and button my pants for me. I didn’t want to know what worse was.

I knew it could be worse- at least I had hands and feet. They did function, albeit with pain and difficulty. I wasn’t in a wheelchair; I wasn’t bedridden. I constantly tried to keep that in mind and keep a positive outlook.

Despite my efforts, it started taking a huge toll on me mentally. As soon as the bruise on my foot faded, there were no visible signs of anything being wrong. At times, I felt doctor’s didn’t believe anything was wrong. I wondering if it was all in my head. It’s tough to fight for answers when you feel that way. Frustrated doesn’t begin to describe it. I cried daily for no reason. You can only tell people you are hurting so many times- I didn’t want to be annoying, or unpleasant to be around. And people stop listening anyway. I thought if I didn’t say anything, maybe it would go away.

Stayed tuned for Part 2… (if you haven’t fallen asleep already)


Entry filed under: Other.

Wedding in the Snow All About my Stinky Feets, Part 2

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Shannon  |  January 17, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Oh my! You poor thing! This all had to be really scary! Knowing that you are now training for a half marathon, I am hoping there is a happy ending….

  • 2. theprocessofhealing  |  January 17, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Oh wow… that is AWFUL!! Obviously you are running now so there must be a good ending to this but i’m so sorry you had to go through that!!!

    And thank you so much for opening and sharing all of that.. I know that must be hard!

  • 3. Becca  |  January 17, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Oh my gosh! I’m anxiously awaiting part two. Sounds like you’ve been through the ringer!

  • 4. lindsayruns  |  January 17, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Put me to sleep??? I was on the edge hoping you would say you’ve found a diagnosis!

  • 5. parismtnstriding  |  January 17, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    You are so brave and your ability to stay positive is completely impressive. I know exactly how frustrating that is and I can’t wait to hear the ending. What an inspiration.

  • 6. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair  |  January 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Oh no! I’m nervous about Part II!! I hope everything is OK…

  • 7. Shelly  |  January 17, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    I am hoping this has a happy ending but I’m getting worried. I hope Part II is posted soon!

  • 8. Heather  |  January 18, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    What a horrible story! I am so nervous to read part 2.

    I can only imagine what you have been going through.

    I’m hoping for a happy ending!

  • 9. Moe Monday…on Tuesday « with a Side of Sneakers  |  January 19, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    […] guess my feet posts ended up being pretty adequately timed- I’ve had a minor set back. The amount of pain has […]


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Welcome! This blog is all about food & fitness, and trying to find balance after an injury. Read along as I train for a half-marathon, triathlon, & have FUN while staying healthy!

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