As much as I try to love every part of my body, I simply can't embrace my right foot, which is especially sad considering everything it's been through.
Starting at the left and working right:
Massive bunion (green arrow): Caused, in part, from wearing shoes too small. Had a bunionectomy also about seven years ago, and the pain, post-surgery, I swear was worse than childbirth. Even worse? The operation didn't work. As you can see, the considerable lump is still there. It's just adorned with a nice red scar now.
Second toe (blue arrow): I've lost that toenail so many times, it's as thick as a roof's shingle now. Whenever I think I want a pedicure, I just picture the technician recoiling as she looks at that nail, and I go for the DIY paint job instead.
Between third and fourth toes (purple arrow): A small scar from a Morton's neuroma I had removed eons ago. Surgery, I think, was the best choice, as I couldn't walk without feeling fireworks under my foot, but now that portion of my foot goes numb on long runs.
Fourth toe (red arrow): Remember my friends Dan and Kathy from yesterday's post? When they were visiting me in Santa Fe about seven years ago, I tripped and broke the toe on a sidewalk curb. Yes, I was sober, and no, I didn't get it fixed (or even tape it to the next toe), as the 30-degree angle indicates.
Not inked up: the spot on my second metatarsal--fancy speak for the long bones in the forefoot--where I had a stress fracture.
Do I think my f'ed-up feet--my left foot has endured a bone spur and ingrown toenail and its own stress fracture--contribute to my propensity to be injured? Absolutely.
One way to mitigate my Quasimodo feet is to run more as nature intended. While my experience running in Vibrams, the five-fingered shoes, has been limited to very short stints, I do walk around in them quite a bit, and my right foot responds positively. Not only does my fourth toe actually straighten a bit, but I feel like my weight is distributed much more evenly and I engage all my foot muscles.
I can't be the only one with awful feet--or some issue that throws everything else awry.
What's your body's version of my right foot? Your IT Band? Your hips thrown off by carrying around your kids? Some other part? Let us know and you could win a pair of Vibram Bikalas LS shoes. These glove-like shoes, the next generation of the five-fingered revolution, are a good stepping stone for people intrigued by the natural method but can't quite take the leap. The laces accommodate all widths of feet and are more friendly to high arches than other Vibram models. The 3mm insole and 4mm outsole might feel too structured to true barefooters, but converters from typical running shoes will appreciate the anatomical sole, which promotes an efficient, natural stride and provides a helpful cushion between your foot and the road below.
No need for any picture (I've done enough damage for all of us). Just let us know what body part is more influential in your running than you'd expect it to be.