Posts Tagged ‘injury’

My loyal readers know that I am a runner.  And over the years, I have had issues with my toes, which apparently were not well designed to run, at least not the way I run.  (Think awkward albatross trying to take flight but failing.)

Anyway, my podiatrist suggested I try a product called gel toe caps (toe condoms is what she actually called them).


I have been having some toe nail issues recently–the little piggy that stayed home in particular had to be cut down below the nail bed to allow some blood and fluid to be released.  So I agreed to road test these–literally.  The girl in the picture seems happy with the condoms.

With a clinical trial of ONE experience, I have to admit, and I don’t ordinarily care for condoms, but I kind of like running with the condom.


I ran six miles today in 50 minutes.  There was a little discomfort in the toe, but quite frankly, it was not comfortable before the run.  And it certainly was not worse.  I have been taping with Coban tape previously, but I think I like the toe condom better.

I highly recommend practicing safe running!


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I wanted to let you know, in case you were lying awake at night wondering if I was still running on the icy trail near my house, that I am indeed still running on ice.  I could have my own TV show . . . ICE TRUCKERS RUNNERS.

Despite falling and seriously injuring my ego, I have continued to brave the winter elements.

This looks like a good place to run!

This looks like a good place to run!

Yea, though I run through the valley of the shadow of ice, I will fear no falls.  Thy tread and thy YAK TRAX they comfort me.

When I blogged about my accident, I mused that I would not be able to tolerate stopping and putting on YAK TRAX just to run the short distance between my development and our local high school.  Well, I lied.  I tried.  It’s not so bad.   It actually works very well.  And carrying the YAK TRAX (which are technically DueNorth ice cleats but I like the sound of YAK TRAX so much better) is no worse than carrying a water bottle on a hot humid day.

The time I spend to stop and put the things on and then take them off again is well worth not having to be bruised and picking myself up off the ice.

I am still really looking forward to spring, though.

As is this person . . .

Thank goodness it was the perfect texture for running!

And I’m glad there was no video of me!

That I know of.

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It was like déjà vu all over again.

There I am, jogging along.  Minding my own business.  And then there’s ice.  And then there’s me, falling.

Runner down!

So what did I do?

I jumped back up and continued running, before anyone else might have noticed.  There is a trail that leads from our development to the high school, and that was where I fell.  I fell right in full view of several houses.  I ran far enough to be out of the line of sight before I stopped to check for injuries or missing body parts.

Unlike 2009, when I fell on the ice while jogging around the high school, I did not seriously injure myself.  I did scrape and bruise my arm.  My hip hurts, but not the joint itself.  Just a flesh wound!  Or bruise.  I finished another three miles after the fall–including running back the same icy trail to get home!  I also apparently cut my ankle, but I didn’t even notice that until someone else pointed it out.

I was actually more worried about my Ipod.  I carry it in my hand inside my glove, and run the ear bud wire down my sleeve.  When I hit the ground, the music suddenly stopped.  I might have gone deaf, but I was more worried I had smashed my Ipod.  My right arm was hurting and took the brunt of the fall.

But a quick check showed that the wire had been pulled free.  I plugged it back in, the band played on, and off I went.

Now you may ask, why would you run on a trail you knew was icy?

TRADITION!  Tradition!

Why do rednecks ask someone to hold their beer and watch as they try to drive an ATV up a tree?

It’s what I do.  I run.  I can’t let a silly thing like weather get in the way.

The trail was there.  I had to get from here to there.  I couldn’t very well fly over it.  My dogsled is in the shop (it’s been a loooong winter.)  I ran on this trail yesterday without falling.  I fully expected to pull this thing off again without bloodshed.  Alas, I was wrong.

Couldn’t you run on a treadmill?

I own a dreadmill.  I hate the dreadmill.  I’d rather fall on the ice than run on the dreadmill.  I would not dreadmill here or there.  I would not dreadmill anywhere.  I would not do it with a goat.  I would not do it on a boat.  Well, I might if  I couldn’t jog around the deck.  But I digress.

I have noticed that when I run, my pace varies.  Here is a chart of my pace when I’m not running falling on ice:


If it were my heart rate, it would probably be fibrillation.  Don’t quote me on that.  Dammit Jim, I’m just an eye doctor!  I haven’t put a stethoscope on a patient’s heart in 23 years.

Now, can you imagine trying to run those peaks and valleys on a dreadmill?  My finger would have a blister on it from adjusting the speed up and down too often.  I would be in fibrillation if I had to do that.

And, if I haven’t been perfectly clear on this matter, I hate the dreadmill.

Couldn’t you just not run?

