A missed race, {yet another} misdiagnosis, and a great big shot in my foot.

In a perfect world I would be writing a race recap today. The GPS Meet of Miles was last night; 1 timed mile on a track that counts toward my run club’s Grand Prix Series standings. I was REALLY looking forward to this for a few reasons:

  • I haven’t been timed to see how fast I can run one mile since high school and
  • It was on a track and I never get to run on a track and
  • It would have been my 4th GPS race. I believe they only take your 4 best performances for the year into consideration.

I almost thought that the weather gods were going to help me out again like they did with the snow-out of the original date for the 15k in March when I was still recovering from tendonitis, but alas the thunderstorms that rolled through right around 5pm didn’t hang around and the event went on as scheduled without me. Could I have gone to run that mile? Yes probably, but it most definitely would NOT be my best performance and not running at all seemed like a more attractive option than hobbling through an 11 minute mile and not being able to walk tomorrow. There are three more races in the GPS series this year so I’m trying not to get too down about it.

I bought myself a present to reward myself for being so smart and sitting this one out.

Anyway there have been some further developments in my current injury saga. I recently paid a visit to my chiro, Dr. Dave and was diagnosed with a neuroma in my foot. Then later in the week a pinched nerve in my calf. I was put on run-rest with the blessing to bike and do yoga. Since I started seeing him, my leg has been feeling better.

My foot, however, has not. Even going to yoga class has been an excruciating experience. Any pose that bent my toes up was pretty much out of the question which has resulted in a great many one-legged dogs. Over the holiday weekend I did a lot of walking during our amusement park trips and it left my toes feeling so agitated. I started getting really antsy and angry. I wasn’t running and it wasn’t helping. What else could I do? So on Monday I decided to make another phone call to one of my podiatrists for a second opinion.

I have several foot doctors by this point and don’t worry…I didn’t go back to Dr. Awful. I don’t  have a nickname for this guy yet so I’ll  just call him Dr. No-BS, which is exactly why I like him. Dr. No-BS is incredibly straightforward and non-sugar-coaty about everything. To some people this may come off as terrible bedside manner, but to someone like me who is also very No-BS, it is the preferred method of communication.

Anyway, Dr. No-BS rolls in and asks me why I’m there. I tell him that I’ve been diagnosed with a neuroma and explain the tests that were done, where the numbness and pain were, and in his very No-BS way he did a ‘talk to the hand’ gesture at me and told me what was wrong with everything I had just said.

He jabbed around under my toes, explaining that if I had a neuroma I would be screaming in pain, which I wasn’t. He then started pressing on various areas of the top of my foot, trying to recreate the pain/numb feeling that I have been experiencing. As he pushed right in the middle of the top of my foot, that funny, obnoxious, terrible sensation shot through my toes and I knew he had found the source. What I have is a chronic case of being misdiagnosed by doctors. And neuritis. How did I get neuritis? Apparently by being skinny.

I cringed as he told me that I had basically no cushioning for the nerve on the top of my foot so it has been rubbing back and forth over my bone.


He told me that it would be easy to get neuroma and neuritis confused so not to think that Dr. Dave is a total hack who gives me false information. Then he told me that there is a fix that works almost every time. The good ol’ cortisone shot.

I happily agreed. If the end result is me being able to walk without feeling lightning bolts in my toes, bring it on.

When setting up for this sort of thing, first Dr. No-BS wanted to use some ultrasound technology on my foot to locate my artery. He told me that my nerve runs right next to the artery and the ultrasound image would help him better locate it. I asked him what would happen if he were to inject the cortisone into my artery by mistake and was informed that I might have some heart palpitations, but that it wouldn’t happen anyway so don’t worry about it. Whatever. I was just making sure I wouldn’t die immediately.

He put the ultrasound wand on my foot – as I was having flashbacks to like every ultrasound I ever had with B – and then produced the most enormous syringe I’ve seen since my epidural.

It looked roughly like this:


Except that Dr. No-BS was not dressed like one of the Village People and his office is much more tidy than this situation. He sprayed my foot with an annoyingly cold topical numbing solution and I began to mentally prepare myself for the stabbage that would ensue. And I waited. And waited. And waited.

