Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Blisters - The other gait instructor...

Twelve years ago I tripped over a shoe.  It hurt pretty badly, I called up my friends and told them the dinner planned that night would depend on a couple of them coming over to help me cook so I could get off my feet some.  I didn't have health insurance at the time, and the treatment for broken toes isn't much different from the treatment of sprained toes, so I just self-treated it, immobilizing it as much as I could and staying off of it.

It never healed quite right.  I've called it my weather toe, as it acts up when a storm is coming.  As I've gone more minimal that toe has not gained as much mobility as my other side and has not straightened as much.  It has bothered me less when the weather acts up, but even my more roomy moccasins sometimes are sometimes uncomfortable when the weather is changing.

On the same foot I had a thick callous on the pad below the fourth toe.  (Right where your weight would fall if trying to walk with the big toe elevated off the ground.)  As I went minimal, most of my callouses went away except this one, and one in the middle outside of the damaged big toe.  (Once again, if trying to elevate the big toe but failing, the pressure would land in this spot rather than in the center of the big toe.)  For a while I blamed a wart I eventually found under the callous, but that's been gone for months now and there's been no reduction in callous.

So yesterday I was fed up with the callous and pared it back a bit.  Today I took a half hour walk with co-workers.  Guess where I feel a friction hot spot?  The body is not stupid, it forms callus in response to friction to protect itself.  If I kept going like this I'd likely develop a blister.

The good side of blisters is that if you keep going at a slow pace, they are wonderful teachers.  They immediately tell you when you are repeating the bad behavior and to please stop it.  I was able to get considerable relief from my hot spot by consciously engaging that bad toe.  It's been 12 years, you've had plenty of time to heal toe, time for physical therapy for you!