The Game is A Foot

Ah, knitters. Here I sit, with an ice pack on my foot, thinking about how I’ve always said that I thought I would sort of enjoy a minor injury that necessitated sitting around, resting and knitting.  It turns out that while I was sort of right, and I do like being admonished to sit and knit, I should have been a little more specific about the timing.  My foot started to hurt last week after a ride, and then over the course of the retreat became really sore.  I was successfully ignoring it (despite the rather embarrassing limp) so lovely was the company and the work, that I only realized how much it was bothering me on the flight home, when there was no vegetarian meals left on the flight, I’d seen all the movies, and the light over my seat wouldn’t work … and I burst into tears – right there on the plane.  Neither of those things are exactly worth a breakdown, and I’m really, really not the crying in public type, and it was then that I I realized that the foot was really wearing me down.   I saw a Doctor yesterday, and there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that it’s a simple case of tendinitis, probably caused by some overuse, and it will get better.  The bad news is that the treatment is ice, elevation, some anti-inflammatories, and rest. Rest isn’t exactly easy to come by – five weeks out from the rally like we are, and I’m not really the “rest” type anyway.   As crazy as it’s making me, I’ve honoured my foot’s rather ill timed request for a rest yesterday and today – but tomorrow I have a 114km ride that I just can’t miss.  We’ll see how it goes.  I can bail if it’s really hurting, and live to fight another day.  I’m hoping that really, really taking it easy in between rides will mean that the riding isn’t too much of an insult – but in any case, it’s not a life (or rally) threatening thing – just really, really freakin’ annoying.

On the other hand, the good news about being asked to sit and knit a little is that it gives me a running shot at beating the little person inside my Sister-in-law Katie to the finish line.

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I think it’s pretty clear that I don’t have much time left.  Only that kid knows how much time I have for sure, but right now, every time I look at her, something in me screams KNIT. KNIT NOW.  So I am.

intheround 2015-06-19

I’ve got all the stitches picked up around their blanket, and I’m about six (really long) rows into the border.  Tonight is for knitting with my little ice pack, and we’ll see how much progress can be made.  (KNIT. KNIT NOW.)

If I can’t make good headway on the riding part of the Rally, I can at least do my part with the Karmic Balancing gifts – so stand by to see those up on the blog over the weekend. Right this minute, I’m going to KNIT NOW.

97 thoughts on “The Game is A Foot

  1. Wow! Knit! Knit for all you are worth! (Beautiful blanket by the way). Sorry about the foot, but listen to your doctor. I am not a bike rider, but I did walk a 5k with two broken toes; so I figure I know something about stubbornness. You really will do more harm than good if you push it. I will keep you in my prayers, if you don’t mind, and send positive energy your way.
    Good Luck to your sister in law, I hope her delivery is safe and the baby healthy.

  2. I got a large project finished when I fell, twisted my knee, and spent hours every day knitting. It’s really not my recommended method, though.

    We’ve all got people around to scold us when we overdo and aggravate an injury. But you’ve got *hundreds.* Watch yourself.

  3. Please listen to your doctor. Tendons heal at the pace they heal (always slower than you want) and heal MUCH slower if you make demands on them before they’re ready. If it hurts, they’re not ready. The rest of your summer will be much happier if you give a tendon the time it needs to get over its irritation with the universe and quit hurting.

    • This. As someone whose inclination is always to push through the pain, I have learned the hard way (and more than once, because I guess I wanted a significant sample size) that tendinitis really, really doesn’t like to be pushed. You can only wait it out.

    • Take it from someone who still suffers pain and new injuries from an injury I sustained 31 years ago and didn’t properly take care of: do every single thing your doctor tells you, and stay off that tendon as much as possible, and then stay off it some more.

      Blankie is beautiful!

  4. Hope the rest is good for both healing and knitting. I know the feeling of wanting to press on, I stayed in martial arts classes with broken toes and a badly bruised foot. KNIT ON!!

  5. Perhaps discretion is the better part of valour also in view of the bike ride. Grit and determination are all very well during the rally, but perhaps in the run-up to it some wisdom is in order. Don’t do the long ride if you have to give your foot a long pep talk; it won’t be worth it, and you don’t want the whole blog to be saying “We told you so.” Not that we would, of course. And the foot thing could be a Karmic Balancing Gift to you to get the blanket done before the pregnancy is done.