Apparently he could not locate my artery on the ultrasound. This went on for several minutes before he broke out a doppler (cue more flashbacks to being pregnant) and began navigating the top of my foot for my pulse. Nothing.

Ugh. Stupid zombie foot.

I’m not even usually afraid of needles and there I was sitting in the chair staring at this huge shot hanging out of the doctor’s pocket and getting more and more nervous by the second. He assured me in his no-nonsense fashion that this was normal and I DO have blood flow to my zombie foot. At one point he moved the doppler around to find my pulse next to my heel and I was surprised when it was slow, steady, and relaxed. He said my pulse is so slow because I’m a runner and I felt a momentary burst of pride before the anxiety took back over.

Eventually after like a year – or 10 minutes…whatever – he found the artery, sprayed some more of that annoying, cold stuff on my foot and I looked at the ceiling as I got the injection. It didn’t hurt aside from maybe a little pinch.

As I was getting up to leave Dr. No-BS asked me what my tattoo on my arm meant an I proudly told him that it was my marathon time. He asked me if it was my first one and when I told him yes, he looked impressed and told me congratulations and that I would see him in 3 weeks. Hopefully not for any more needles.

As I’m writing this, I’m still less than 48 hours post-cortisone and while I still have mild to moderate pins and needles when I move my toes in certain ways, the painful lightning bolt sensation is gone. I went to yoga yesterday and was capable of keeping both of my feet on the ground for my downward dogs, so huge win there. For the next couple days I’ll be taking it easy and sticking with the bike and strength training, but I’m crossing everything that there will be some pain-free running in my future. I’m even crossing my toes now. Because I can do that now that they don’t hurt so badly.

What was the last annoying injury you dealt with? Have you ever been misdiagnosed by a doctor? Have you ever gotten a cortisone shot? If so, did it help?

Also I wanted to point you guys in the direction of Ange’s blog! She is on a really lovely sounding vacation involving beaches and wine and I took over for her in her absence with a little rant about why I will never go run streaking again. That can be found HERE!
I hope everyone has a beautiful Thursday! (Wow it’s Thursday already? This week is really getting away from me!)

89 thoughts on “A missed race, {yet another} misdiagnosis, and a great big shot in my foot.

  1. sarahdudek80 says:

    Yay for cortisone. Nothing feels better than having an awful injury and finding a doctor that figures it out with confidence. I always feel like I can relax a bit, even if it means having to take time off. So glad you are back on the mend now. Something about needles in the foot is way freakier than anywhere else!

  2. M @readeatwriterun says:

    Misdiagnosis and lost time – how frustrating! I have never heard of neuritis, I’ll have to look it up. I’ve never had a cortisone shot, no one has ever suggested one. I’m kind of scared of them.

    I have pretty skinny (but big, 10EE) feet with low arches, but it seems to me the bones on my feet/ankle come up pretty high and rub on my shoes. I’m having sensitivity sometimes on the top of them, sometimes all the way up the shin. Last year I had such a severe problem I had to stop running for a week or so and gradually come back, real pain where the shoe ties and low cut sock hit my foot at the ankle join. I DNS’s my goal Nov marathon, but BQ’d in a race in March. It was rough for a while though, pool running was all I could do without pain – got up to 2.5hours of it! I was told then it was extensor tendonitis. Recently it started coming back some, as I’m ramping up speedwork – my chiro says is superficial front line tightness…and he rx’d bow pose which does help). I also think it could be shoes rubbing but I’m stuck with my shoes.

    I hope your situation improves very quickly now, and that you can get back to running soon! Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned, I’m sure others will be helped.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Ooooo thank you for the bow pose rec! I slacked off from yoga so much for a little while and I think I did myself a major disservice. Since starting back at a new studio a couple times a week, I can feel my flexibility coming back which I think will help my legs in the long run. I just have a bum right let in general though.

      I really hope I can help someone with this info! Thanks!

