Part I Externals: Changing plans and unexpected injury outcomes

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Chicago Lakes Trail

Had originally planned a 10 mile trail race in Oregon in November with plans of moving to that beautiful state. Alas, negotiations and logistics did not align. I’d lined up training trail runs here in the Rockies as preparation. On one of those the other day, I injured my foot in a strange way I’ll talk about more.

The upshot of these developments: I am searching out a new race that seems right.

The injury to my foot the other day was soft tissue, but I’m beginning to believe that it *may* have an unexpected benefit. What happened? I was running-hiking a section of trail that was sandy and gravelly. My Merrell Barefoots are great on rocks, but on gritty granite slough, they slid. I was going down hard, then caught myself by instinctively jamming my shoe down at the ball of the foot, I was able to slow myself when it caught a sharp rock. I went down in slow-mo, with my toes bending so radically back I thought they would break off.

At the same time, the ball of my foot got the sharp end of the rock. Slow down I did, but felt a wet feeling inside my foot. I thought I may be bleeding. I checked my shoe for a puncture hole, but it held. I looked at my foot. Red and puffy. I put the shoe back on and continued on the theory that more circulation in and out would be a good thing.

Bruising, pain, and increased swelling did come. Yet something else did too.

The way my foot bent over, it felt like it actually opened up the tight joints of my toes and foot where I had a previous neuroma (nerve cyst) from too-tight boots long ago. The bones had rubbed on the nerves, irritating them and causing sharp foot pain Well, the wide toe-boxed barefoot shoes had been helping correct that, together with lots of foot stretching and exercise. But a sense of impingement had remained. After the injury, it feels gone. After it heals, if it scars inside, it may get worse. Or better. Perhaps tendons and ligaments were stretched out in beneficial ways. Here’s hoping.

Next, in Part 2 of this topic I want to talk about another unintended injury outcome.

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