diagnosis: you’re a dumbass

Yeah so, I hardly ever blog twice in the same day but I’m just so elated (and also livid) after the doctor’s appointment, I could hardly contain myself.

Programming note: If you’re not a runner or if you’re hardly interested in running injuries or physiology or shin pain or bunions or anything remotely close to this, or even if you are interested in these things but you don’t care what happens to me since I’m not you, this post is not going to hold your attention and you might as well just skip it.

1. The pain/swelling at the base of my shin is something those in the medical profession like to call anterior tibial tendonitis (sounds serious but it’s not), due to tying my laces too tight. Apparently, it’s pretty common among dumbasses.

Note to self: next time you’re out for a long run, remember that your feet swell up, dumbass.

I knew this already and I still didn’t even stop to wonder whether something on my shoes was causing the pain.

But my nice new sports physician took the time to ask me a whole bunch of questions about how I trained for the marathon, what type of shoes I was wearing, how far I’d been running prior, what kind of pain or injuries I’d had in the past and how tightly I laced my shoes before the race (questions, by the way, the podiatrist never bothered to ask*).

2. Those ridiculously expensive orthotics the podiatrist sold me are not the kind you’re supposed to wear for running (despite the podiatrist’s claims to the contrary). Nice new doctor sold me some inexpensive, soft, running orthotics — the kind you heat in the oven to mold to your foot, and said I can pretty much wear them in any shoe they feel comfortable in (obviously, heels and sandals notwithstanding).

3. There is something – besides surgery – that I can do to help slow the growth of my bunions (again, not what I was told by the podiatrist, aka that saw-happy sadist quack). He said – and this meant sooooo much to me – “we want to help you correct the problem without doing surgery. If you want to keep running, don’t ever let anyone operate on your feet.”


He said in order to help align my big toe and keep it from growing inward (and inflaming/aggravating los bunions), I just need to stick something between my first and seconds toes, like a piece of hard cotton or styrofoam. (He actually suggested clipping the tip off a tampon!) He said if I do that all the time, it might help slow the growth and (I kind of surmised) prolong the inevitable. But it’s better news than what the podiatrist told me, which was that there’s nothing I can do.

So, um. Yeah. Nothing earth-shattering, really. But when a doctor shatters your earth, it’s usually not good news anyway, right?

If I were to make a very broad, sweeping, and probably unfair and inaccurate generalization about the lessons I’ve learned today, it’s that podiatrists want to hack you up into little bits, and sports physicians want to help you continue participating in sports.

That is all.

*Looking back at the post I linked to about the podiatrist, in hindsight I think I gave him a lot more credit than he was due. I spent a good 20 minutes talking to the sports physician today while he explained some things to me; the podiatrist had me in and out in 15, and that included getting fit for the orthotics. Maybe it’s my fault for not asking enough questions, but then again, I didn’t really know what to ask.


8 thoughts on “diagnosis: you’re a dumbass

  1. I have a more severe bunion surgery with a very good podiatrist and I am running again! But I lost the expensive orthotics he prescribed in favor of water shoes to let my feet do their thing.

    All in all, hesitant to go back to the doc because they seem to follow cookie-cutter diagnoses and treatments.

  2. I hate doctors that rush you in and out. I always tie my shoes too tight, and then my toes fall asleep. But if they’re too lose I get blisters on my heels, sigh. Glad there are more options for you other than surgery!

  3. That is very good news and alternately, very annoying to have wasted time with a clueless doc. grr. Maybe from now on before choosing a doc, i’ll call up the office and ask if he/she is a runner/athlete.

    Report back on the Tampons! lol!

    • They worked okay — at first they were too hard and hurt my toes, but as tampons have habit of doing, they expanded and formed to the curvature of my toes (HEE HEE!) and felt better later on. But then the cotton started to unravel and they just kind of fell apart after a day or so. And I am NOT wasting a tampon every day just to stick between my toes. I bought some little gel toe spacers for a couple bucks and they’re fine. I haven’t tried running with them yet though.

      Yeah, as for the doctor, I got on the network for our health insurance and looked up sports medicine. He’s a regular primary care physician, he just specializes in sports medicine so he is more knowledgeable about running injuries and probably has a soft spot for athletes too. I’ve noticed that some doctors who don’t run think it wrecks your body and almost seem to try to warn you against it. Blar.

      Anyway, cheers.

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