  3. courtruns4cupcakes says:

    I had the exact same thing due to a new pair of shoes I got! The shoes fit my feet funny and were causing the nerve to rub against the bone and it hurt sooo bad! After going to the doctor I immediately got rid of those shoes and iced my foot for a couple weeks with no running. Luckily it is better now. I hope the shot helps and you are back to running soon, I know it is so frustrating!

    • runsaltrun says:

      That sounds exactly like my issue. I wish I could pinpoint it to one pair of shoes, but it’s in like ANY shoes. It is so painful. 😦 I’m sorry you had to deal with it too!

  4. RunCrush says:

    Good for you for being smart! We all know that’s not easy when there’s a fun race looming. You’ll get that mile done soon enough, and I’m sure it’ll be super speedy. That cortisone shot sounds terrifying! And foot injuries are really the worst! I had a sore arch closely followed by a stress fracture, and it’s just really hard to let them heal. You’ve gotta walk, ya know? Hope your foot feels better ASAP

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank you. It was a tough decision to make, but I figured what was the point anyway if I was going to be WAY off my best time. Not worth the extra risk. I hope the shot does the trick!

  5. candies & crunches says:

    Oh, you poor thing! I am so happy you finally seem to have found the truth. But, gosh, I think I would have fainted if I saw a big needle about to be jammed in my foot lol! So props to you for being so courageous and thinking long term ❤ ❤ ❤

  6. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine says:

    You have some of the craziest doctor experiences every!:) I feel like I have heard it all when it comes to my running “injuries”. From low back problems to hip misalignment to trigger point in my quad to every other muscle being too tight. While I usually wish I could get a straightforward answer all I really care about is getting better.
    I hope the shot helps and you are closer to being able to run again!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I know and I so wish I didn’t! And I wish there was a way that we could all magically run pain-free all the time. Injuries SUCK! (And thank you I hope so too! In the meantime I’ll be having fun experimenting with some new workouts that I’ve never tried before.)

  7. DarlinRae says:

    Yikes! Glad you’re finally on the mend, and I hope you’re back at it soon. I’ve never had a diagnosed injury, period. Although my right foot is still bothering me, so I may need to get it checked out eventually. I’m just stubborn and don’t want to pay for an office visit, just to get a referral to a specialist and then pay for a specialist visit–stupid high deductible insurance!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank you, friend. I hope so too and I hope all is well with your foot! Rest it as much as you can, keep ice on it, and don’t let it go as long as I tend to let injuries go. 🙂

  8. northernambitions says:

    That’s horrible but thankfully you went to see Dr. No-BS. Doctors like that are so much better than the sugar coating ones. I’ve been misdiagnosed before and it was so frustrating. I has pain in my foot (funny enough) and my physio said it was a sprained ankle cause by a weak muscle and had me coming in all the time to tape it and do exercises….hundreds of dollars later I went to a chiropractor who told me I had injured the tendon and it wasn’t healing due to my diet at the time. He gave me some supplements and within a week I was better. I got lucky but I was mad I paid so much for bad advice. I’m so happy your foot is on the mend 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      I totally agree. I much prefer a straightforward approach! That is exactly how I felt about the runaround I got for my tendon! 4 different doctors! And then it ended up being a pretty easy fix. My insurance company must love me. 🙂

      Thank you and I hope getting the shot makes it all better! So far it’s improved so we’ll see!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I know right? I’m just a glutton for stupid crap injuries. Thank you, friend. I was honestly more than a little worried about the pulse thing, but Dr. No-BS assured me that it was okay and I believe him. Because he’s no BS. 🙂

  9. SuzLyfe says:

    Goodness, friend, I reeeealllly hope that this does the trick. Otherwise, we will just have to feed you burgers and fatten you up! (Ie me pretending to be the least helpful person making the stupidest comment ever that would result in me punching them in the face). But seriously, fingers crossed.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Wouldn’t you know that is pretty much the exact thing that I said to the doctor when I asked him if this was preventable later on down the line? (He suggested that I not try that haha.) Thank you, love! ❤

  10. caffeinatedginger says:

    Shots don’t bother me–but, shots with huge needles?? Shudder…did you get a lollipop for being so brave?
    I’ve been dealing with plantar fasciitis for about 1.5 years. What a pain–literally and figuratively. The only thing that really has helped is stretching and cutting down on my running. I’ve found a balance of two days of running, two days of biking, and two days of strength training a week. Anymore running than that and I look like an old woman hobbling around when I get out of bed in the morning. Ha!

