My foot has been sore for awhile now but I ignored the pain and blamed it on bad shoes. Since I was planning on running another marathon this fall, I decided to have it checked out just in case. I figured he would tell me to rest it a bit and then I’d be ready to start training again mid-June. No such luck.
My jaw hit the table when he said the word “surgery”. The jaw was followed by a waterfall of tears. My official diagnosis: Hallux Rigidus.
Hallux rigidus is a disorder of the joint located at the base of the big toe. It causes pain and stiffness in the big toe, and it gets increasingly harder to bend the toe. We use our big toe whenever we walk, run, squat, lunge, climb up, or even stand. Hallux Rigidus is actually a form of degenerative arthritis (a wearing out of the cartilage within the joint that occurs in the foot and other parts of the body). It can be caused by overuse, biomechanical issues in your foot, or even genetics.
It is a progressive condition that when caught early, can be corrected. (hindsight is 20/20. Learn from me, check your big toes right now!) I unfortunately waited way too long to have this checked out because I now have a large bone spur growing on top of my toe joint. This has become so painful that it hurts to the touch. (especially when a certain 2 year old decides to stand on my feet!) It also makes it difficult for me to bend my all important toe joint. I can walk and run right now but it is painful to do so.
The only course of action I have is surgery. The bone spur needs to be removed and the arthritic damage needs to be removed from the joint.
Your big toe is more important than you probably realize as with every step you take, it bears the impact of about twice your body weight. I have taken it for granted, saying over and over that my foot was just sore and it would be fine once I took a rest or changed shoes, etc. My big toe was screaming for help and I did not listen. I stupidly ignored the warning signs and now I am looking at a summer without running and limited other activity.
This means no fall marathon and probably no races at all this summer or fall. I am pretty crushed since I need to be active. I need to go for long runs and take the kids for walks. Being active is part of who I am and without it I do not feel whole. It is a definite setback.
So tell me gang, have you been injured and if so, how did you adapt your workouts?