... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Injury Update and Log

I have to apologize for the lag between posts, but there has been very little triathlon-related material to write about since I am not allowed to do any kind of exercise. But since I searched the internet high and low for information on trying to figure out what was wrong with my foot, to little avail, here is some information about my injury. Maybe it will help someone else who is wondering why the bottom of their foot is suddenly a gigantic bruise. This may also be useful to anyone looking for information about ankle sprains, broken metatarsals, acute fractures, et cetera. I know these details aren't the most exciting thing in the world, but since this is a training blog, I think they're relevant.

April 29th: I suffered two acute metatarsal fractures (3rd and 4th) exactly three weeks ago. I also sprained both my ankle and medial ligament. Symptoms-wise, the injury started with immense amounts of pain. I am a pretty tough cookie, but it was bad enough that I had to lay on the floor breathing deeply for over an hour to keep myself from passing out or throwing up. Cold sweats, shivering, the whole shebang. Really fun. This initial, intense pain lasted for about two hours, then was followed by another three hours of moderate to severe pain. This pain was indiscriminately distributed all over the foot, and it also felt like I was having severe cramps on the underside of my arch. After that it trailed off to minor pain which lasted the rest of the day. Any movement of the foot produced waves of discomfort, although the toes could be manually moved without pain. There was minor swelling over the second, third, fourth, and fifth metatarsals almost immediately, but notably no immediate bruising. Once the initial pain toned down a little, it seemed to be focused on the third-fifth metatarsal area and underneath my arch. The outside of the ankle was tender as well.

April 28th: It took a day for the swelling to really take effect. My foot puffed up like a puffer fish. The worst of it was over the metatarsals but I couldn't see any of my foot's shape. There was still no bruising.

April 30th: The bruise on the arch had turned dark purple. Oddly enough, though, the area wasn't sore to the touch. I went to the local doctor, who after looking at x-rays gave me the incorrect diagnosis that there were no fractures. Luckily, the radiologist disagreed and referred me to an orthopedist.

May 2nd: A bruise started to form underneath my arch and spread all over the arch area by the end of the day. The swollen area over the metatarsals turned a bluish-green color. Overall the foot felt oddly unstable and even trying to shower or bathe was difficult.

May 5th: The swelling was the same but bruises had appeared on the outside of the foot and my toes were also turning black and blue. The arch bruise just kept getting bigger and darker. I found out that submerging the foot in warm/hot water felt amazing and relieved some of the pain and instability.

May 6th: I was glad to get to the orthopedist when I did because things seemed to be getting worse rather than better. I was correctly diagnosed and put into the walking boot. At that point I still had to use the crutches to walk, taking a light step on the foot with the boot. Any more weight than that was too painful. The pain was located in the ankle and, not surprisingly, on the top of the foot between the arch and toes.

May 7th: I swam in the ocean! As I mentioned in my last post, I swam using only my arms, abstaining completely from kicking. It wasn't pretty, but it felt amazing to be in the water, able to move freely.

May 8th: I could finally walk in the boot without using crutches, but in a lurching, slow gait. I had to keep the affected leg in front of my body at all times, with no weight on the front of the foot. The swelling over the metatarsals was still really bad and the boot hurt if it was too tight. As instructed, I am taking it off for about half an hour each day during which time I use my hands to move my ankle around to keep it from getting stiff. I flex it as far as possible -- right now this motion is pretty good, and the stretch on my achilles feels great. Then I point my foot from the ankle without pointing my toes -- this one is harder. It has some tenderness in the achilles and arch and I don't have full range of motion. Then I sickle my ankle inward, which shows tenderness in the ankle but somehow still feels good. Since I'm a dancer, I am trying really hard to maintain my ankle's flexibility.

Weird, horrible-looking arch bruise
May 10th: Walking is easier. I still have to walk slowly and my gait is definitely affected, but I can take almost full steps in the boot. The swelling has gone down significantly and is localized over the metatarsals with just a hint around the ankle and medial ligament. The bruising on the side of my foot has gone away but the bruise under the arch just gets darker and darker. My toes are also still bruised. The only places that are sore to the touch are around the metatarsals and toes. Massaging around the ankle also results in a little tenderness.

May 14th: Everything is pretty much the same... I have been doing ab and arm workouts but obviously my legs are at the mercy of this injury. There is significant muscle wasting evident in my right leg. My right calf muscle is noticeably smaller than my left and it feels strange and squishy when I massage it, not the firm musculature I'm used to. Frustrating, but not much I can do about it.

May 17th: My foot is feeling increasingly stable. Not nearly to the point where I would feel comfortable walking on it or anything like that, but when I have the boot off it feels slightly better. Any movement, however, still results in the odd tight, unstable feeling in the metatarsal area. The ankle tenderness is improving.

May 19th: The ankle pain comes and goes. Sometimes it feels sensitive and others normal. I'm still doing the flexibility exercises, and the ankle swelling has almost disappeared. The only swelling now is over the top of the foot near the toes. The bruising on the arch is slowly shrinking, although the color is the same. The toes are still bruised. There are still some strange symptoms as well. For example, if I try to bend my big toe with a flexed foot, it shakes and won't cooperate. I'm not sure where that is coming from.

Overall, I am seeing some improvements now and that is encouraging. I'm going back for a follow up appointment in a week and a half, just to ensure that the bones are healing correctly. I am fighting with weight gain big time... I have gained a pretty solid 5-6 pounds. I considered controlling it with my diet, but decided that not being able to exercise is depressing enough. Add to it not being able to eat and that's just sad. I am making an effort to fill the fridge with fruits and veggies, but whatever gets added on will just have to be taken care of when I get back to training. Given how I lost weight training for the sprint-length triathlon, I'm not too worried about losing it again training for an Olympic length.

On a happy note, this injury has landed me in an amazing job. Because I couldn't start my job as a cocktail server, I had to look elsewhere. On the 14th I started my new job at a neurology office, starting as a receptionist, then being trained as an EEG technician. This is much more relevant to my interests and schooling and something I had looked at getting certified for in the past, but the training is very expensive. With this new job, I will get the training for free! Very exciting, and whenever I am feeling frustrated with the foot situation I remind myself that everything happens for a reason, and in this case it helped me find a wonderful new job!

As soon as a start a rehab program I will be posting it on here and I'll keep the blog updated with symptoms and new developments.

1 comment:

  1. Do you know the cause of the bruise arch of your foot? I recently severely bruised both of my heels and have been on crutches since and recently have been developing bruising along the arches of my feet. I read that bruising on the arches can be a symptom of Plantar Fascia, but I do not show any other symptoms of that ailment. If you could let me know what the doctor said about your bruised arches it would be awesome! Thank you. I'm really happy to hear you're getting better!