Monday, January 4, 2016

Injinji & Morton's Neuroma

(A week after surgery. My little daughter was my big helper)

While the photo above doesn't really stand out to most, there is a long story behind it. That long story is Morton's neuroma. For those that have had this, or still do, you know the pain that is involved. And for those that do not know what it is, I will give you a little insight. The following was taken from Wikipedia.

"Symptoms include: pain on weight bearing, frequently after only a short time. The nature of the pain varies widely among individuals. Some people experience shooting pain affecting the contiguous halves of two toes. Others describe a feeling like having a pebble in their shoe or walking on razor blades. Burning, numbness, and paresthesia may also be experienced. The symptoms progress over time, often beginning as a tingling sensation in the ball of the foot."

While this sounds like loads of fun, I can assure you it is not. I have had many injuries since I started running. Injuries that have included muscle tears, small breaks, etc. Nothing...and I mean nothing, compares to the pain of having Morton's. It is an excruciatingly painful nerve disorder that can take the joys of daily life from you. And as any orthopedic doctor or podiatrist will tell you, there are quite a few ways to contract it. I was lucky enough to contract it from wearing ill fitting shoes while logging many many miles on the road and trails where I live. In the very beginning it was somewhat tolerable at times. But as time wore on, I went from running upwards of 100 miles a week to zero.

When enough was enough, I sought medical help. I was told that surgery was the last option, and that cortisone shots were the first. When speaking with my orthopedic surgeon, he told me that I was doing something right. I was wearing toesocks. Instead of bunching my toes up in a traditional sock, I was letting my toes splay out naturally, like they should. And with Morton's, that is exactly what you want your toes to do. From there, I was given two cortisone shots over a years time. But the neuroma was so excessive that the shots did not work. That's when we decided that surgery was our best bet. Again, I was told that I was helping my foot out by wearing toesocks. Granted, they were not curing the overall shooting pain when I put weight on it. However, they were helping relieve the serious soreness in my toes by keeping them in their natural position.

I am forewarning you now. To show you why the photo above is so monumental to me, I have to show you exactly where the surgery was performed. No blood or guts, but stitches. This was taken a day or two after my surgery. (The yellowness is from the iodine)

As you can see, the surgery was right between the third and fourth toes. It started at the bottom of the medical tape, went up and between the toes, and finished on the backside. It was very painful. Because of the size of the neuroma, I was to stay off my feet for a week. I had my surgery on the 19th of October. My recovery time was 10 to 12 weeks. In that time, I would be confined to a wheelchair, walker, and crutches. Slowly, very slowly, I would begin to put pressure on it and try some steps. When I tried that, or any standing in length, my foot would swell up fast. I was forced to stay in an orthopedic walking shoe. And because I had no real traditional socks, my foot would stay wrapped in a ace bandage. Finally, on the 44th day after surgery, I tried to slide an Injinji Toesock on.

And that's when the above photo was taken. It was a great feeling, that's for sure. The mesh top lock, arch support, and padded cushion felt great. It also helped by keeping the blood flow going, which kept it from swelling as much as it had previously. Another key feature is how the toesock is made. The top of my foot, and also between the toes, were not bothered by any ill placed stitching. It fit like a worn in glove, even though it was brand new. Everyday since, I have slept with a left Injinji on to keep it from overly swelling. I have also worn them each day since so my foot would heal properly.

I am now on the road to full recovery, albeit, a few minor setbacks. Two stress fractures due to my foot being weak from being off of it so long. In the long run, that is small potatoes compared to what I went through. I'll be back to logging miles sooner than later. In closing, I wanted to write this blog because a new friend on Twitter reached out and asked me about the benefits of wearing Injinji's. He told me he is also suffering from a mild case of Morton's.

As I tell people when talking about proper footwear, there is a reason podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons trust Injinji. It's because they work with proper toe alignment and keeping the foot balanced. And although I am an ambassador for Injinji Toesocks, that is not the reason I am writing this blog. I am writing this to let those that suffer from Morton's neuroma know that wearing proper fitting footwear can help alleviate some of the pain associated with Morton's. Just as wearing the proper shoes can help. You want your toes to splay out naturally. You don't want to shove them in an ill fitting, or improperly made shoe. That will only cause more pain.

So if you suffer from a mild form, or a more severe form as I did, please try a pair of Injinji's. If you need help selecting the right style, feel free to contact me. I am more than willing to help. And if you are wearing a narrow toeboxed shoe, check out Altra Running. They make everyday styles, as well as running and hiking models. For those that suffer, I wish you the best. And hope you get the relief you deserve. Thanks for reading.

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