Couldn’t you just stop asking stupid questions?  I don’t ask you to just stop breathing do I?

So why don’t you wear YakTrax or some other product that would be useful on ice?

My you ask a lot of questions.  Just like I own a dreadmill, I have a pair of DueNorth Ice Cleats.  I don’t like them!  Oh, they work fine, if you are constantly on snow or ice and don’t mind things strapped to your feet besides your shoes.  But the road from my house to the trail–NO ICE!  From the trail to the rest of my run–NO ICE!  I would only need them for about a quarter of a mile or less, and I hate the clacking, bumpy feel of them on dry pavement.  Don’t roll your eyes at me–you asked!

OK.  I could stop and try to stretch them on over my shoes before I hit the trail, and then reverse the process on the other side.  Repeat for the trip back home.  Carry them in my hands when I’m not on the ice.  But if you don’t know me very well, I do not have the patience for that shit and I’ll take my chances with the ice.

So why did I bother telling you this?


It’s a public service announcement.  Ice is icy.  You might fall.  When you fall, you might get hurt.  If you get hurt you might go to the hospital.  If you go to the hospital, you might have to watch cable TV.  Don’t  get stuck watching cable TV.  Stay off the ice!

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It started out innocently enough.  An odd pain in my heel.

It could have been the clown shoes.  That’s around the time it started.

It could have been the rock I found wedged in the heel of my Mizuno running shoes.  I have no idea how long that was there.

Rock my sole in the bosom of Mizuno

Rock my sole in the bosom of Mizuno

But the pain continued and swept through my heel like Germany invading Poland, and my plantar fascia put up about as much resistance as a legion of the French Army armed to the teeth with white handkerchiefs.

I feared a stress fracture.  My podiatrist called it plantar fasciitis.

I call it plantar fascism.

I am a runner.  It wasn’t a fracture.  So I continued to run.  I’m an American . . . I couldn’t let the fascists win.

The pain continued to escalate.

I tried stretches.  A night brace while sleeping (which actually enabled me to walk to the bathroom in the morning without pain.)  And ice.  Ibuprofen by the bottle.  I even allowed the podiatrist to inject my foot with steroids.  You’d think the needle alone would frighten away the pain.  Or me screaming like a girl.

As I limped home one day, I had an epiphany.

Runners are well aware of the theology here.  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12, versus 12-26:

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body . . . And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.

I had to stop running for a while.


There.  I said it.  I am sore ashamed.  And my heel was sore.

But one part was making it miserable for all the other parts, and some of my other parts were very unhappy about it.

My heel needed healing.

But I am happy to report (as are my other body parts) that after a brief rest (4-11-13 through 4-30-13) I am back on the road, with only a hint of discomfort after a 6-8 mile run.  I still stretch and ice it down afterward.  I am still wearing the brace at night–just in case.

Because you never know when the fascists (or fasciitis) will return!

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It’s probably a good thing that my cataract surgery patients are in the twilight zone during surgery.  Conversations are often random, and, um, difficult to explain.  Hence the strange title of today’s post.

It all started innocently enough.  The surg tech who helps me injured her foot running on the dreadmill treadmill.  She fears she might have a stress fracture in her foot, probably from wearing minimalist shoes (Skele-toes.)  I can certainly sympathize with that, having dealt with a stress fracture in my tibia last year.

So between cases she had one of our local podiatrists look at her x-rays.  After checking the x-ray, she was concerned that our surg tech may have a stress problem.  But she also commented that her navicular bone was particularly nice.  Attractive, even.  For a bone.

“Are you hitting on me?” our surg tech quipped.

Nice navicular, babe!

This begat a random conversation about the sexiness (is that a word?) of a navicular bone.

“Hey babe!  Nice navicular!”

“What’s a nice navicular like you doing in a place like this?”

“Do you come here to be imaged often?”

I think the rest of us, those with mundane naviculars, were suffering navicular envy.  After all, some of us have cold feet.  There’s shrinkage!

Then the radio announcer came on with a call-in contest where you have to answer a question of the day.  The question today was, how long can a snail sleep without eating?  Now I don’t know about you, but I sleep every night without eating, but I don’t think that is what they meant.  The DJ further added that the answer was according to Wiki answers.  So the first caller won, being the fastest to surf the net and then call the station.

Three years.

Seriously?  How do you sleep for three years, with or without food?  I know snails are slow, but that is ridiculous!

But before the answer was revealed, there was the requisite discussion amongst the operating room staff.

Our circulating nurse offered that cockroaches can survive 90 days without eating.  In fact, they can survive without their heads.

