Thursday, July 23, 2009

Need Second Opinion

I went to the world's meanest doctor today!

Or maybe just realistic. But I definitely want a second opinion. With pain in my heel and in my big toe joint, I went to the only "sports medicine" doctor in our area, with the local orthopedic practice. He gave me about 30 seconds to explain my background, and examined my foot for another 30 seconds. He said he actually didn't need to examine me at all - just looking at me - overweight and past 40 - told him everything he needed to know. He asked, "do you actually like to run?" as if the very idea that a middle-aged woman could want to challenge herself at something that doesn't come naturally was bizarre and unnatural.

His diagnosis (based on the x-ray and the 30 second exam) was: flexible flat feet (not pronation), posterior tibial tendonitis, arthritis in the big toe joint, heel spur, and of course what I already knew, plantar fasciitis. He literally laughed at the shoes I was wearing (reasonably supportive naot's with drugstore arch support inserts), and said I should wear only running shoes or very supportive cushioned shoes, go to physical therapy, bike and swim and come back in a month. No running, ever again.

He's anti-orthotic or arch support (says that a 50-year longitudinal study proves they do nothing) and that the difference between motion control and other shoes is non-existent, just marketing hocus pocus. (Did I mention he's anti-running? He told me he ran the NYC marathon in 1976 but his "wife put 50 pounds on him.") He said that if I weighed 140 pounds I could run, but otherwise I should just forget about it. (I haven't weighed that since I was 14 years old - if I could get to 180 I'd be thrilled.)

Various friends have given me advice from 'stick with swimming and elliptical' to a macrobiotic diet. I am dismayed but not discouraged - I have an appointment with a podiatrist on Monday and will explore all the options. Plus try the PT - why not? I think I'll also go to a serious running store - the kind where they watch you run on a treadmill and choose shoes based on your stride. And try to stay fit and not pack on more pounds while I heal.

Other athletes I know have come back from much worse than this - I may not run a half-marathon this year, but I will be back!


LBTEPA said...

"He said he actually didn't need to examine me at all - just looking at me - overweight and past 40 - told him everything he needed to know."
Time for a 2nd 3rd 4th opinion.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Yes, I think going to a running store, have them evaluate you on a treadmill and get into the right shoes - that's a good idea for EVERYONE.

Dr is a jerk. And it sounds like he harbors ill will from not having run himself for a long time. Get another opinion. Actually - ask the PT about it.

Athena Misty, aka "GeekGirl" said...

Yes, of course you need a 2nd. Might have to take a day off and drive out there to get it, too. My podiatrist, family doctor, and endocrinologist are all runners or have been runners. If running IS insanity, then I at least want to surround myself with people who feed into my delusion.