Tuesday, September 2, 2014

On Being a Medical Abnormality

The normal healing time for a metatarsal stress fracture is 4-6 weeks. That meant that, since today is September 2, and I got my fracture diagnosed on August 11, I should have at least another week or two in this fine footwear.

Since I had no intention of prolonging this situation, I kept this boot on pretty much nonstop, to the point that I took it off right by the edge of the pool when I got in to swim or enjoy some deep-water running, and otherwise only took it off to change clothes or bathe. While I've been logging a good deal of doctor-approved activity - biking in hard-soled shoes, deep-water running, and swimming while avoiding pushing off the wall with the bum foot - I've also been staying off my feet as much as possible outside those activities.

(Pretty much)

Although I am still smack in the middle of the normal healing timeframe, I've felt absolutely no pain from the fracture site since about August 18. While this tempted me to ditch the boot and go back to normal flip turns in the pool, I kept complying with doctor's orders. However, since the original podiatrist was dead-set on my staying in the boot for a month no matter what, I decided to seek a second opinion. So I kicked off last Friday with a fun swim (one-leg flip turns only, of course), and thought that after an appointment with a podiatrist later that day, maybe I'd be able to lose the boot a few days early.

The new podiatrist listened to the history of my injury (first pain on July 29, stopped running as of August 10, in the boot since August 11, clear bone healing showed on an x-ray on August 20), and tried to prepare me for the 99.999% chance that the bone wouldn't be fully healed and that I'd still be looking at another couple of weeks in the boot because "healing at this rate would only occur for a medically abnormal case."

Since "medically abnormal" is pretty much my middle name (no joke: 5 years ago, I had surgery that was so rare for an adult that a dozen or so residents from GW watched the procedure), I retained some hope, got the x-rays done, and waited for her to come back with the results.

Healed. Only a faint sign there was ever a break at all.

Now while you might think I went out and immediately celebrated with a double-digit mileage run, even I have some sense about me. Before leaving the podiatrist's office, I asked about when I could run again (next Monday), when I could hit up the elliptical (Thursday), and how to transition out of the boot (slowly, over the course of 4-5 days).

And believe me, upon taking myself out for a stellar 15 minute walk in super stable running shoes later that day, I understand the need to ease back into normal life before running again. That boot messed up my hip and calf pretty nicely, but I'll get back to running far sooner than anybody would have thought.

Usually, I lament my massive, dense bones, gigantic body frame, high weight, and super sluggish metabolism. But it all finally pulled through for me this one time. Being a freak of nature isn't always so bad.


  1. I'm really happy your bone is healing so well. That is so freaking awesome to hear. Did you up your calcium or protein intake at all? I've had a lot of people tell me that it would be a good idea. Anyways, I'm glad to hear everything is going so well.

  2. As a "special snowflake" myself in many medical ways (all of which are PITA or worse), glad to hear there's an upside! (now to find mine...) So happy you'll be able to get back to it soon.

  3. I would definitely be a freak of nature (well, I already am in lots of respects...) if it meant having super-strong bones! Mine are basically the opposite, and having a tiny frame with thin, weak, fine bones is no guarantee of having a low weight or functioning metabolism, as I've discovered! Basically it just means you're a set of stress fractures waiting to happen.

    I'm really pleased you're out of the boot so soon. I don't think you'll have lost any cardio fitness and endurance with all of the cross-training you've been doing, so when you go get back to running I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by your pace :)

  4. First, one-legged flip turns? This wannabe swimmer is super impressed.

    Two, that's great you're a medical abnormality (never thought I'd type that sentence!) and the foot has cooperated with the healing process. Running double digits is nuts, but go ahead and push all the watts. :)

  5. Sounds like you're more of a medical MARVEL.