Finally I have a diagnosis on my foot!!! Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction. Does it mean I will never run again? Not straight away, maybe not for a while but Yes!!! (Insert happy dance here). The same day I got my foot diagnosis, I had an assessment of my neck and shoulder. The conclusion? Wear and tear. My body is apparently getting old. Although I disagree. I’m not getting old I’m just getting older.
Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
What is it? Well the posterior Tibial tendon runs from underneath your foot, through the ankle and deep into the calf. Mine is a bit caput. This tendon is the scaffolding upon which your leg and the rest of your body relies on to keep you stable. Those of you blessed with a high arch are unlikely to suffer this condition. I on the other hand have always had a very low arch. PTTD is apparently the curse of the flat footed, middle aged, overweight woman. Well there’s a check, check, check, check for me! Oh how glamorous do I feel?
In my case the tendon was damaged and sprained from overuse. Once it had healed the tendon remained overstretched. My foot is now completely flat to the floor causing my ankle to overpronate, in turn this destabilises my whole leg. As if I need to be any less stable.
Don’t mix flat feet with flat shoes
I always had a gait analysis for my running shoes which means that my PTTD is more likely a result of three heavy pregnancies waddling around in flip flops and sneakers. Even my slippers contributed. Trust me when I say that nothing makes you feel old like googling the phrase “stylish orthopaedic shoes”.
Thank the dear Lord for Birkenstocks. (They saved me the need to wear trainers to my sisters wedding). Although work shoes are proving difficult at present. Getting older and wiser shouldn’t necessarily mean abandoning ones desire to look stylish. The choices are limited when your orthopaedic insoles are huge.
The weak left side
To add to my destabilisation I have a weak left shoulder and limited mobility in my neck. My shoulder is hypermobile which I have discussed before and my neck is even more wear and tear. Or in other words, my body is getting old.
All this talk of getting older is a little bit depressing. It is a bit like sliding down a gravelly bank. The more you try to keep your footing the worse it gets to stay still. Your only choice is to stop fighting it. You may believe that doing so will cause you just to slide off into oblivion but in fact you will probably just stay still.
Accept the change
My only choice is to accept that my body has changed and will continue to change. I have to work with it. Take the time to observe the shifts in the gravelly bank and carefully calculate each move forward. In my case I have a diagnosis now so I can stop sliding off into oblivion. I have a foundation to use as a footing (pardon the pun). I am working with an NHS physio, who was very impressed when I took notes at our appointment, and I have forked out for a good personal trainer to help me gradually rehabilitate.
My goal is simple. Get strong first. Rehabilitate my foot, shoulder and neck. Build a strong core to protect me from further injuries before I place any more pressure on myself.
Getting older is nothing to be afraid of. In fact I am better in so many ways because I am older. I care less about what people think of me, I’m braver, stronger. No less clumsy but I guess I now have a medical diagnosis to blame that on.
I am definitely wiser. Especially now that I know that flat shoes are bad for flat feet.
A necessity not a choice
The last few months have been hard but I’m ready to take this creaky old body and make it strong. Possibly stronger than it has ever been. The jury may still be out on when I’ll run again but I’m certainly going to try. I mean you never know when you will be required to break in to a sprint to catch a headstrong monkey making a bid for freedom. In my life running isn’t a choice, it is a necessity sometimes.
In the end Old is just a word like Fat or Slow. I’m getting Older. I don’t have to be weak or broken anymore. I will be stronger and wiser, and I will find stylish orthopaedic shoes!