    • runsaltrun says:

      HUGE. Like the same size as the syringe. Okay maybe not, but it was close. I should have gotten a lollipop or a sticker or something! I’m sorry about the PF. 😦 I’ve never personally had to deal with it, but I know a lot of people who do. I’m unfortunately really injury prone due to my body mechanics (long story), and I really can’t run more than 4 days a week. I am so jealous of people that can run all the time with no problem!

  11. chasingchels says:

    Goodness hun! I can’t imagine all that, although you seem to have a good attitude about it (definitely better than I would haha). The last time a dr (or someone in the medical profession) ticked me off was October. I was in physical therapy for plantar fasciitis in my left foot and nothing seemed to be helping. I was a week from discharge when they had one of the owners come look at me. He performed some magic on my foot, which left it feeling better than it had in ages. Then he looks at everyone around me and says, “I told you to check that ages ago.” And one of the PTs who worked on me regularly said, “oh yeah. It was the only thing we didn’t do.” Say what??? I could have been better weeks ago, but because you chose not to do this test for some reason, I’m only now on the road to recovery? Not a happy camper to say the least. I hope the shot helps! I want to see you do well in that Grand Prix 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      I’m definitely in a much better place with all this than I was the last time I had to take a break. I know it’s necessary and I just don’t want to make it worse, plus there are other things I can be doing in the meantime. 🙂

      That is total garbage that it happened to be the one thing that they hadn’t tried on your footI would have been SO ticked off at missing that time unnecessarily! I’m glad you finally got it figured out though. What a mess!

  12. vegasmotherrunner says:

    Oh wow, you definitely have a case of chronic misdiagnosis! This Dr. sounds like he knows his stuff though, so I hope this gets you back in the game. And that whole being skinny thing is so true. When I broke my arm and was going through physical therapy, my therapist said I have some of the worst stiffness that he’d ever seen and it was because I am skinny. I have no cushioning around the injury for the scar tissue to live in, so it takes over the tendons. Which is why my wrist will never be fully functional again. #skinnygirlproblems

  13. Hailey @ Striding Strong says:

    Yikes. How frustrating! I hope the cortisone shot continues to help you! I got one for tendonitis in my big toe a couple of years ago and it did help. My most frustrating injuries always have to do with my feet because of the whole being small thing too and having small bones as I was told by my chiro the other day. It sounds like you made a great call by not doing that mile race- so HUGE pat on the back to you. I know that’s always hard.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Ahhh it was, but it would have been pointless and I don’t want to risk prolonging this even more. 🙂 I’m glad the cortisone helped you! I hope I have the same results. So far so good I guess! (I’m just itching to get back out there!)

  14. Stacy says:

    Glad you found out what it is! I had mental flashbacks when you started talking about the shot because I had one in my foot in May. WHY does that needle need to be so darn BIG?? OMG. At any rate, I hope it works well for you. I am going on two months of MAJOR relief after that shot.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I DON’T KNOW!! His assistant brought it in and I was like WTF is that madness!? Thank you so much and I’m so glad to hear that it worked for you! I am so hoping for the same results.

  15. Sun says:

    I’m glad you were finally correctly diagnosed! Sounds like quite an ordeal. Hopefully getting the right treatment will lead to a nice, speedy recovery so you can get back to running 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank you! ME TOO. I hate that I wasted a week, but I guess I really didn’t because the rest of my leg feels better. One step at a time. 🙂 I miss running so much and can’t wait to get back out there! (I don’t even care that it’s 100 degrees!)