What kind of life is that?  Three months without your head.  Obviously, you couldn’t eat if you wanted to at that point.  You couldn’t communicate with other cockroaches.  You couldn’t see where you were going.  Why would you even want to go anywhere?  I don’t know what the quality of life is for the average cockroach, but I would imagine that it is diminshed even further by the lack of one’s head.

If you only had three months to live, would you want to live that time without your head?  And, according to this article, it may be only weeks they can survive.  The head can survive too, “waving its antennae back and forth for several hours until it runs out of steam. . .  If given nutrients and refrigerated, a roach head can last even longer.”  Isn’t that good to know?

But that was cockroaches.  She thought snails reproduced by extruding something out of their mouths that contacted another snail doing the same.  But then she corrected herself.  That was slugs, not snails.

Unprotected Slug Porn

I’m not sure how you get from headless cockroaches to slug porn, but by God we did it.

I wonder if I can count this toward continuing medical education?

Probably not, unless I start treating cockroaches and horny slugs.

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People sometimes ask me why I run?

They can understand running to the refrigerator to get a beer.  Or running because my house is on fire.  Or if I’m on fire, although technically I shouldn’t run then, but rather stop, drop and roll.  Or if I were being chased by a ravenous grizzly bear.

That reminds me of the joke of the two hikers who were attacked by a bear.  The one quickly grabbed running shoes out of his backpack and started putting them on.  The other one cried out, “Are you crazy?  You can’t outrun a bear!”  With his running shoes on, the other hiker calls back, “I don’t have to outrun the bear.  I only need to outrun you!”  But I digress.

The bottom line is that I want to live.  I am literally running for my life.  I believe in the value of exercise.  I am not an aerobics kind of guy.  Forget yoga.  (Freaky little Jedi master that he is.)   I don’t even know where Pilates is on the map.  And I’m just not a weightlifter.  I’ve never gotten into biking and riding on the roadways with cars would scare the hell out of me.  At least I can run against traffic and dodge off the road if necessary.  (And I have had to do that on several occasions!)  And if running around the block and ending up no further than when you began sounds stupid, then sitting on a machine and spinning is really out there.

No.  I love to throw on the sneakers and take-off.  I love new shoes!  I love to run when we travel, as it gives me a chance to get up close and personal with new locations.  You see things slower than you would driving.  You feel the terrain under your feet and the climate on your face and see the people giving you strange looks.

I run for my health.  I think; therefore I am.  I run; therefore I will be.

I run in the heat and humidity (did 8 miles today with 82 degrees and 73% humidity.)  I ran in 100 degree heat in Phoenix.  I run in wind chills below zero.  I love to run in light snow, and even rain is pleasant this time of year.

A few years ago, though, I slipped on a patch of ice and boogered up my ankle.  Yes we have a dreadmill treadmill.  No I didn’t use it.  Yes, I should have.  Let’s move on already.  I felt something snap, but the X-rays were negative for any fracture.  Regardless, my ankle was swollen three times its normal size and my foot was all black and blue.  I could barely walk.  This happened the end of January that year.

By late March, I was running again, but the spring weather brought wet conditions.  Where I live, I have to run a short trail from our development to get into the town proper, as the main entrance opens onto a four lane expressway that I don’t feel comfortable running.  (A circle around our development is only about 1.5 miles and would get boring otherwise.)  But with the wet spring, the trail was muddy and treacherous.  I was concerned about twisting my ankle.

There is another way to get out of our development, but it would require using someone’s driveway that connects the entrance road to our development to another road that leads into town.  I knew the owner, a fellow surgeon at our hospital, so I called him and asked if it would be okay for me to use his driveway to cut into town for a month or so until the weather was better and my ankle was stronger.  He said no problem.

The very next day, I ran through his property on the driveway.  His wife, though, apparently hadn’t gotten the memo, and was out doing some gardening.  She chased me down the driveway waving a hoe at me, and yelling that I couldn’t just trespass on her property.

I stopped–fearful and embarrassed– and explained who I was.  I had met her before at hospital functions, and at my office where her husband is my patient.  I also explained to her that I had called her husband and had gotten his permission.

Unfortunately, that did little to diffuse her anger.  She turned in a huff and stomped off muttering about how people shouldn’t think they can just use her driveway any time they want.  (I fear her husband might have had to sleep on the couch that night!)

Needless to say, I never ran that way again.  I took my chances with the muddy terrain.  And survived.

But my family still loves to talk about the time dad got chased by a hoe.

Yes, I was literally running for my life.

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As a runner (25-35 miles per week for the past ten years or so) I have gone through the gamut of running-related injuries including Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, sore knees, shin splints, ankle sprains, hip pain, and perhaps the most famous of all, the runner’s toe.  This latter is probably the least painful on the list, but there have been nights after a fresh bleed under the nail that the incessant throbbing has kept me awake.