  6. Hope the foot heals soon, rest, elevation and ARNICA cream gently rubbed in 2 or 3 times a day, it is awesome. My son had a skateboard injury that was thought to be a broken ankle , but was just a bad sprain, Arnica had it healed in no time.

  7. I second the Arnica but be warned that it will give you a false sense of security that all is well. The bike race will go on, and the Blog has faith that you will cross the finish line, so feet up and knit on :>)

  8. Making good progress with the blanket and just in time. Sorry to hear about the foot. Does anyone with the ride have kinesiology tape? It helps your tendon heal plus take some pressure off of it. You might want to sleep with feet elevated. If you must bike this weekend, I recommend you do it in a hiking boot. One that protects your whole foot. Yup it is going to feel unusual but in the end your foot will be happier. Don’t take it off until you can site down and put your foot up. Also if you do go out or overdo, come back and lie on the floor and put your feet up on the wall for 20 minutes. This will help with the swelling.

    Sending you good vibes for foot, knitting, biking, and life in general. Some times the universe is telling us we need to slow down a bit and we are not always perfect.

  9. Do they make ankle braces like they do wrist braces? A wrist brace always significantly helps to get my tendinitis under control (not carpal tunnel but similar, and chronic). Keeping it not moving at least a major part of every day is really helpful and can make the difference between healing in a few days vs. in a few weeks. Good luck!

    • They definitely make ankle braces. My wife has to wear one every time she’s going to be on her feet most of the day, thanks to a bad sprain several years ago that never completely recovered. We get ours at the pharmacy, in the section where they keep the Ace bandages and so on.

  10. Sending good wishes for quick healing. I found I could do my spin classes while I had plantar fascitiis pretty well. Not exactly the same, but I’m guessing any positive tales are helpful right now. Now stop reading this and go knit!

  11. oh dear, dear Harlotte, Do you want to ride the rally or the 114 km. ride tomorrow? The choice is yours; it is the choice before you. Heroics are for finishing baby blankets! KNIT. KNIT NOW (and tomorrow!).

  12. Well, you’ve had enough unsolicited medical advice, so I’ll just say, Good Luck and Godspeed, with knitting AND biking!

  13. Ouch! I agree with the asrnica – I broke a toe last weekend and with lots and lots of arnica and ice managed to limp to work. Not looking forward to 600+ miles of driving next week, though!
    The blanket is lovely; looking forward to finished pics.

  14. Too funny. I sprained my ankle on Monday and have been trying to rest and knit ever since, but responsibilities with my two little kids interfere a bit. Also, I am knitting for a baby that already arrived, and the yarn for the Dale of Norway sweater that I ordered arrived the day after I sprained my ankle (while I was in emergency). Of course, I hobbled out to get it. 😉 Anyway, all the best with your recovery, and the lovely blanket! I’m off to get some ice.

  15. Ack! I am so sorry about your foot! But seriously, take it easy, especially if you want to do the bike rally in 5 weeks. The problem with tendonitis is that it can be really hard to get rid of if you don’t seriously stop and rest until it is gone. Completely gone. It’s better to skip the training rides and heal than to push yourself and maybe do some serious damage.

    How do I know? Well, about 2 weeks ago I gave myself tendonitis in my left thumb. I had done a couple of marathon knitting sessions in an attempt to finish the Nuvem shawl that I’ve been knitting someone as a gift, and ignored my thumb when it started to hurt. It seemed to me I was nearly done (when I reality I had 10+ hours of knitting left), and I decided to just power through until I finished the darn thing. Big mistake. HUGE. I finished it alright, but now I am effectively crippled. I can’t pick up something as light as a coffee cup, turn a door knob with my left hand, or (and this is really embarrassing), button my jeans. And I CAN’T KNIT. At ALL!

    I’ve been in a brace for a week, alternating heat and ice 2x – 3x a day, been on a steady diet of ibuprofen, and I still can’t knit. I tried 20 minutes yesterday and woke up with my thumb on fire.

    So take it easy. If you feel even a twinge during your training ride – stop. Hope you feel better soon!

    • I have the same problem with my right thumb and found that active release done by a qualified chitoptactor works wonders. Go to to find a provider in your area. It hurts like heck while being done but feels oh so good after.