  16. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    It’s funny. I read your post the other day and I said to myself that doesn’t sound like a neuroma, it sounds like neuritis. And I said that because I had the SAME thing. I thought it was a neuroma and was actually neuritis inbetween my toes. I didn’t need a cortisone shot, but I did get a new pair of shoe with a wider toe box and bought “yoga toes” to stretch my toes out because they were so squished!! Totally fixable!!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Yoga toes!! What a great suggestion!! I’m getting some right now. (Like I just put some in my amazon cart.) You totally understand that awfulness then! The pain is insanity!

      Since all this happened I’ve been working out in my Mizunos which are like gargantuan on my feet, but at least the bigger toe box helps relieve it. 🙂

  17. Lauren @ ihadabiglunch says:

    That sounds so awful – not even the shot itself but just seeing the needle and waiting for it to happen. Anticipation is always worse than the thing itself, right? I really hope this is the correct diagnosis so you can feel better! It’s frustrating because we expect doctors to just know what’s wrong with us, but more often than not they’re just guessing too (but of course they have a whole arsenal of info that we don’t have). Cortisone shots sound brutal – my mom gets them in her knees. Ick!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Yep the anticipation was definitely the most awful part of the whole thing. I’m pretty sure the diagnosis is spot on this time (thank goodness) and now I’m just hoping the shot fixes it.

  18. themilereport says:

    Being misdiagnosed sucks because then you think about how you would have been back running sooner if it was right the first time. But I also understand how different injuries can seem similar, esp if the dr isn’t as familiar with the one you have. I was misdiagnosed last fall–the first dr said it was my piriformis, so I diligently stretched the piriformis out daily and didn’t feel any better…and the stretch didn’t even hurt. The second dr said that it wasn’t the piriformis, but it was a butt muscle really close to it. After a week of stretching the “new muscle” out, I felt better! Never had a cortisone shot though!

    Doesn’t it feel so good when doctors tell you that you have a low heart rate because you are a runner?? I beam whenever they say that. Ha– my dad had a running related surgery a few years ago, and an alarm kept going off on the heart monitor machine he was hooked up to because his heart rate was under 50

    • runsaltrun says:

      Oh yes I was quite proud of myself and also quite shocked because I thought it would be hammering a million miles a minute after seeing that giant shot. That’s crazy about your dad’s heart rate! (Crazy awesome!) I’m glad that your new muscle stretch ended up being a quick fix, but that is totally annoying that they got it wrong at first!

  19. Sarah @ Sweet Miles says:

    I am seriously dying at your description of the needle. Cracking. Up. I am so so sorry you had to go through that!!! Oh it sounds miserable!! I am however thrilled that hopefully you are on the mend and will be getting better soon! Being misdiagnosed can be SO frustrating! Good for you for getting a second opinion 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      Haha thank you. 🙂 Really the worst part was the anticipation of having to get the shot. Once he was doing it it really didn’t hurt. I’m glad I went for a second opinion too or else I would have been sitting around for who knows how long.

  20. michelle says:

    Oh my gosh I think I would have passed out waiting for that shot. The anticipation is what gets me with needles, the actual shot or blood draw usually isn’t too bad. But seeing the needle and then waiting and waiting. . . .you deserve some kind of medal! Good luck, hope you’re better soon!

  21. Rebecca Jo says:

    That had to be torture waiting & just looking at that needle. Glad it was just a pinch.
    I’ve had a cortisone shot in my shoulder before – need another desperately actually. They make me nervous though.
    Hope this takes care of your pain for awhile.

    • runsaltrun says:

      The thought of getting one always made me a little nervous too, but I was just to a point of total frustration with everything so whatever he suggested sounded good to me at that point!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thanks. 🙂 I have a lot of tattoos, but it is by far one of my favorites! (And right on my arm so a lot of people ask what it means!) I wish that simple rest would have helped it at all, but I can’t really stay off my foot 100% unless I got crutches so it really wasn’t improving without other measures. I hope this takes care of it!

  22. Miranda @ Cupcake Triathlete says:

    when I got my cortisone shot last month (was that all it was?) in my hip it was so frikkin scary. Hugest needle ever and it HURT SO BAD. BUT I was up and running (literally) within days.