Over the course of time, I have suffered purple toenails in three toes, all on the same foot.  Only the piggie that went to market and the one that cried wee, wee, wee all the way home have been spared.

After a brief consult with a podiatrist, I decided to have the nails removed from the three offending piggies.  She wanted to remove them permanently, but that sounded, well, so permanent.  I mean, what if I become a cross dresser some day and want to wear open-toed stilettos?  How will I paint my nails if there are no nails to paint?  I couldn’t take that chance.

So I opted for simple surgical removal.  Simple and surgery should never be used in the same sentence, although technically, I used the word surgical instead of surgery.

The podiatrist in question operates in the same surgery center that I do on the same day.  So we agreed this past week to do this simple procedure after I had finished my slate of cataract surgeries.  I’m thinking she will use some really sharp scissors and cut them back much the way I would do at home with nail clippers.  Wipe away the blood clots and I would be good to go.  Probably just do it in the surgeon’s lounge as long as no one was trying to eat.   I’d probably be running later that afternoon since the sun was finally shining here in central PA. 

I was mistaken about the simplicity of this procedure.

I was told to go to room six, which is the room where I normally operate.  I feel comfortable there, but I’d still rather just have it done in the lounge or in the hall.  It was done by the podiatrist, in the hall, with scissors.  It’s not that big of a deal.

They wheel in this big operating room table–the kind you do orthopedic or neurosurgery on, not the kind you use for eye surgery.

“What’s that for?” I ask innocently.

“For you.  Hop on.”

Really?  I’m just having a couple of nails cut off.  I can just sit in the chair over there.

No I can’t.

My staff is busy with gowns and gloves and setting up a table of instruments.  I don’t know whether I’m in for a lobotomy or a nail removal, but from the sheer volume of instruments, it looks a lot more complicated than I thought.  I’m starting to fear for my appendix.

Fortunately, before I can think too much about what is going on and change my mind, the surgeon comes in.

She asks for the anesthetic.  I’m just having the nails removed.  But you are going to want them numbed before I do that.  The way she said that made me want them numb.

“Can I have a smaller needle?”  She laughs.  They gave her an 18-gauge needle.  We’re in the eye room–I’m sure we have smaller needles.

“Can I have some morphine?  Or Fentanyl?   Or Propofol (Michael Jackson’s drug of choice)?”  I hope I didn’t sound too whiny or pathetic.  I am.  But I don’t want to sound that way.

“Don’t you have anything smaller?  This is a one and a half-inch needle.  I’d rather have a one.”

“Will somebody get her a smaller needle?!”  Now I just sound scared.  Or desperate.  Or both.  Scary desperation.  Desperately frightened.  Throbbing in my toes every few weeks isn’t so bad, is it?

They didn’t have to hold me down, per se, but I think someone sat alongside my legs and leaned over.  They said it was so I wouldn’t be tempted to watch.  Or move.  Or run away.

Now I’m paranoid.  Scarily, desperately paranoid.  I want to hang on to my appendix and my spleen but I’m afraid they will just make fun of me.

“What are you doing down there?”  I think I may pass out.  I’ll probably fall on the floor and break my nose.  I think the ENT guy is in room three, lucky for me.  Maybe he uses Fentanyl.

“We’re just cleaning the skin with a little alcohol.”

Can I have some to drink?  Is the Fentanyl here yet?

But alas, all I was going to get was a series of injections at the base of my toes with a short, sharp needle.  The medication burned a little at first.  I was being injected with tabasco sauce.  I don’t remember much after that.  But they didn’t need to call ENT so apparently I didn’t fall on the floor.  Well, at least I didn’t fracture my nose.  I take an aspirin a day because of a history of atrial fibrillation, and so I bled like a stuck piggie.  Three stuck piggies truth be told.  By the time they finished wrapping my numb hemorrhaging toes, I couldn’t fit my shoe on.  They got me some kind of boot to wear home.  Thankfully, no one called a stat type and cross to room six.

I figured if I got pulled over by the cops for speeding, I could blame it on the boot.  My foot is numb, officer, I couldn’t feel the pedal on the floor.

I made it home just fine and elevated my foot as I was told to do.  Initially she had recommended no running for two weeks, but I think we both knew that wouldn’t happen.  That was also when she was planning on permanently removing them by cauterizing the nail bed with Phenol.

So after three days, I jogged 4 miles today with no pain and no bleeding.  Probably could have run sooner, but my wife frowned on that.

My doctor was wonderful, but all the same, I hope they grow back normally and I never have to go through that again.

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