Wednesday, July 14, 2010

1.27 Barefoot Miles Today -- and the Fifth Metatarsal

.... which brings me up to 10 barefoot miles total.

This was my first day going out when the ground was wet.  It felt fine while running, but afterwards I feel slightly sore and I wonder if wet skin rubbed around a little more?

During my day off, I had kind of been freaking out about a sore spot on the bone beneath my left pinky toe.  I just looked up foot anatomy and I believe the spot I am experiencing soreness is on is known as the proximal end of the fifth metatarsal, if I have studied my chart correctly.  My husband is a physician (dual-degreed -- also a chiropractor) and I think he's getting a bit tired of me asking him to check my feet. ("In the plumber's house, the pipes leak.")

"I just scrubbed my feet very thoroughly, I swear!  Would you look at something for me, honey?  Please?"

Well, he said it was nothing.

Today, when I was out there, I tried to be conscious of how this area might have become bruised.  Am I rolling my foot a certain way?  Am I slamming my foot down?

I think my feet told me where they got hurt.  There are some uneven tiles I run on, and I felt myself hurt it on the edge of one of the tiles today.  "Oh, so that's how I did it!"  I have to be careful on these tiles.  Here's a video of what those tiles look like:

I just re-watched this video.  I took it a couple of weeks ago when I was not running on those tiles, but it was part of my walking warm-up pre-running.  In the commentary I marvel about how my feet just mold to the crevices, and I mention the sharp edges.  Well, I have now been running across this section of tiles and the edge of the tile is where I am pretty sure I made the metatarsal head sore.

I have been trying out a slightly different technique while running across these tiles because of the way my foot will tip in the cracks of the tiles.

So far, when I am running on the flat pavers, I am landing on my mid-foot, and allowing my heel to gently touch the ground briefly and immediately after the mid-foot lands.

But when I get to these tiles, I kind of let my whole foot land simultaneously.  It almost feels like I'm running flat-footed. Like I'm trying to skim across water or something.  It's hard to explain.  Landing with this "flat-footed" feeling makes me feel like I am skimming over the tiles.  I run a little slower (is that possible?) and more carefully.  Nevertheless, I did feel myself bang my foot bones on the edges of the tiles.


Now I am freaking out a little, because when I went to look up what that fifth metatarsal bone was called, I read an article about common injuries to the proximal head of that fifth metatarsal, including fractures.  "Avulsion fractures!" "Jones fracture!" "Stress fractures!"  "Lions, and tigers, and bears --- oh my!!"

You barefoot runners who start reading this blog and have read other barefoot running blogs and have been vicariously enjoying the toughness of those other barefoot runners -- well, now you will behold the wimpiest, most nervous, and most tender-footed of the barefooters -- "Barefoot Fresca." Even though he told me it was nothing -- just a bruise on the bone,  I will not rest in peace until my husband gets home later tonight and can reassure me that I don't have one of these fractures..

"Honey .... will you check the proximal head of my fifth metatarsal for me?  I just scrubbed my feet thoroughly.  Honest!!!"


barefootjosh said...

It's good to be paranoid. You're going to feel a lot of weird things, most if not all of them will concern you. That's good - you'll never forget which metatarsal is which now. And you won't ignore pain.

You're not going to get a bullseye every time. When you miss a bit, sometimes it's going to hurt. Use that pain to find your painless form. The metatarsal wouldn't be bruised if you weren't landing on it too hard, so stop landing on it hard.

Keep it up, and don't forget to enjoy yourself!

Avocational Singer said...

Thanks, barefootjosh! The idea sounds so wonderful -- "your feet will teach you the form!" But the reality of that teaching is that it turns out to involve some painful moments. I'll definitely be doing everything I can not to land on it so hard.