Metatarsalgia #10

The balancing exercises (single leg squats + single leg romanian deadlifts) have progressed much less quickly than planned because of uncooperative muscles that have demanded things like recovery time. I am very surprised by this because they are just bodyweight and I do weighted squats and deadlifts semi regularly. I guess the main difference is stabilisation.

There is little excitement to report in the foot department: it got a bit worse, it got a bit better, etc. It occurs to me that my problem seems to be different to its initial presentation. It used to be a bruised feeling across the ball of my foot, most focussed towards the 3rd-5th metatarsal heads. Now it seems more like the uncomfortable feeling that I’m standing on gravel (I feel hyper-sensitive to rough textures, like my sock), but it’s moved to my first metatarsal. I’m not sure when this happened.

I have booked another doctors appointment since progress is obviously unsatisfactory. This is the third appointment and I haven’t yet been referred to a specialist so I will push for that if they aren’t forthcoming. I have a pretty good trump card in that I have to walk 3 miles a day to get to and from my job and I can subtly suggest that maybe that’s not looking sustainable.

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Metatarsalgia #9

I think it’s #9 anyway.

The shoe change seems to have helped a bit but not as much as I hoped. The stages so far have been:

1. Ignore it (didn’t work)
2. Reduce mileage (didn’t work)
3. Stretch my calves (didn’t work)
4. Stop running altogether (didn’t work)
5. Dump the arch supportive shoes (worked a bit)
6. ?

I am hopeful this requires only a six step plan rather than a seven step plan.

I still think that attacking it from the perspective of underpronation is correct. It is noticeable when I walk around that I am subconsciously hesitant to flatten my right foot fully and instead end up balancing on the outside edge of it. I think that the fact I seem to have had a lot of minor secondary issues in my right foot as well as the metatarsalgia suggests a broad biomechanical problem, which underpronation would fit. And I have reasonably high arches anyway.

My current thinking is that I should be trying to work out how to signal to my body and mind that it is ok to let my foot flatten out a bit. Trying to do it consciously is really weird.

So the plan for the next few weeks is to hit it with lots of balancing exercises – i.e. single leg squats, single leg romanian deadlifts – and hopefully as my body gets used to flattening my foot during those it will start feeling more willing to flatten it when walking/running.

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Body used confusion. It’s super effective!

Monday: Run. Bit uncomfortable.
Tuesday: OK
Wednesday: Hmm
Thursday: This is getting uncomfortable
Friday: This is getting worse
Saturday: 20 minute walk as a pre-run warmup, felt a bit tender. Ran, felt absolutely fine. It feels better now post-run than it has at any point in the last five days. Tomorrow it will probably feel weird again.

Congrats body, you make no sense.

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Metatarsalgia #8

After initial success from changing shoes I was trying to get back to higher running frequency this week. It went… less well than planned. I ran for about 20 minutes on Monday. The first ten were a bit uncomfortable but the last ten were fine. There was some soreness in the ball of my foot about 24 hours later, not much, but now it’s Thursday and it hasn’t really dissipated, so that’s probably it until the weekend.

Maybe this was a bit optimistic, but there are still reasons to be positive. In the last few weeks:

1. I’m not icing my foot at all.
2. My intermittent PF has gone.
3. My intermittent achilles aches have gone.
4. The clicking in my ankle/achilles has gone or at least greatly reduced.
5. I’ve had no sharp pains in my foot.
6. I’ve had no weird sensations in my toes after waking up.
7. I’ve had no pain that has made me want to avoid walking or standing.
8. I can stand in the kitchen (hard floor) barefoot without getting agitated at a vague sense of discomfort

So… these might all be secondary complaints, but on paper that’s pretty good and suggests it’s moving in the right direction. The challenge at the moment is keeping my foot relaxed when it starts to hurt; my body wants to keep it rigid while walking to seemingly protect it, which I think prolongs the problems. It’s tough to override that natural defence mechanism.

