acquired flat foot.

About two weeks after joining Curves, my ankle started hurting. First, it hurt just when I worked out. But I powered through, because pain is just weakness leaving the body. Then it started hurting pretty much all the time. I limped around for so long that I couldn't tell if my ankle was still injured or if this was just my new way to walk. I also continued to go to the gym and run in place in thirty second increments. I did dig out my old ankle brace from high school.

The weird thing was that there was no time when I recalled injuring myself. I have some familiarity with ankle injuries (thus the brace), and usually you pretty much know when you've gone and hurt yourself. Usually you fall, there is instant pain, and sometimes a great big friendly cracking noise. There had been none of that. Just pain.

While I was having this pain, Josh and I were fighting about it. He was being uncharacteristically sensible, telling me to take it easy and for pete's sake, stop going to the gym. I really wanted to just tough it out. Because I had just started going back to the gym, because I was doing so well getting up early in the morning to go exercise, because I had momentum here, and I was not going to lose it over a silly thing like the thought of never walking again. The lady at the gym had just that morning told me how much she liked seeing me come in, because I worked hard and sweat, while a lot of these ladies barely move and then complain that they're not getting any thinner. I told Josh that I wouldn't jog in place anymore. I would use the machines, and then during the aerobics part, I would do the twist. The twist doesn't require stepping at all! The twist would save me!

He was not convinced by my promises of twisting. He nagged me into silence, which is not the same as concession, just so you know.

He told me to go to the doctor, which was about the silliest thing I'd ever heard. The doctor is going to tell me to ice it and keep off it and then charge me $150. What I did do was fire up the old googler and typed in "inner ankle pain." The first thing I discovered is that the inside of your ankle is called the medial side. I read some internet comments and looked at foot diagrams and diagnosed myself with a inflamed tibialis posterior tendon. The tibialis posterior tendon attaches your leg muscle to your foot and toe bones. It loops underneath your ankle bone, and so when it hurts, it feels like your ankle hurts. I looked at pictures of the tendon, poked my ankle to see where it hurt, and called it a match. Then I found a YouTube video where someone stands on one foot, then raises himself onto the balls of his feet. This was illustrating the work of the tibialis posterior muscle (and its accompanying tendon). To verify I had the right injured body part, I tried this exercise. It was excruciating.

Of course, the thing about a google diagnosis (is there a word for that? there should be a word for that.) is that while finding one, you're going to come across tales of horror. Lots of people have problems with this tendon, and basically none of them ever walked again and also their puppies all died. In fact, tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction is also known as "acquired flat foot." Basically, your foot just sorta collapses in on itself. Awesome. I kept waiting to hear the snap of my tendon breaking every time I tried to go down stairs. I imagined it would sound like a whip crack. Waaa-cack!

But finally, maybe after reading some more about acquired flat foot, I gave myself a few days off from exercise. To my irritation, I found that my ankle did not hurt as much and was not as swollen in the evenings (Did I mention the swelling? There had been swelling). And Josh told me that he was proud of me for not going to the gym, because it showed that I knew he was right. I did not respond.

After a long weekend of not exercising, I went back on a Monday, determined to do what I could without collapsing my foot. I was going to do the most enthusiastic twisting since Chubby Checker. My ankle felt fine, so I did my usual jogging in place during the cardio portions of the workout. After a few rounds of that, my ankle started twinging, so I switched to the twist. I felt moderately stupid, but really, everyone looks pretty spastic doing solo aerobics.

This week, it hasn't hurt at all. So I guess my tendon is okay for now. Which is just as well, because I'm not a very good twister.

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