I’ve been active my whole life but only really began running three years ago. My previous activities focused on hockey, skiing and golf which all meant a lot of pressure on my feet and very tight fitting footwear. Over time, I developed an injury called Morton’s Neuroma, a fairly well-known and quite painful foot disease. Conventional treatment suggests orthotics and in extreme cases, surgery to remove nerves from the feet. As I ran longer distances, my neuroma, which had been fairly well managed, began to flare up causing me great pain in any distance over 10k. During the 2009 Goodlife Marathon, I walked the final 8k due to the pain from this injury and I thought that my running days were over. Nevertheless, I went to my family doc who gave me one last chance – and I am very glad he did.
My doctor sent me to Mt. Sinai hospital’s Rehab and Wellbeing Centre where I received a relatively new treatment for neuroma called shock wave therapy. While the treatments were somewhat uncomfortable at first, the results were worth every visit. In short, shock wave therapy is like getting thousands of tiny hammer blows to the affected area breaking down certain tissue and thus giving the nerves in my feet more room to move again. (For more on the treatment here’s an article http://ezinearticles.com/?Shockwave-Therapy-Shown-Effective-For-Treatment-of-Mortons-Neuroma&id=2465405). After 8 treatments in January and February combined with 8 treatments of laser therapy, I received new neutral orthotics and was on my way. Training for the year was already behind schedule since I had to refrain from running more than about 20 minutes at a time, but when I did get back on track I noticed an immediate improvement. The real test came in April.
On April 25th, almost 3 months after my last treatment I ran the Huronia Half Marathon in Midland. It is a hilly course with very few flat spots and lots of killer climbs. The result was a personal best 1:46:00, and I ran the whole race pain free! After a couple of days rest, I picked up the pace of my training and completed an Olympic duathlon two weeks later. I ran into some numbness on my right foot at the 30k mark on the bike but found that after running for about five minutes the feeling in my toes actually came back and I was able to pick up the pace again. I finished the race in 2:08:16 (another personal best) and spent the afternoon walking around a zoo with my kids, something that would not have happened post-race last year. I’m quite amazed at how quickly I’m able to recover now because I don’t run several kilometres on my heels or the outside of my foot thus causing extra stress on my knees and hips.
I have no medical training, so be sure to do your homework before exploring this option. However, if you suffer from foot pain I recommend considering this treatment and want to send a huge thank you to Dr. Copeland and the entire staff at Mt. Sinai – you got my feet back on the road again.