  16. As a fellow cyclist, if you ride before you are healed, you will only set yourself farther behind. Rest, rest, rest ! Even after 2 weeks off the bike you will be OK. Your muscles will have time to recuperate and you will come back stronger than ever.

  17. Oh my gosh this is just toooo kosmic! I had my x-Ray this morning. Knitted in the waiting room, knitted in the exam room, talked about knitting with tech (“I’m never bored”), and am now elevating and icing. Interrupted knitting to read blog, and found life imitating life.
    Here’s to ice and to you, Steph. And beer.

  18. Hi! I am a long time lover of reading your blog. I noticed there are a lot kf people piping in about your tendonitis, and I just needed to add…. I’m a physiotherapist down here in Aus, and depending on what tendon you have your tendinopathy in rest and ice are probably not the best ways to get it to heal. All of the research we have from the last ten years shows that tendinopathies aren’t really inflammatory in nature the way a muscle tear is. Tendons are made up of collagen, proteoglycans and glycoproteins. These are really big words that tell us there aren’t many blood vessels or nerves that penetrate deep into the tissue of our tend o ns, so to stimulate GOOD healing in the tendon we need the right kind of forces travelling through there to stimulate the right healing to happen, because all the little rebuilder cells can’t get in via blood the way they normally would. If we don’t give it a little stress, the fibres heal in a big knot, li, e a massive jumble of wool. If we do give it the right stresses, it heals like a beautiful skein of yarn, twisted and lined up and waiting to be knit up. Please, please, please find it somewhere in your budget or your healthcare system or whatever you have up there in canada to go to a good, evidence based current physiotherapist/physical therapist. I absolutely love what you are doing for your bike rally. I think its amazing. I would be devastated if you missed it because of slightly out of date advice from you GP. If you go and find a physio, I can guarantee you’ll get back to pain free cycling/walking/living faster and better, and I will also pledge to donate to your cause. PLEASE. I see too many chronic tendinopathy patients who were just given out of date advice in the clinic. Thats my two cents worth. I hope I haven’t come across as preachy, but miseducation can lead to pr ok blems down the track. I admire what you are doing so much. I’d hate for you to be knocked out by this. Sending you best wishes from the southern hemisphere… Jen.

    • And from another physiotherapist, this one down here in New Zealand, my question with this sort of injury is why did it happen? If it is from the bike perhaps the fit needs a tweak? A tiny adjustment in seat height or forefoot angle on the pedal can make a huge difference to loading. So can core strengthening, especially the gluts, but this close to the rally that is off the help list.
      Never let an injury go by without letting it teach us what needs to be done to reduce the risk of it happening again.

    • thank you so much for this advice – having had tendonitis on and off in the last decade I found that mild, controlled stretching gives the best and fastest recovery (in addition to the icing).

  19. Steph, find someone who can kinesiotape your foot. It’s the colorful tape you would have started to see in the Olympics. It can work WONDERS for tendinitis alongside any other therapies that you are doing. I’m an LMP and use it on myself in conjunction with anything else I am doing. It can dramatically cut down your pain levels while you rest and heal. It will also likely speed up your recovery time as long as you aren’t stupid and overuse it while the tape is on.

  20. Ohhhhh. Please do exactly what the doctor says and give the ankle lots of rest. I developed Achilles tendonitis last year after a vacation where I walked way more than usual, and even though I went to therapy, I wasn’t very good about following directions. A seriously bad decision – the tendonitis reared its ugly head again this winter, as soon as it got cold (Maryland cold, not Canada cold, even), and I ended up having to have surgery to repair the tendon because it started to calcify. Tendon surgery = 6 weeks off your foot. No. Fun. At. All. Rest. Rest. Rest. Everyone will still support you even if you must sit out the next few weeks (or even the race itself). Rest, for the love of wool, REST!!!!

  21. You are a smart person. Please don’t do a dumb thing. Your body is calling the shots right now and it’s telling you it needs rest and time to heal. Don’t try to argue with it. You will lose. Listen to your doctor and stay put.

  22. Oh, honey, good luck with beating that baby to the main event!!! Are they sure it’s not twins? I’m sorry to hear about your injury, but glad it gives you an excuse to sit and KNIT 🙂

  23. So sorry to hear about the tendonitis. My daughter just got over a tendonitis foot injury – by wearing a boot for a month (which effectively immobilized the foot so it could really rest and heal), followed by a bit of physical therapy (it was called manual therapy, and released the bad juju in the foot, leg, and hip – and was amazing). She also had a couple chiropractic adjustments. Basically we threw the kitchen sink at it so she could be ready for a dance recital, which I am happy to report she is. Good luck to you!

