Saturday, April 08, 2006

Oh, My Aching Bunions

After this morning's lovely 60-minute run in the rain (which by the way, was not exactly the "rolling hills" we were promised; more like one giant hill down for 30 minutes and then, you guessed it, back up for 30 minutes, but which I ran the whole ENTIRE WAY, despite a wild night of contra dancing*, like the pro that I am, even if I did come in last in my group, I wasn't too far behind), the DC Road Runners brought in a very knowledgeable chiropractor and his sports masseuse to talk about shoes, and stretching, spines, and feet. Yes, it's all about the feet.

We got to talk to him one-on-one afterwards. It was just like having a doctor at a dinner party, who you can pester and bother for free advice. I whipped my shoes and socks off so fast he never knew what hit him. "Take a look at these babies," I urged him, pointing to the giant blisters on the sides of both feet. The blisters I saw the podiatrist about on Tuesday. "Oh," said Dr. Chiropractor, "looks like you've got bunions forming."

Hello? What? Bunions??

I can't possibly have bunions. Only old people have bunions. What the hell is a bunion anyway. I told Dr. Chiro that I just saw the podiatrist on Tuesday, and he said NOT one word about bunions! Dr. Chiro was taken aback. He was mighty sure these were bunions. He showed me how my big toes are not straight. He explained just by watching how I stand that I am—I dunno, standing all f'd up, to compensate for the bunions that I refuse to have. Which throws off my gait. And leads to ITB problems, knee problems, back problems. All of which I have.

This really does look a lot like my foot. Except for the gross toe-crossing thing.

According to Dr. Internet, bunions are "painful swellings that usually develop on the inner side of the foot near the base of the first toe (hallux)." Often genetic (thanks, Mom!); usually found in women; thought also to be caused by high heels (I've been wearing flats since I could walk), or flat feet (I am very proud of my lovely high arches). So, I have these disgusting bumps and they rub against my shoe and that's why I get the blisters. Gross. I think feet are gross in general (except when they are the subject of art.)

No real treatment, except surgery in extreme cases (that would be when your big toe eventually curls itself over the ones next to it), but surgery generally results in limited range of motion, and no more running. (According to my specialist, Dr. Internet. Apparently, I need to check this out.)

I'm deformed. And doomed.

*On a lighter note, I was dragged off to contra dancing last night, held at the lovely Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo park. I say dragged because I'm more of a swing dance girl actually. Big bands. Benny Goodman. Tommy Dorsey. Glenn Miller. Contra dancing? What is that? "Against" dancing? I don't get the name. But off I went, because, despite my deformities, I'm a good sport.

Turns out, contra dancing is quite aerobic! And fun! And the music is cool. Lots of Irish influence. Live band. Each dance lasts for oh, an eternity. Like 15 minutes at least. You get a partner and you are with that person for the entirety of the dance. Well, of course, you say, what else would you expect? But in contra dancing, there's all this moving up and down the line, and do-se-do-ing, and being swung, and you'd think in all that time, at some point, you would permanently switch partners.

But no. Which I generally wouldn't mind. Except, well, you know. Fifteen minutes. That can be a lifetime.


There is also, apparently, a dress code, at least for women: tie-dyed hippie skirt, clunky shoes with black socks (to help with all those bunions, no doubt), preferably topped with a t-shirt about global warming or saving the whales. (I don't think there were a lot of Republicans in the room.)

Anywho, I had loads of fun. One of my friends brought her pedometer with her, and discovered she'd taken 7,000 steps in the course of three dances. I believed her. I had to leave early, though, in order to rest my bunions.

35 comments:

Running Chick said...

i have bunions on both feet! actually, i had surgery on the left foot years ago, and i run (obviously) and have good range of motion in that foot still. that is also the leg that has the ITB problems. you can get custom orthotics to help correct your gait. a second opinion might be in order here. don't despair!

R2B said...

Ouch!
Hope you can resolve your Bunnion problems with new shoes or a better solution from your Podiatrist?
They look un comfortable thats for sure!

