It’s started 4 months early. Didn’t think I was meant to start falling apart till I turned 40. Long story short on and all that – I’ve snapped my Flexor Hallucis Longus tendon !
Long story. For maybe 18 months now I’ve been getting pains in the ball of my foot on and off when riding. Really just felt it was bruising from the mileage I was doing. I’d asked around and done some research on the web but felt nothing of it. You put up with so many aches and pains that things like this just sort of fade into the background.
Yesterday I ran off the bike and was pushing it along at a fair old crack feeling pretty good. I felt a sharp “ping” just where I get the pain in the ball of my foot. It was about 10 minutes into the run and following the “ping” there was no pain or discomfort. I thought to myself ‘that doesn’t sound good’.
So, last night I notice that there’s more pain than usual in the ball of my foot and I also notice that I can’t bend the big toe down under my foot like I can with my right foot. I’m feeling a little concerned and chat with Jo about it. She says it’s probably just some repetitive stress type thing based on the sheer volume of riding I’ve been doing. I still felt worried.
This morning still the same but run to the swim in the pouring rain. Really just to test it out. It’s slightly uncomfortable initially but after about 10 minutes I’m running fine. Following the swim session I head to the Health Centre in the QEII centre. What a great facility – they have so many physios. I manage to get a cancellation appointment and can see a physio immediately.
He confirms what I feared – I’ve snapped the Flexor Hallucis Longus tendon. Apparently the tendon retracts right up your foot and possibly up your leg. The only way to fix it is with surgery – they have to cut your foot until they find the tendon, stretch and re-attach. You are then in plaster for like 6 weeks and something like 3 months rehab after that. Sounds like bad news ! Good news is they virtually never do this since we don’t really need this tendon.
He looks at me running on the treadmill to see whether I’m still pushing off from my toes ok. The podiatrist comes and takes a look. Seems pretty much ok. For the moment he straps up the foot to give it support and it immediately feels alot better. I’m booked in to see the podiatrist on Monday and should hopefully get orthotics next week for that foot to provide ongoing support for the toe.
The really good news is that the pain I’ve been feeling was probably the tendon fraying and now it’s snapped the pain should subside and probably the foot will become pain free. I said to the physio if I was offered that trade (ie pain free foot but not able to bend the big toe down) I would take it. I’m now starting to imagine cycling with no pain in this foot.
If you ever have a sport injury I reckon you should have it in New Zealand – great facilities and the physios are excellent. In fact, thinking about it, most times when I’ve seen a physio in London it’s been a Kiwi. On top of all that it because it snapped in NZ the treatment was free on “ACC”
Whilst I’m on I may as well give an update on training. Following my monster ride I went easier yesterday …. well that was the plan. Following squad swim I did a slightly longer run home and feeling I wanted an extra 20 minutes I took a turn intending to run 10mins and turn back. I ended up heading round what I thought was a block, lost track of time and found myself 30 minutes later at a point I knew was 20 minutes from home – ended up with a 90 minute run. I felt good so wasn’t too bothered. Then went out on the flats for a spin. Plan was to head out to Cust for coffee as Del had recommended the cafe there. For once my map failed me – the sealed road it indicated became unsealed about 5km along it requiring me to turn round. Ended up with a nice easy 100k bike.
This morning I ran to and from swim squad and thats my lot for the day. This is my first day of not cycling since I arrived in Christchurch ! It’s definitely a good thing for my taper to break that roll since it will make it a lot easier to take days off over the next couple of weeks. In fact, given the weather today (the most miserable since we’ve arrived) I think my easy day has arrived at just the right time.