2016 was a world wind of a year for me, with lots of activity!
I started off by training for the Rottnest Channel Swim, the infamous 19.7km event from Cottesloe beach to Rottnest Island. As a Canadian living in Perth, Australia it was imperative for me to do such a quintessential Western Oz adventure. Besides, I only lived 2km from the ocean; and, 5k from Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club, where I’m a member. I was in the water LOTS!
January 5km prep February Rotto swim
After February 27th, the Swim (what ended up being a 23km+ swim because of current and bad sighting) I started to walk, walk a lot and hike. I walked the beaches, the footpaths, and the forests/parks within the area.
Walking in Perth and the surrounding area
In August, I moved back to North America and proceeded to walk/hike as much as possible in local, provincial, state, national parks around. I walked/hiked in Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.
Top to bottom, left to right: Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island, British Columbia
Yet, no matter how much I walked… I was really walking away from my fear… my fear of movement in one part of my body that needed it the most: My right foot/toe.
My right toe minutes before surgery Dec 8, 2015
I know this sounds kind of funny… Of course you moved ALL year Kristin! How can you say: you fear movement?
I had surgery on my right foot December 2015. After years of excruciating pain I finally decided to go under the knife (well, it was actually power tools!). It was an extremely hard decision to make, that I did not take lightly. I just thought it was the best thing I could do because any foot movement I did was painful! I wanted to live with less pain, not feeling my bones hitting each other with every toe move (one bone spur from metatarsal to phalanx, and another bone spur from phalanx to metatarsal, both hitting each other daily). I knew there was a risk of me coming out worse off, or the same… I took the chance.
The surgery went well (I’ll post a blog on this specifically soon), and I was limited in foot movement for 2 weeks while I heeled (stitches and all). I was told that it would take a full year to slowly move my toe through its range of motion. “It won’t ever be 100%, but it will be pretty good”, I was told.
I’ve broken bones, been sown up with stitches in many places, had cysts removed, been hit head on by a car resulting in concussion, whiplash and short term memory loss for 8 months; still, this particular situation [toe surgery] was different. I was so scared and worried bone spurs would re-emerge again. Whenever my toe felt uncomfortable, I stopped doing my exercises. After less than a month of work, I let it be. I did exactly what I was NOT suppose to do. I swam and walked away from fear… yet, movement was the only thing that could and can fix my toe!
These are some photos I took in November 2016. My right toe extension is quite limited. I did not do the work necessary to get as much range of motion as possible for a better, healthier body.
Every single part of my body is important, especially if I want my body to work as a whole unit. My lack of toe extension since summer 2001 has caused me many compensations over the years. From ankles to knees to hips, from joints to connective tissues to bone, my body has changed. In addition, pain set in early, increasing my nociception and decreasing my proprioception, highlighting my change in movement patterns unconsciously.
Small, microscopic changes over time can lead to significant alterations. My hip extension is different on both sides, my pelvis is slightly rotated, left femur overly internally rotated, muscles (like psoai, adductors and glutes) don’t have the same strengths, etc. I know we are all never perfectly symmetrical; but, I also know my toe has altered my body.
I am responsible for my movements and my overall wellbeing. Since I am doing my #cardioproject2017 this year, I have to be hyper vigilant about my toe. Running magnifies my compensations; therefore, I need to do my due diligence to ensure the health of my toe (hence, my body).
It is through movement that I will do this, not rest->Loading my joints<-. It’s never an easy task. Just because I had surgery on my toe doesn’t mean my “issue(s)” are magically gone, or will never return. A massive amount of work needs to be done.
Next post…. what am I doing for my toe!