CHEERS r2b

nancytoby said...

Gosh, I must be REALLY REALLY old then, since I had surgery on both my feet for bunions oh, 10 years ago....

susie said...

I can't give you any advice on the bunions, but good job on the running and dancing. And thanks for your "slow down" advice. It helped:)

angie's pink bunion said...

AHA! So THAT's what that is on my left foot! Yes, that same leg that has ITB problems.

At least we can be deformed runners together, eh?

David said...

I can give you lots of advice about bunions. I had 'em and cut 'em off. So did sonny boy in the Army. Running does not end. That's a conspiracy by doctors who do not run.

Tammy said...

I've heard contra dancing causes bunions. And I cannot believe you were in Seattle last month and didn't tell me!

jeanne said...

ok, this is too weird. we've morphed into the Running Bunion Family!

Bex said...

who knew so many of us have bunions?! My feet are all f'ed up too because of two permanently black toenails. Sorry if that's TMI. I still wear sandals, though.

Also, yes, I lied when I said there were rolling hills. Actually there were two hills: the big-ass hill, and the steep-as-hell corkscrew hill. Y'all are going to thank me come race day ... ;-)

Bex said...

btw, can I go contra dancing with you sometime? I was one of those geeks in elementary school who LOVED square-dancing. I don't have a save the whales shirt, but I do have on that says "Here Comes Trouble."

*jeanne* said...

I've wondered often if I was getting bunions, because those "bumps" on the place where the big toe attaches didn't used to be quite SO BIG.
(Don't you LOVE my physio-techno-jargon?
It's a little-heralded talent I have.)

Glen Echo! That's where DC Road Runners do their Bread Run in December. Jeeeeeez-o-man, that last hill up and around and rooty&trail&steep. Man-o-man.

Jamie & I went polka-ing about a year ago at at place called Blob's Park. That was a wacky evening! I can't polka very artistically, but I can keep it up for about 6 hours. Marathon-trained stamina!

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Colorful outfits.

Darrell said...

Hi Jeanne, thanks for stopping by. I find it ironic that bunions are hereditary and their supposed effect on your running, given the name of your blog. From the comments of others it seems as though all hope is not lost.

Contra dancing sure does look like fun though.

Haight said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Haight said...

Contra dancing fun...bunions, not so much.

At first I thought the dancing might have been started by the Iran-Contras, but then I realized they aren't fun people.

The ballroom looks pretty cool. And depending how you look at it, I might have some clothes to fit in for that kind of dancing...maybe dust off the kilt.

Simba's Mom said...

Add me to the running with bunions family! I have had mine since I was in my early 20s. I make sure my shoes have an extra wide toe box and wear blister preventors on my bunions on longer or faster runs. I actually have the most problems trying to find dress shoes that fit properly. I have my mom to thank for this, too.

LeahC said...

I will probably be looking forward to bunions in my future as both my mom and her mom have them! :-(

21st Century Mom said...

You know what you have just done? You have set me up so that now I have to run in the rain!! I hate that. Damn you!

As for bunions, I am also in the running bunion family but I did not have surgery - I had orthotics made. They fixed the problem. Mine are the result of pronating and wearing high heels too much (back when I did that - 20 years ago). The orthotics totally solved the problem. Go to a good podiatrist and see about it. Of course they aren't cheap but my insurance covered mine.

Contra dancing sounds most excellent!

Rae said...

Awesome job on your run!! You are really putting it all out there this year, way to go!

Dancing sounds like SO much fun!

I love that you left a comment on the JoDee board. They've pulled the post now, HA! Ridiculous!!

a.maria said...

seriously i busted out laughing numerous times with this post.

"...He explained just by watching how I stand that I am—I dunno, standing all f'd up, to compensate for the bunions that I refuse to have...."

HA!!! ok bunions aren't funny.. i think my mom sort of has them which means i might get them, so... ew...

but seriousy? that was funny.

a.maria said...

btw.. check it.

you little miss popular now. ain't you fancy?!

HOLLAH!

Pamalamadingdong said...

