For me, one of the toughest parts of aging is the physical aches and pains that come with it, especially when it comes to running. This past year has been especially tough in that regard. Since the marathon in May, it seemed that I was always complaining about something – my foot, my hip, hamstrings, glute – and every week had a different flavour. The constant nagging of something not feeling right was one of the reasons I volunteered to take time off at the beginning of July.
In August, after a month of lower mileage (about 40 kilometres per week), my foot continued to scream at me. I saw my physiotherapist, who commented on a huge callous forming (“I’ve seen callouses on your feet before but nothing like this,” she told me), and suggested seeing a chiropodist to have it looked after.
Last week, I went to a foot clinic, fearing the worst. I worried that they would think there was a fracture or a break, something that would mean staying off my feet for a few months. The chiropodist spent a few minutes stretching and manipulating both of my feet and asked a few questions of my running and the aches that my foot gave me. And, then, I got the news.
“Your second and third metatarsals have dropped. We can fix that with orthotics.”
I did not see that coming at all. “Really?” I thought. “I’ve been sitting here for less than 5 minutes and you want me to drop $500 on orthotics. Don’t you think you could, at least, schmooze me a bit first? At least, give me 7 or 8 minutes.” Instead, I bit my tongue. “I don’t want orthotics,” I replied.
And I don’t. It has nothing to do with the cost (but I have to admit that it does have me thinking twice). I just don’t want them. I had them 2 years ago and they were heavy; they slowed me down and my glutes were always tight. I got rid of them and my feet and legs started to feel much better. I tried to explain this to her but she countered, “They aren’t that heavy. Lots of runners wear them. You won’t even notice them.”
But I will. I asked about doing other things, such as watching my mileage, making sure my shoes were always supportive (mine had worn out in June), working regularly with my physiotherapist and having my calloused feet pampered every 5 weeks or so. I will do whatever it takes to stay out orthotics.
I do realize that most of the aches and pains that I’ve been feeling stem from the dropped metatarsals. And, yes, I know that I need to do something but to jump right into orthotics without trying simpler methods first does not make any sense to me. So I am going to try all of the above and, if I don’t see any progress by the beginning of December, then and only then, will I consider orthotics.
How many of you wear orthotics? Who has worn them but got rid of them? Why? Tell me your story, please.