We never know where life is going to take us or what challenges it brings. In January 2010 I was happy, so happy I wanted to stay that way for as long as I could. I realised that if Ali and I wanted a long and healthy life together, we had to change. I was clinically obese, had a bad back and my knees were feeling the strain. I had various health problems and I was ageing faster than my years. I looked ahead to a life I did not want. It was time to change. By the end of the year I had lost 4 stone - 56lbs. My confidence rocketed - I had taken control and it had worked. I was exercising, enjoying buying clothes, speaking up for myself.

I began to believe in myself again, I began to dream. For years I had watched marathons with admiration and a lump in my throat. In April 2013, I ran my first marathon.

This blog is about living life as a slim person, staying slim and fulfilling my dreams. Come and join me, support me, advise me!

Take care, Sue

Sunday, 23 December 2012

On the hoof.....

Well, the mystery is finally solved. Almost a year to the day since my calf went ping I have an explanation for what happened, and cleared up a few other running mysteries besides.

Quick recap: I''d stopped running after a worrying niggle in my shin and sore feet. Something wasnae right. My physio Pam referred me to Donna the podiatrist who said I needed a biomechanical assessment. So I went off to see Pam at the Abbey Hill Footcare Clinic.  Pam got out her rulers and measuring things and put me through my paces. I love to see good diagnostic skills at work and Pam's are truly awesome. I was fascinated as she tested out different hypotheses about what was going on and held onto every word as a picture began to take shape - Sherlock Holmes had better watch out.

The punchline is I have  'forefoot equinnus' in both my feet and I've had it my entire life.  Those of you of a classical or scientific bent will immediately discern that I am a horse.  Well not quite, but  like a horse, my hoof is naturally in a toe-down position with my heel off the ground. It's something to do with having deformed metatarsals and it can't be corrected or aligned, it has to be accommodated. So when I run I take a lot of pressure on the fore foot which the foot can't absorb properly because it's an odd shape.  Having equinnus foot basically means I am permanently running up hill. Here's a drawing.

As one writer says 'it is like having a built-in doorstop pushing you backwards and jamming your knee backwards.' Equinnus can cause calf strain and achilles, hip and piriformis problems as the body adapts.  You would shudder to know at the amount of treatment I've had over many years to sort out hip and lower back pain - and it was probably all related to my feet.

I now know that this is why I prefer to walk round the house on tip toes - (I'm a toe walker apparently, it sounds quite exotic doesn't it?). I thought it was because we lived in houses with noisy floors and I was embarrassed to thump about. Now I know why hills are such a struggle, why I trip up and why I can't stand up for long periods - those youthful demos were hell. 

The great news is that it doesn't stop me running, I just have to learn to work with my horses feet and adapt accordingly.  

 Pam advised me to go back to cushioned (neutral) running shoes to reduce the impact that my odd foot shape has to absorb. No more barefoot running, no more minimalist shoes. No more cute little pumps with no foot support and back to shoes with a small heel.  I have to make sure that I have the laces done the right way to take the pressure off the arch (ignoring helpful sales assistants with great ideas).  I just need to factor in the hoof shape and reduce the impact on my feet as much as possible.

So I'm back on the Brooks and my most cushioned hilly socks with as much compression as I can decently get away with in public. I'm building up the runs gradually and so far so good, everything is calming down. Ten good miles so far this week and feeling fine, and secretly enjoying the lashing wind and rain. The sea has been amazing if somewhat destructive.

Equinnus foot is not rare, so if you have a very high instep and a history of unexplained injuries, it might be worth checking it out. I found Physio Blogger's website helpful. 

I can't believe I've got so far through my life without knowing this. What's interesting is  that it's the Chi Running that helped me solve the mystery.  Along with the minimalist shoes, Chi running meant that I ran naturally and so the right bits hurt.  Because I was paying attention, I got things sorted without causing too much damage on the way.  

So I'm back running on the beach and loving it. Looking forward to some good running in between the celebrations - if I can drag myself away from the boys! Here they are giving me a bit of help with the ironing

I hope you're all setting up for a lovely festive season full of all the things that make you and yours happy.  Take care and have a great time!