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Regardless of your party affinity, Grant “I’m so rich my car even has a fridge in it” Shapps is exactly the kind of politician who erodes public trust in politics. It’s not the first time he’s been accused of things like this, and unless the Conservatives do the sensible thing and kick him out, I dare say it won’t be the last. For some reason the Conservatives in recent years seem to like filling their senior positions with huge liabilities, which might explain why they haven’t won an election in almost a quarter of a century.

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Metatarsalgia #7

Things are looking up. In the past week I’ve not had above a 1/10 on the ouch scale, and 1/10 for me means I feel like I am standing on gravel, which isn’t really uncomfortable, just strange. After dealing with this for six months it’s nice to no longer dread having to walk anywhere. I attribute the previous six months entirely to overly supportive shoes pushing me on to the outside of my foot.

Phase Two is to start upping my running mileage again. This will start next week. I’m going to aim for frequency over distance to start with.

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Thoughts on voting

I used to think that voting was pointless because nobody represented my views and because it is statistically insignificant. I still think I was right on both counts, but I missed the wider point.

Now I get older and more cynical I begin to suspect that turning young people away from voting is actually a very deliberate Conservative tactic. I think Labour too benefit from it, but less so.

As a first time voter your future is pretty bad. Your home-owning parents are probably nearing retiring age on comfortable pensions. The numbers at the moment look like you will have neither your own home nor a comfortable pension when you reach their age. Property prices have grown faster than salaries for years. Every year that goes by it becomes less likely you will own a home, and more likely that you will spend extraordinary amounts of money on rent, which prevent you saving for retirement. Politicians have accepted the ludicrous housing situation because it used to affect only a small number of people, who were quite young and who tended not to vote anyway. But house prices continually outgrowing salaries is not a sustainable situation and the number of people affected is growing. We are now at the point where most people under the age of 35 are in the same position, and we all want to see it rectified.

Labour and the Conservatives represent the status quo. They both benefit from a rigged voting system that gives them far more power than they receive in votes. They both go into hysterics when anyone tries to change the system to one that rewards parties proportionally. They are both full of scumbag career politicians who care about their own image and bank accounts and not a lot else. They are full of people from privileged backgrounds who studied PPE at Oxford and think anyone who didn’t study PPE at Oxford is some kind of imbecile. They treat you with contempt and they can’t even help it; they aren’t evil, they aren’t stupid, they are just completely switched off and nothing in their environment penalises them for it, so why not? Nothing will ever change while either of those parties holds a majority government.

Our best and only realistic chance is to keep supporting minor parties. The main parties’ vote shares are becoming more diluted due to voters’ growing dissatisfaction, and the parties’ fundamental lack of political competence and self-awareness, and we need to make sure that continues.

We have more options than ever; we have the Lib Dems, Ukip, the Greens and the SNP and Plaid if your geography permits. The suspicion that the Greens and Ukip are both pants-on-head stupid is not necessarily important right now; every single vote given to any of these parties undermines the two main parties’ dominance. If you want to vote Ukip as a protest vote, you absolutely should. If you want to vote Ukip because you genuinely agree with their policies, you absolutely should.

If you don’t know where to start I would recommend looking into the Lib Dems. You should find many of their policies to be surprisingly reasonable. They have been slaughtered in the press over tuition fees and this is unfair; they effectively swapped tuition fees for a less burdensome graduate tax.

It is not a coincidence that a press that benefits from the two party system does everything it can to cut down smaller parties. It applies to all small parties, but becomes more ferocious the more threat they present; this is especially noticeable in the Daily Mail and the Telegraph’s coverage of Ukip. Ukip are quite in line with a lot of the views pushed by both of these papers and Ukip is well supported by their readership, but both papers have been extremely critical of Ukip. It doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you consider that the newspapers exist to make money, not to have any kind of journalistic integrity or push a consistent narrative, and they have vested interests in the Conservatives. For example, Michael Gove, the Conservatives’ chief buffoon, is married to Daily Mail journalist Sarah Vine. That’s just a tiny bit of a conflict of interest. Those papers treat their readers like idiots because the readers let them.

The message here is not “if you don’t vote, you’ve got no right to complain”, which is a lazy, condescending phrase that doesn’t even make sense anyway. The message here is: Politicians want to treat you badly and are looking for reasons to do so. Don’t give them one.

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