Ya gotta be kiddin me…

Ok, so, my ATR recovery has been going just fine.  I started back playing Ultimate quite a few months ago and haven’t been having any problems - other than struggling to get my fitness level up.

About 2 months ago, I started noticing that after playing, my OTHER foot was starting to hurt in the forefoot area, kinda under the forefoot pads, just lateral to the middle of my foot.  Each time I played, my foot hurt a little more.  It was annoying at first, not bad enough to seek help, but had me stumped as to the origin.  I couldn’t remember any on-field trauma.  Then I got around to digging up the sod for the second of two flowerbeds that my wife wanted and I had an aha moment: my foot hurt right where I was pushing on the shovel!  I must’ve bruised something while digging up the first bed.  Fastforward a couple of weeks and after playing in our Sat AM pickup game, I was limping for the rest of the day.  So, I popped by my PT’s office for a quick opinion.  From history alone, he speculated that it was a capsulitis - inflammation of the area where the foot bones attach to the toes - ice, rest, ibu, etc.  The next Sat was our league’s end-of-season tournament.  During the second of two games, I made a plant/cut that sent a jolt all the way through the top of my head.  I was somewhat glad that we lost that game and were out of the tourney so that I didn’t have to play again.  The difference this time was that the next day, my foot really swelled up.  I iced and elevated, but the swelling persisted for several days.  So, I called my PT and set up a time for him to check it out.  When he examined me, pressing on the bones and joints was not painful, but when he pressed on the space between my 4th and 5th metatarsals, it was really tender.  His strong suspicion: Morton’s neuroma - an enlargement/scar tissue of the nerves that go out to the toes.  He did some massaging, ultrasound and icing and gave me the name of the foot/ankle specialist he thinks highly of.  I did a little reading about Morton’s, and some of the symptoms fit, but I didn’t think that the swelling could be accounted for.  Now, it just so happens that my main hospital is opening a new pediatric hospital and there is a new MRI machine.  The MRI techs told me that they needed to do some initial set-up scanning before they could use the machine on real patients (I do a fair amount of anesthesia for children who need MRI scans).  They said that they’d scan my foot.  Sure, I thought, why not have a scan to take to the foot/ankle guy.

I was put in a foot holder to help keep my foot still during the exam and given earplugs since the music headphones weren’t working yet.  About 10-15 min into the scan, the bottom of my foot started to hurt.  I figured that it was just pressure from the holder and tried to ignore it.  Another 15-20 min later, it was really hurting and I was feeling like I really needed to move my foot.  I was starting to wish that they would finish soon.  All told, I think that the scan took 45-50 min - longer than normal, but I knew that they were tinkering with the machine with the GE rep.  Finally, they came in and asked how I was doing.  When they told me they were finished, I told them that I was glad it was over because my foot was really hurting.  Once I got out of the holder and back to the control room, the pain was nearly gone.  The rep quickly asked me whether my foot was burning, which I realized that it had been.  In near-unison, they all said, “we think that you have a piece of metal in there.”


They showed me the pictures and pointed to an artifact spot and the distortion around it - which is indicative of metal - MRI scanners can’t “see” metals, but they can heat them up.  And in case you don’t know, the “M” stands for Magnetic.  The MRI scanner is one big, stinking magnet - strong enough to pull a pen out of your pocket or the older-generation aneurysm clips through your brain!  This must be a pretty small piece because I’ve never had any problems when I’ve been giving anesthesia.  It took having the magnets energy focused on my foot for it to be a problem.  I guess I’m glad that the magnet didn’t pull the piece through my foot and out.  I think the techs would’ve been pretty upset if I’d gotten blood on their fancy new machine.  So now, I just need to get some plain x-rays of my foot to find out exactly where this thing is and then what to do about it.

Of course, I did go play pick-up this morning.  I didn’t go all out, but I am sitting here with a cold pack wrapped around my foot while I type.  Sigh…

4 Responses to “Ya gotta be kiddin me…”

  1. Do you have any theories to explain WHAT the metal is, or HOW it got into your foot?

    If that’s what it turns out to be, it sounds like good news in a way: a purely “mechanical” problem that should respond perfectly to a “mechanical” (i.e. surgical) solution — meaning to get the stupid thing OUT of there!

    Your recovery is even farther along than mine, but I recently had a (smaller) problem with my “good” leg that totally eclipsed my fading problems from my “bad” one. (Sometimes distractions are helpful, even if they hurt!)

  2. I have a vague recollection of stepping on something (nail, maybe) as a kid, but don’t remember which foot even.
    Yes, hopefully a straightforward fix and the idea of surgery for foreign body removal seems simpler than neuroma excision, although I know from experience that some things can be a dickens to find.
    I’m anxious to have some plain films done to see what’s there.
    The good news is that I’m not very sore/swollen today, so if I have to put this off for a while, I’ll be able to manage w/out severely limiting my activity.

  3. Wow, very sorry to hear about that Ron. Better get it fixed right away so you’re all healed for ski season.

  4. I have a tiny piece of metal in the ‘good’ foot, I’ve had 2 MRI’s and it has never come out.

    Good luck!

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