I think my hubby has bunions.
Not sure though...it sort of looks like he's growing another toe.

wyn said...

Just found your blog through a search of running with bunions. I've chosen to ignore mine for a while and it's starting to freak me out because it's getting increasingly uglier - though, fortunately, not very debilitating. Thanks for the info!

asma maryam said...

A fellow DC runner! Hello :)

I just discovered through some internet searching that I'm developing bunions (I didn't know what they were until now). I found your blog searching for "running bunions." Thank you for sharing, seriously, my first thought was "great, now my feet are deformed" and it's good to see that I'm not alone in developing this from running. I'm going to get fitted for new shoes today to see if they might stop the development.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry just yet. Talk to another doctor. I have bunions and I don't want surgery so I wear Therastep gel bunion sheilds in my shoes to protect my bunions and keep them for getting worse. Try them, they may help you too. I ordered mine online at Therawear.com and I think the website is http://www.therawear.com/therastep_gel_bunion_shield.html. I hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

bunions are not only for old people! and it sucks! im 16 and have them and its the one thing i wish i could change about my body. i was also born into the bunion running family, and running is the one thing i could never give up. i have had bunions for as long as i can remember and i am embaresed by them, i will not wear flip flops in public, or every go bare foot, i am scared of people seeing them :(

JTrainXC said...

Hey, I am a 16 year old avid runner (5k pr of 17:21 on 40 to 60mpw) and 16 days ago I underwent bilateral dorsal cheilectomy (for bunions that developed on the top) as well as bilateral chevron osteotomies (to fix the actual bunions). I am, like I said, 16 days post-op. Recovery is going well, and I would recommend pressing to have both done at once if you have them. I was told that I can't run for nearly 4 months, but that is apparently due to my being so young. I am looking forward to that day. The decision maker for me was the constant pain in my big toe joints. It felt like I was breaking bone in that area when I ran. I did use all the conservative care options, but none worked for me. Go to http://johnsbunionblog.blogspot.com for more.

emma said...

i have a rather large buinion on my right foot and its very painful, im 12 and i like to run very long ditances but i cant because my bunion hurts too much.
i was given a splint that i put on my bunion at night and its oulls my toe out to realine my toe and foot but it comes off my foot when i sleep :( :I and i also have orthotics that have a little bump in them to spread out my big toe and foot from sticking together.
all of that only cost 70 dollers

Anonymous said...

BUNIONS! I'm not yet at the point that I have to consider surgery.

I was turned on to a soft flexible sock type support called bunion bootie - you can wear it in your running shoe. It's supposed to help prevent progression of the bunion.

I'll keep you posted on the results but so far it's quite confortable to wear all the time.

Michael Brown said...

Try SmartToes Toe Stretchers, I tried a number of products for bunion relief, and this one is by far the most effective. SmartToes is great for hammer toe and bunion treatment and plantar fasciitis treatment

Anonymous said...

Wearing the right kind of shoes is very important. Go roomy and comfortable. Pick shoes that have a wide toe and skip those with high heels or pointed toes. Also, spending long periods of time on your feet can aggravate the symptoms of bunions. I use SmartToes Toe Stretchers for bunion treatment and hammer toe treatment. The unique design helps straighten and align your toes and feet and provide relief for bunion and hammer toe.

othopedic spine surgeon said...

oh bunions can be really painful and distressing, but i think a minor surgery can do wonders to your feet. you can also take help of a foot specialist and see how it works!

Kathy said...

I've found great relief in Bunion Booties. I REFUSE surgery so I've tried everything out there but Bunion Booties are by far the best solution for mild to moderate bunions. But it's worth mentioning - if you are in between two sizes (based on your foot length) go with the smaller one. The Bunion Bootie will stretch out a bit after a week. I've been able to keep running and dancing and have a half marathon next week actually!

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Echo Fritch said...

Yes, I got my bunions from my grandma (who everyone says I look like) so really the genes were strong. But I have had three surgeries on this foot within a four year period of time. So to me it is frustrating to have the bunion return and it is hard to walk.