Posted on July 8, 2014
The 1 percent: misdiagnosis
It’s taken me a long time to process this situation, a lot longer than usual because I am still trying to wrap my brain around the wasted. 7ish weeks in the boot and 9 days on crutches, only to find out, both were completely unnecessary, and in fact caused complications.
If I would have written this post days after finding this out, it would have went something like this: I want to chuck my falsely prescribed boot at the knucklehead podiatrist and poke him in the gut with the falsely prescribed crutches. But then again that would be premeditated assault (which I would never actually do) but that didn’t stop me from have a strong desire to.
There should be some kind of exception to the law when broken runners go crazy after being misdiagnosed, am I right?
I was so infuriated for days that I couldn’t even be happy about my new (less severe) diagnosis. And that’s okay, I have to allow myself to be an angry elf before I can move forward and choose to be happy.
/</<Okay end of SCB rant/>/>
Today is a new day. <- I hope you read that in the Chicken Little voice.
Under the advice of Mike and my primary doctor, I got a third opinion last week. But let me back up to the beginning before I get into that.
In April I started feeling a pain in the ball of my right foot,that came and went while both running and walking. Though I didn’t blog about it at the time, the day Lu + I went to climb rocks is the first time I remember the intense pain.
I just thought it was plantar fasciitis since I’ve dealt with that for a long time now. But a couple weeks later, it started to swell and I had a sharp pain lifting my big toe. I knew it was something more serious so I went to my first podiatrist. He is known to be the best around Monterey. Not in my opinion, but according to everyone I’ve talked to about him said that. I am not exaggerating. Everyone.
The conversation usually goes something like this: you’re are seeing Dr. Knucklehead?
Them: he’s the best.
I explained the pain I was having and that I wasn’t able to walk without limping, he took an X-Ray and told me it was a sesamoid stress fracture and sesamoiditis. Without doing a physical exam, I walked out with a new accessory for 3-6 weeks and was ordered not to work for at least 3 weeks.
I asked him if there was anything else it could possibly be and he replied, “no that’s the only thing there, it’s the only thing it could be.”
He would be on vacation but said a fill in podiatrist would be calling me to set up a 3 week follow up. Which never happened.
So I wore the boot + compression socks as prescribed, and tried my best to stay off of it.
My foot continued to stay the same, swelling with multi shades of red and purple, tingling in my big toe. If tie-dye were in, my paw would have SO been in style.
After Dr.Knucklehead came back from vacation and failed to respond to two of my phone calls, I saw my primary doctor whom I absolutely adore. He disagreed with Dr. Knukleheads diagnosis and encouraged me to get a 3rd opinion. So I said find me a new podiatrist and he did.
In the meantime, at week 5.5 I finally got into see Dr. Knucklehead for a follow up.
I explained things were the same-no better, no worse. He assured me this was typical for the injury I have and that I really need to stay off of it.
This didn’t sit well for myself or Mike (who was with me) so I asked for an MRI. Thankfully he agreed.
I got an MRI on the following Monday and within 3 hours Knucklehead called telling me things were worse than he thought. I went from a stress fracture to a complete fracture with sesamoiditis and he was afraid the bone would actually die if I didn’t stay off it. His advice: I need to be off my foot and on crutches for 3 weeks.
The Type A in me has to have specific instructions, so I asked if I could take a shower, etc. He replied “do you need a dictionary? You need to be 100% off it.” I didn’t tell Mike about that comment until this morning for Dr. Knuckleheads protection.
I was terrified, so I did everything I could think of to stay off my paw. I hopped around, I rolled around the house in my rolley polley chair. We hired a house cleaner, Mike + Lu helped around the house while I protected that paw with every ounce of my being.
I want everybody to understand, Dr. Knucklehead made his diagnosis and never touched my foot. He just looked at my foot, but never felt the tendons, bones, joints etc. He took an X-Ray, nothing showed up so he assumed it was a stress fracture. I had to push for the MRI or that would have never been ordered.
9 days completely off of it, still feeling the same-no better, no worse I finally got into see podiatrist #2, Dr. Wonderful on week 8.
Being the Type A, not going to lay down for anyone bitch that I am, I had my MRI results sent to him, took my copy of the MRI images and hobbled my crippled, happy butt to his office.
This experience was a complete 180.
Before I told him what my original diagnosis was, I asked him to diagnose me. I wanted a completely honest, undiluted opinion.
After a bunch of questions, a thorough physical exam, another round of X-Rays, pressing really hard on both sesamoid bones, I felt NO PAIN. In fact the blood circulation was so poor because I was staying off of it, the more he pressed on it, the better it felt.
However the ball of my foot around toes 2 & 3 was painful and swollen.
Dr. Wonderful said, “go burn your crutches, you don’t need them.”
Dr. Wonderful explained I have sesamoitits and tendonitis. Yeah that’s it. But, when Dr. Knucklehead told me to stay off of it 100% I was doing more damage. It had turned into a circulatory issue. The major swelling and less than fashionable shades of red + purple is a sign that I have poor blood circulation in my foot. He asked if we’ve heard of the saying “use it or loose it” and said this picture below is showing signs of a circulatory issue.
I pulled out this before & after pool running picture, and the doctor took my phone to show his office staff because the difference was so dramatic. I mean the man took the phone out of my hand and showed this picture to all the other doctors, nurses, strangers in the hall. He was amazed.
There is NO sign of a stress fractured sesamoid, NO sign of there ever being one and most definitely not a clean break.
Dr. Wonderful said to walk, yeah you know, put my foot on the ground, put weight on it, step and repeat. He also sent me to physical therapy.
I told my PT guru’s Dr. Wonderfuls diagnosis, they looked at me and said, “wow, that’s an entirely different treatment.” Then said come back in an hour, we’ll get you right in.
They worked on my foot for almost 2 hours to get me walking again. Yes, 2 freaking hours the day before a holiday weekend. No words can explain how much that meant to me.
This was taken yesterday with two feet on the ground, walking.
I’m going to break into a run soon, like this guy.
Turns out now that I’m walking on it, I am feeling so much better. I still have pain, my body mechanics are way off, but the swelling is almost completely gone and the tingling in my toe is completely gone. I have a lot of PT ahead, but I am freaking walking. And you know what?
I will run again!