Feet of a 60 year old – Niggle diagnosis

In a past post, I mentioned that I have some discomfort in two of my toes on my left foot. I was able to make an appointment to see my physio guru Stephanie yesterday at Parkway Physiotherapy.

On arrival, I was shown into the treatment room and I removed my sneakers and socks. I wanted to make sure I was ready for Steph to hopefully solve my issue. As I was waiting though I noticed that one of my sore toes was redder than the others. This was something that I had never noticed before.

Once she arrived she asked me what was going on and I described all the things that I have been feeling. I was then asked to stand up with my feet side by side. As she got down on the floor to look at my feet she noticed right away the metatarsal heads on my left foot had fallen. As she pointed to the area on my foot and compared it to my other I could see what she meant.

Next test was to stand on my tippy toes. I knew this was going to hurt because when I stand in awkward pose in yoga I feel discomfort. I was standing in front of a mirror for these tests so Steph told me to look at what my left foot was doing vs. my right. My left ankle was turning out while my right was going straight up. When I asked what that meant she told me I was putting more pressure on the outside of my foot, where I am feeling the pain, instead of balancing with all of my foot.

The next test took place on the bed/table. With my ankles hanging over it she pushed on the inside and then the outside of my foot as I tried to not let her push my foot. This was to test my Tibialis Posterior or as she called it my tib post. When she compared my right to my left she noticed that my left tib post was very weak. She knew this because of how much it lifted compared to the right side and I also struggled to keep my foot in place. She said my right tib post was a bit stronger but not much.

As a runner, there are a lot of things that become weak that one wouldn’t even think about. Someone should tell the young kids who want to be runners, to start training every part of their body so they are good to go in the future.

A long time ago I was told that I pronate when running. To help I try with it, I am currently wearing Asics Gel Kayano 18 that has support for pronation. A weak tib post doesn’t help either so Steph gave me an exercise to strengthen it. I use a thera-band tied around my foot and move my foot to the inside and control it going back to straight. I have to repeat this repetition until exhaustion. In total, I have three sets to do each day.

My thera-band exercises and pale feet.
My thera-band exercises and pale feet.

Steph also had an arts and crafts session with me. She cut up a piece of felt to put in my sneaker that would help give my metatarsals a lift. She is hoping this lift will make my toes feel better when running. I gave it a try this morning on an easy 4km but the pad felt like it was misplaced when I was running. It was causing discomfort in another part of my foot and adjusting it while on a run wasn’t the easiest. Part way into my run I had to remove it because I didn’t want to have a sore foot in another place. I am going to try a little run in my house and see if I can get it in the right spot before I hit the roads again.

The felt pad to help lift my fallen metatarsal heads.
The felt pad to help lift my fallen metatarsal heads.

I asked Steph how this happened and she said it was a change that happened over time in my running. She doesn’t know how the change came to be but she has seen this in people who are in their 60’s. She figures due to a lot of running and the pronation I already have, my feet have bloomed early. Well, the blooming part is my word but it seems like of fitting.

Have you been told you have a weak body part you need to strengthen? Are you good at doing the exercises you have been given?

 

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7 thoughts on “Feet of a 60 year old – Niggle diagnosis

  1. my butt! a few years ago I was doing a bootcamp and injured my piriformis and when the physio tried to get me to clench my butt muscles, I couldn’t do it AT ALL!!! they were pretty much non-existent and I wasn’t firing them when I ran or did any kind of exercise…all the sitting at work I do pretty much made them totally lazy. I’ve been doing lots of strength training so they are far, far better now.

    hope the foot feels better soon!

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  2. Glad you have a diagnosis now. I previously had issues with my tib post and did a lot of strength work. I also suffer from wear and tear in my big toe joints and have to mobilise them regularly so as not to get any problems there. I no longer wear shoes for “over pronation” though, instead a neutral shoe and an orthotic that I move from pair to pair as I rotate them. The joys of being a runner :-0
    Hopefully once you get that felt pad in the right place you’ll notice a difference and be able to run without discomfort.

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    1. I have never had an orthotic but know some friends who do. I am hoping the metatarsal pads I bought on Sunday will help my feet. And I will get going on the tib post exercises. I just need to find the time these days.

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  3. I’m pleased to hear that you’ve got a diagnosis. Is it possible that your problems are coming from your hip? I’ve seen runners with several issues in their lower leg and they all struggle with movement issues at the hip joint. It’s possible that the Tib Post issue may be coming from limited mobility at the hip joint and would be interesting to see if some hip exercises helped it. Who told you that you pronate when you run? Everyone pronates, it’s how the foot is supposed to move! It might be that your foot pronates a bit more with your left foot than the right. Again, this can be controlled by doing the right training around the hips

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