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Friday, September 16, 2011

Foot neuroma, mousetraps and other injuries

This week marks the start of something remarkable, wonderful that I never thought I could experience again: I am back to running! Yay! After two months of dealing with painful and annoying neuroma in my right foot, I’ve been running again. I’m slow, my endurance is shot and I need new running shoes, but at least I’m doing it.

The sordid tale began with wearing uncomfortable shoes to work, coupled with running in Brooks Green Silence that don’t support my natural foot strike, forcing me to land repeatedly on the ball of my feet. Great shoes though, wide, comfortable and super-super light. I did half-marathon in them this spring, and had no foot issues whatsoever up to that point. As my weekly mileage increased, I noticed repeated numbness and pain in the ball of my foot. After about a month of limping, I went to highly, ahem, capable foot doctor who waived a chicken bone took x-rays of my foot and told me to stop running for now. That was in June. After constant whining on my part, repeated visits, co-pays and two cortisone shots, I ordered orthotic inserts. Still waiting to receive the left one. In the meantime, the pain gradually went away. I have to be careful, take it slow (running with the girls in the stroller has been great, it adds to endurance training and keeps me from sprinting) and ice my foot after running.

These are the treatment options should the pain persist or return:

1. Orthopedic inserts (can’t speak to them, don’t have them yet)

2. Cortisone shots – actually did wonders for me, although the process is a little freaky

3. Should the orthotics provide no long-term relief, alcohol injections into the nerve to destroy it. Those actually been shown to have high success rate (80%), but most insurance plans don’t cover them, check with your doctor

4. Last, but not least – nerve removal. Done as an outpatient procedure, the side effect is permanent numbness of the affected toes. Not fun but covered by most insurance plans (gotta love American healthcare, no?). I had a nerve-numbing agent injected into my foot, and not being able to feel two toes out of five is a bit unsettling…

In case you are wondering, foot neuroma is characterized by feeling of numbness, “pebble”-feeling in the bottom of the foot, and tingling. It is worse in the mornings, and wearing narrow shoes or running shoes with minimal support can trigger it. Initially, I had to wear an orthopedic boot for a month, which helped to reduce the pressure on the spot.

In other reassuring news – Sonya’s finger got caught in the mousetrap over the weekend. Because you know, I don’t feed my kids so they have to scavenge for food.

A cautionary tale for all cookie-lovers:
Once upon a time, Kevin and I decided to do an addition on our house. The construction dislodged a family of mice that was determined to have its revenge. With floors being semi-finished, there was a small hole around the radiator pipe. Little nimble mice kept climbing through it inside, eating all our food and pooping. In retaliation, we set up a mousetrap. Since (based on previous experiences) even our mice are foodies, they refused to eat usual mouse-food (like peanut butter, cheese, etc), we bated it with Nilla Waifer cookie. It worked, one visitor met his/her untimely death, and we bated the trap again for good measure. So it sat there, silent yet deadly, for a day…

Meanwhile Saturday was upon us. Maya and Sonya stole the box of Nilla Waifers from the kitchen counter and ate them all. Then they decided to see if anything was left on the floor (sure, the most logical place to look for food!). Sonya came across the mousetrap, rejoiced to see the cookie in it, but nothing is free in this cruel-cruel world as we all know. You can imagine the rest. As I held sobbing Sonya in my lap with an ice pack around her finger, Maya wisely mentioned “sissy, no touching! It was mouse’s present!”. J

Coming soon: why we are afraid of raccoons or how Disney stole my children’s sleep, and why we like Laurie Berkner.          

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