Thursday, March 11, 2010

Best Podiatrist EVER and fantastic new PT

After developing what I believed to be plantar fasciitis before or during the OC100K, I decided it was time to see a podiatrist and potentially get new custom orthotics; my old ones wore out (aka. pieces tore off) early last year and my efforts to use athletic tape to repair them made them wearable occassionally but not for long runs.  I did not wear them during the race and I figured that my high left arch was collapsing inward, which could have caused the PF.  Doing too much too soon in the Vibrams caused my right achilles to be inflammed so I went to the new doctor with a myriad of problems and I pondered how to tell him everything, get treated for all my foot/ankle issues.  Most doctors are on such a tight schedule that they barely take the time to hear what's going on and then send you off with what may or may not work.  I hoped this doctor would be different.  Since my previous podiatrist was in LA and I wanted one closer to home, I googled "irvine podiatrist runner marathon orthotics" and one of the first results was for Dr.Michael Marcus who has offices in Irvine and Montebello; I read his bio and realized he was the doc for me as he has completed 11 marathons, including Boston.  I wanted a doctor who would understand my training schedule and would work with me.  Calling his office, I found out he keeps super late hours so that patients can go there after rare to find!

My appointment was for 5pm Monday.  The assistant took x-rays around 5:15pm and I got impatient waiting but I heard the doctor with patients and realized he took his time talking to them, etc. so I felt the wait would be worth it.  Boy, was I right.  It was closer to 5:45 before he entered the exam room but he was with me for almost 30 minutes, asking medical history, running history (even my, running plans, diagnosing me, and laying out my treatment options.  He said I have PF in both feet (way worse in my left foot) and that my right achilles is very tight.  He offered his advice and took my input, realizing I was a compliant patient who wants to recover.  Final verdict- night splints for both feet (apparently most people only get one), custom orthotics designed to last longer (specifically for an "ultramarathoner") and fit to prevent blisters, physical therapy.  Since I had not been pleased with my current PT (he rarely sees me himself, said I had no muscular/hip imbalances that I suspected were causing my numerous injuries, and only seemed to have my symtoms treated versus find out the cause), I asked for a referral.  Non-running note is that the doc's older sister was a high school bio teacher and that led to his becoming a doctor 33 years he said he had to make sure I'm well-cared for.  Awesome!

The set of night splints...

Tuesday I took the day off running and hit the gym for some rare cross-training.  Doing lower body weights, especially the abductor machine, made me AGAIN realize how weak my legs are despite my running.  Wednesday I returned Rhonda's (the PT at PARplus) call and made an appointment to see her that evening.  I had been desiring to test my foot on a run but figured getting started with PT was a priority.  Unfortunately, I learned that she's out of network but will only make me pay in-network costs...20% of the bill, which has me concerned as money is tight right now.  Why do I pay so much every month for PPO insurance to spend so much myself?!  However, she proved that she's an excellent therapist and, as a runner/triathlete, understands running injuries and the importance of treating the cause so that fewer injuries occur.  Her tests showed what I suspected- I have weak hip muscles, specifically the abductors, and that issue could be why I've had so many minor injuries.  She did treatment with a form of ultrasound designed to help break up the swelling in the PF feet and gave me a series of exercises to start strengthening my hips.  Bad news is that she said no running until at least next week. :(  Major bummer as I had been planning on hitting the trails.  Oh well, I'm hoping my PF improves enough by Monday (next appt) that I get the all-clear to run.  Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I only need a few PT visits because my bank account can't deal with's to wishing for quick improvement!

I'll be making friends with 24 hour fitness and taking my bike out for a spin....getting in the cross-training I should be doing while skipping the running.  Sleeping in the night splints is not fun but I'm doing it..the time is ticking for me to resume training for SD100.  Could be waaaay worse so I'm being the compliant patient and hoping it pays off!


  1. Thanks for this posting. I wish I lived in the OC so I could see this Doc as well. I am currently dealing with ankle and now heel pain in my left foot. Although I visit your area a lot, so maybe I should make an appointment? I hope pain goes away before that happens though.

  2. @Slomohusky- If you're in the OC or LA area, I'd recommend visitin him. I didn't know it but he's the doc recommended by local running coaches so it seems like he has quite the following. Of course, I hope your pain goes away without a doc visit! Sending you healing vibes.

  3. Be a patient patient! Enjoy your bike!

  4. Patience, patience, patience!

    Awesome that you found like-minded folks to aid you in your recovery. Good luck Rach - hoping you're 100% at PCT50 & SD100!

  5. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.