Well, I wasn’t kidding about wiggling my big toe. What follows is a short video of one of my latest physical therapy exercises: toe scrunches. As you will see, if you choose to watch a video of my feet (there is a cat drinking wine in the background!), I can move and flex the toes on my left foot just fine. I start with that foot.
The toes on my right foot, the second of the two feet in this video, do not work quite so well. I can barely flex them enough to pick up this tiny Coors Light towel that came into my life at a point in time that I can no longer place.
All of this is deeply disconcerting, and I have almost cried, twice, in the past day about this. I fully understand that I am a grown-ass man.
I have been doing toe scrunch exercises for years, three times a week after various workouts. I have done these exercises in the interest of strengthening a variety of foot and ankle tendons, not the least of which have been my posterior tibial tendons, which have given me some trouble in the past.
Not being able to do these simple exercises is really upsetting, because it is very disorienting for me to look at my foot, to tell my brain to tell my toes to move, and to have my toes not really be able to move.
It also speaks to one of the stranger emotions that I am feeling at this point post-surgery: fear. Prior to my surgery, I was in daily pain. Walking down stairs was painful and, as a natural result, anxiety-inducing, because of the pain. Surgery was the only option to improve the quality of my life and my overall ability to walk.
Now that the surgery is over, and I am six weeks into my rehab, I cannot help but fear that this is all there is. No more mile repeats, no more tempo runs, no more casual long distance journeys. Instead, a repaired foot that, while better than it was a few months back, might never ever be the same as it once was.
I don’t know how to feel what I am feeling about that.