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Problems afoot in training

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George Papadakos - TRIATHLON TALES

If you've played enough games, ran your share of sprints or wrestled with a classmate at recess, it probably didn't take too long to experience some type of sports related injury.

In my illustrious sporting career I have had a few concussions (at least what I can remember), dislocated patellas and fingers, two cracked ribs, a separated shoulder, and enough stitches, bumps and bruises to last me a lifetime.

The funny thing is, I consider myself lucky.

I have seen people with worse injuries than myself, some of those that are sport ending, emergency surgery, on crutches for months and then a rehabilitation process that seems to last forever.

Anything I had experienced injury-wise has been par for the course... until now.

It all started one winter while I was logging some miles on the treadmill in our basement.

At first it was a tiny tingling in my right foot while I ran, and it really didn't bother me until I was almost done.

But as the winter progressed, and I started to really get some work done, the true pain was showing up during and more so after as well.

Within the first 25 minutes of my runs, an acute pain would develop between my third and fourth toes, and the burning while confusing at first would most definitely make me stop and make sure there was nothing in my shoe.

I iced and rolled my foot after each run, and self-massaged when possible, and for the most part this helped, and by making this part of my pre-run routine I found that I could run much longer before these symptoms arose, but they always did.

But before I went knocking on my doctors door I decided to do some investigating of my own.

It didn't take me very long before I found the culprit.

Morton's Neuroma.

This is not some twisted drink, or a movie starring some poor schmuck with a rare disease.

Morton's Neuroma is a foot problem that occurs when the nerve that runs between the third and fourth toes get impinged and swells and causes all sorts of problems.

Women are generally more susceptible to this condition as their choice of footwear (i.e. high heels) places more pressure on the front of the foot and the toe box.

Other causes of this condition are repetitive irritation (i.e. running) that over time cause the nerve to swell, or an injury or some other trauma to the foot may also lead to the same results.

So in the year that I have been dealing with this particular problem I have since purchased orthotics (that's right, they're not just for old people... actually I am old, what am I talking about).

These custom made orthotics were cast from a mold of my feet, and then I replaced my insoles with them.

The orthotic has a pad in it that is placed behind the ball of my foot, and it helps alleviate some the pressure off of the front of my foot.

The pain and numbness still come, but with less severity and frequency, and I have been able to regain my running strength and confidence.

The best thing about this is I don't have to worry about the psychological barriers of having to quit a workout, or the fear of the pain coming and my workout grinding to a halt.

If you feel any numbness and/or pain in your toes especially in instances as described above, please contact a physician to ensure that your feet stay happy and healthy.

Until I meet you at the start line, train safe and have fun! 

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