Hello fellow Lisfrancers and other readers of this almost defunct blog. It has been some time since my last update. I sometimes receive updates that my ‘stats are booming’ so I know there are still people out there (binge) reading this. That makes me very happy and I hope some of the information contained in these pages is helpful. There have been several times when I’ve wanted to write. Life gets in the way. As far as my injury goes, let’s recap quickly:
June 10, 2013 is when I suffered my Lisfranc injury. Three weeks of doctor’s appointments, MRI’s and surgery consultation led to surgery. I had ORIF (open reduction internal fixation) surgery on July 5, 2013. Three screws were inserted. I started physical therapy in late October. January 17, 2014 I had surgery to have the hardware removed. I went to physical therapy again through the end of April and met one last time with my surgeon in May. It has been two years and five months since that fateful day. So, how is my foot now?
They say no news is good news. That is not the case. I am the harbinger of bad news that I have not shared until now. I went for a much needed hike the weekend before last. It was a fairly basic hike; 6 miles and an elevation gain of just 600 feet. I knew my foot would be sore and I iced, elevated and took ibuprofen after the hike. The next day I was in a great deal of pain. I tried wearing my custom made orthotics that I used after I had my first stress fracture (2006) for part of the day. If anything, I think they made my foot worse. I have had a pronounced limp for the past week due to unrelenting pain. It has been so bad I got out my boot (air cast) to walk in, as I was afraid that I had a stress fracture. The fact is, since June 10, 2013 I have not had a day go by with out pain in my foot.
I will let you in on a secret; chronic pain is not good for your health—physical or mental. It reduces grey matter in the brain and is known to cause “depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and decision making abnormalities”. Fun stuff, for sure! Not. That, combined with a great deal of other stress I was experiencing earlier this year sent me into a crisis. It was…calamitous. Luckily, I have extensive experience in this area so I was able to get the help I needed without much rigmarole. In the last few months I have been focusing on restoring my health and finding a solution for the chronic pain.
My first thought was that I was having problems with tight fascia. I first tried fascia-releasing techniques at Red Mountain when I was in Utah in January with a method called M.E.L.T. I was hiking every day and my foot was quite sore. After one session, it felt much better. It makes sense that the fascia would be tight since the surgery cut into it and there is scar tissue there now. The pain in my foot is accompanied by swelling and redness most of the time. When I returned home, I had more success loosening my fascia when I went to a yoga mobility class at Iron Root Studio. (Best studio ever, BTW!!) The mobility in my foot increased after working on it with a tennis ball. I have tried these techniques off and on at home for the last few months. Consistency, as always, is my biggest difficulty.
Due to financial constraints, I am no longer a member of Iron Root. I have been researching other free options and exercises to help strengthen my foot. I believe the problems are tight fascia, a lack of flexibility and mobility and lack of strength. I do not think I ever returned to the level of performance I was at before the accident. I will not be able to do simple things like go for a hike without pain if I do not do the rehabilitation needed to gain back strength, flexibility and mobility. I found a free video online at GMB that focuses on foot and ankle mobility.
My goal is to do this at least three times a week to start. Another program I have found is Katy Bowman’s plethora of videos. She has movement restoration for every part of the body. She is a biomechanist and really knows her stuff. If I had the money, I’d love to have a consultation with her as I believe my biomechanics are quite horked. (Yes, I believe that is the technical term.)
My goals for the rest of the year are to focus on eating clean and getting plenty of protein and vegetables in my diet; rehabilitating my foot with mobility exercises as well as the rest of my body with mobility, yoga, strength training and a sprint once a week. (On the bike, my foot is not ready for sprinting.) I want to return to daily walking once the swelling and pain in my foot has subsided. I really hope that I have not somehow reinjured myself. Going to the doctor is not an option. And I know that if I did sustain a stress fracture, the treatment is the boot for 6-8 weeks so I pretty much have myself covered. As I’ve stated before, my goal is to move freely throughout the world.
I have to take responsibility for healing myself if I want to reach my other goals in life. I cannot work as a CTRS in a wilderness setting if I cannot walk without extreme pain. Some good news is I am doing very well in my classes thus far. I am maintaining my A average and have about three weeks left in this semester. I am continuing my volunteer work at two places and am working on a couple more. Next semester will be my last of course work and next summer and fall I will complete my two internships. I am in the process of deciding where I want to apply for internships. It is an exciting time as I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will graduate this time next year! It will be great to be able to work with people daily and free myself from the ivory tower I’ve been confined to while completing this online coursework. I have learned that if I ever decide to attend school again, it will definitely not be online. It is too much working in a vacuum and an isolated existence. I learn much more effectively in person, able to interact with the professor and have and the stimulation from other students. One of the biggest overarching themes that has run through all my classes this semester is that having human interaction and social support is essential to well being.
Alas, I must return to my schoolwork. I hope you have found this update interesting. If anyone with a Lisfranc injury has any advice on chronic pain or would like to share their after-surgery experience, I would be delighted—especially if you are two years or more post injury. I think a certain amount of pain is expected. I wonder how others cope and if there is a solution I am missing. I ice and use ibuprofen but that doesn’t seem to help all that much. I am fairly convinced orthotics just support weak feet instead of making them stronger. In 2006, I wore the orthotics everyday for over a year and I always had pain in my foot. It was only after I quit wearing them the pain finally subsided. I am going to follow my instinct to loosen my fascia, strengthen my foot and focus on mobility and flexibility. I will report back. Until then: May you be well. May you be happy. May you be free from suffering.