    After reading your account, I’m wondering if my foot injury last fall (which was never diagnosed) was something similar and if I could have saved myself 5 weeks on crutches with a shot?

    Anyway, I’m glad you got a good one – best of luck with your recovery!

  23. KelsieLou says:

    Be careful with cortisone shots in your foot. Your case may be different because of your thin toes. I’ve heard with injuries in the foot the shots are not the wisest thing to do because it may numb the pain enough where u can run and not properly heal.

    I tripped a manhole cover and stubbed my toe. I got the shot after I learned the above stated. To this day, my toe still has a little pain if I curl my toes tightly.

    • runsaltrun says:

      That was one concern that I had (about cortisone in general not just in my foot) he seems to think that this will be a one time fix so I’m crossing my fingers that he’s right. In the meantime I’m definitely still resting it for a few more days until the numb feelings go away pretty much entirely. I’m sorry about your toes. 😦

  24. Lily says:

    I really hope you are pain-free soon! I’ve been having symptoms of runner’s knee for a while, and it drives me crazy. It’s never bad enough to not run and lately it’s been okay (knock on wood), but it seems like it’s always slightly there, reminding me it could come back at any minute.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Ugh I can’t even imagine that. Part of the reason shots don’t bother me is because I’m a phlebotomist’s dream. No issues finding these veins! (Except once but I think that person was new. I bruised SO BADLY.) I hope I will be soon too. 🙂 Thank you!

  25. Pandora Viltis says:

    I almost got a cortisone shot in my foot last September for what an orthopedist diagnosed as a neuroma then changed his mind a few weeks later to saying it was a stress fracture. I decided he was a quack (he didn’t even touch my foot the second time) and my chiropractor said it was an inflammation of the joint in my second toe and treated it with Active Release Therapy. It worked. I was able to run on it while it healed. I think the cortisone shot is a temporary solution that you might have to get again if you can’t figure out how to protect that nerve from continued rubbing. Of course, I’m no MD or expert, just basing this off what I learned from my foot injury.

    That needle seems awful, but when I was hurting I was getting desperate enough to try anything — except not running for six weeks for an incorrect diagnosis 😉

    • runsaltrun says:

      Ack! Did he go to school with Dr. Awful? They sound very similar.
      I am actually trying a shoe change again to see if that helps (I wear low profile shoes and my Pure Connects in particular are kind of tight). The doctor said in extreme situations, they might have to shave my bone. I’m hoping to avoid that at all costs because NO THANK YOU.

  26. kristenk says:

    Wow, that is an intense injury! I hope the cortisone takes care of it. I would have passed out after seeing that huge needle, you are much braver than me!

  27. ambertherunner says:

    Dr No-BS sounds like my kind of doctor. But what a bummer you had to miss the one-mile race. It sucks to be staring at the clock when the race is happening, knowing other people get to be out there racing.
    I’ve never gotten a cortisone shot, but I know several people who have, and they always seem to help. Not 100% sometimes, but it makes a huge difference. I’m glad you were at least able to use both feet in yoga again, it’s a start!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Any kind of difference would mean the world to me! 🙂 It was to the point where I was afraid to walk the wrong way because the pain was so intense. That part is definitely better now! I’m erring on the side of caution and still keeping with my running break, but optimistic that I should be good as new soon! 🙂

  28. missadventuresinrunning says:

    I hope this shot does the trick! Fingers crossed for you! Just remember that there will be many more races! I know it is frustrating now, but it will be worth it in the end!

  29. Running Bear says:

    F needles! When I need blood drawn, I drive a half hour out of the way to go to the one location where my favorite vampire lady works, she’s so gentle and uses this tiny mosquito bite of a needle, I can’t stand to be stuck by anybody else.

  30. irishrunnerchick says:

    Wow – you have bad luck with injuries and doctors! I’m glad you have figured it out and can get back running soon. I don’t think I could have watched a doctor inject me with a giant needle. Ugh. But if it works that’d be so rad! Seems like you need to hit your local running store and try on all the shoes. I know Altras are known for natural and superwide toe boxes.

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