This year has been frustrating when it comes to trying to exercise the way I’d like. The issues I’ve had started back in April of this year when an area just below my big toe started hurting, and it prevented me from walking at a fast pace. So jogging was out of the question. For 2 weeks, the part I’m pointing to in the picture (and a little below that area) would hurt and get irritated, so I took 2 weeks off from walking/jogging so it would get better. Someone had suggested bone spurs, but thankfully it went away. This pain was present mainly when the foot would be in an arched position, so the pattern of walking or rolling from heel to ball of foot was sensitive. It didn’t interfere with everyday casual walking, just more strenuous exercising.
Things got better, and I went back to my normal exercise program, doing Zumba twice a week and doing walking/jogging intervals 3-4 times a week. I was pushing hard towards my fitness goal to run a mile in less than 12 minutes and was making excellent progress. That’s something I’ve never done (a mile in less than 12 minutes), not even in high school when we had to do it twice a year.
That goal had to be put on hold in September when I developed what I think was just a very painful callus on the side of my big toe, along with possible shin splints.
I took this picture earlier this week to point out the area where the callus was. I still have callus issues in that spot, but it doesn’t get painful unless I do a couple weeks of exercising 5-6 times a week. It never really gets much bigger than what’s in the picture, but it does get painful, to the point that I couldn’t walk or jog. Don’t judge the feet and toenails too much; I’m in need of another pedicure this week!
And the pain from the possible shin splints was right in the area on top of my leg (in the below picture). It wasn’t dreadfully painful as my boyfriend said it can be. It really only bothered me when I tried to jog.
So once again, I had to take a little time off so everything could heal. I don’t understand why, after months of walking/jogging, I started having issues with shin splints. In an effort to strengthen those muscles (and my core), I started doing a little strength training at the gym.
It has been two months since I’ve done any walking & jogging intervals and 3 weeks without Zumba. I miss it terribly. After the shin splints and callus pain went away, I developed an odd pain in my lower leg, to the side of my shin. The pain was originating from one specific spot rather than the full length of the bone.
I was limping around everywhere at this point. I Googled to see what would cause pain in the area and did nothing but scare myself. I stopped walking and jogging intervals but still went to Zumba twice a week, doing lower impact moves.
The leg pain finally subsided after weeks, but immediately in its place was pain on top of my foot, underneath the smaller toes. After 2 weeks of taking it light with the foot pain, I finally caved and went to a podiatrist. That was 3 weeks ago from yesterday (Nov 18th). I just wanted to find out what was going on so I could get better and get back to exercising. X-rays didn’t really show anything; he said there was a tiny spot on the 4th metatarsal bone that might indicated a small stress fracture. That is the area I am pointing to below in the picture.
That spot was also the most sensitive when he was pressing on different parts of my foot. He said this area is one of the most common places a stress fracture starts, especially with women. I declined wearing the orthopedic boot and vowed to follow his directions for the next 2 weeks: no flip flops, no high heels, no exercise (unless I wanted to do an upper body workout only), and wear hard-soled shoes to limit the movement on the stressed area. I also iced it 2-3 times a day for about 10 minutes. He said if there was still pain in 2 weeks, I should come back in for another x-ray, and if the stress fracture still didn’t show up clearly on the x-ray, he would do an MRI, and that would tell us for sure what was going on.
While I was at the podiatrist, I mentioned the callus issue I have on the side of my big toe, just to make sure it was a callus. I was always under the impression it would get thicker and bigger, and it never did when it got painful. It was just a callus, and that basically be a trial and error thing until I find the right walking/jogging shoes. He said it could also be the way my foot naturally lands and rubs on my shoes. The big toe on my left foot has never had this problem, and I used to not have this issue on the right big toe. It has to be a shoe thing.
Anyway, for a week, I felt absolutely no signs of improvement with the pain on the top of my foot. It hasn’t been until the past week (beginning of the 3rd week after my doctor visit) that I stopped limping, but the pain is still very mildly there. For a few days, it seems the pain had shifted from the top of my foot into the lower part of the smaller toes (see where I’m pointing to in the picture below). That has pretty much went away now, and I don’t feel the lingering pain as much now.
I am really careful right now with how I land on that foot (such as going down stairs). I want to make sure it completely heals before any higher-impact moves happen with it. I went back to the gym this past Monday to do strength training, using an elliptical for the warm-up, and I had to remind myself when I was finished that I did NOT need to walk/jog my usual mile afterwards. I don’t want to jump back in too hard and reverse everything at this point. I did go to Zumba Tuesday morning and forced myself to stay lower impact. There were a few moves I tried in which I felt a little, tiny protest from my foot, so I’m just going to listen to my body. After 3 weeks of not doing Zumba, my hate rate hit 192 a couple of times (even doing lower impact stuff) whereas my peak heart rate usually was between 165 – 173’ish. The body seems to forget so easily!!
I just know I felt so much better after working up a good sweat! I’ll be going back to Zumba this morning as well. I hope stress fractures won’t be a common recurrence for me. The past couple of months have sucked, and I’m glad to be getting back to some of my normal cardio routines.