  24. The race is on – will it be baby or blanket.
    I can’t wait to see who wins this one.
    My money is on blanket . . . knit knit knit . . .

  25. As a sufferer of chronic, low-grade tendonitis (runner):
    1: see physical therapist and do stretches religiously.
    2: kinetic tape (as mentioned by Kyle ) when moving will do wonders.
    3: it surprise me that you got tendonitis from cycling. Every time mine flairs up, it is suggested I take up cycling instead, b/c low impact.

    • yep, the low impact is correct but cyclists are well known for having tight calf muscles since the leg is never fully extended and the motion repetitive. THe tight muscles pull on the tendon and thus lead to tendonitis.

  26. You are too smart to do anything other than respect the need for your body to totally heal before you use that foot. Learn from the experience of others who have done it all wrong. Any injury you don’t give due healing time will really haunt you as you get older. And it’s really not fun. So put your ego aside and do right by your body.

  27. I feel you pain trying to ride. I have been riding with a tail bone that I am sure I broke, over a year ago. Fell done 10 of 15 basement stairs. Annoying as all get out. Fell better! Knit on.

  28. Good Lord!! That baby is likely to arrive any time. Good luck with that lovely blanket. I watched you limp (only periodically) at the retreat and you are a willful person. I would not presume to tell you what to do about the foot. (Well….I would but it would not be helpful) I’m so sorry about the tears on the plane but perhaps you needed those tears. Take care of yourself the best way you know how. My thoughts are with you.
    See you in April!

  29. Do not push that tendonitis! Seriously. If you do you’ll damage yourself even more. Tendons take a very long time to heal, even more than broken bones; and they hold your bones together. Damage them badly enough and they will not recover at all.

  30. I have been a long time admirer of your beautiful baby blankets, and was wondering if you can suggest a particular book or resource with the different stitch types suggested for each section? I want to be able to make one unique to the recipient as you do, rather than something stock. Any advice is appreciated! And what teeny tiny sized needles are you using? Worth it for a labour of love, but wow are those small!

    • I winced at this advice … not that I know anything of the medicinal properties of turmeric but ….. please don’t take the turmeric anywhere near the blankie !!!

  31. Dude…you need to listen to the doctor and seriously take it easy. I ignored my pain for a long time and now I am in a walking boot/cast for 6 weeks. You don’t want to be kept off of your bike longer than necessary. And why all of the sudden am I using the word “dude”?

    Enjoy the extra knitting time!

  32. Just sending healing thoughts for a speedy recovery for you and a gental delivery for the lovely mother to be and baby. Good health and love to all.

  33. I’ve always thought about wishing for one of those minor injury/illness things so I could get time to sit down. But I am too afraid to actually make the wish. Sure as the world someone else’s definition of “minor” would not match mine. Feel better soon

  34. Have you tried using KT tape (or some other kind of kinesiology tape)? I’ve been able to continue to work out through injuries with it. It provides stability. You can get it at a sports store, certainly at a running store, and probably at a bike shop. I recommend the pro version-it’s more durable than the cotton one and will stand up to sweat better. I totally understand how important those last long rides (and runs) are before an event, and how hard it is to rest.

  35. I’m with the others who say to get to a good physiotherapist. I’m going to one now for a hip flexor injury and she’s using ultrasound and interferential modalities to heal it and I’ve started gentle stretches. She healed a whiplash injury and both of my rotator cuffs in the past using the same modalites (plus stretches and strengthening exercises). She’s worth every penny (well, dollar!).

  36. Sometimes it’s best to listen to our bodies. In your case, it’s saying “rest and KNIT NOW”. Feel better soon!

  37. I have major tenosynovitus in both hands at the moment, (using an iPad for 15mins is a major improvement).
    I’m not able to knit, sew, craft, bake, garden use a computer or work.. It’s awful, so sore!!!

    I’ve had cortisone injections , and expect to need more, plus physio, and seem attached to ta bag of frozen peas.. I notice I’m following all the comments here, but it seems to be taking an age to heal, ( have been off work since 12 May.)

    How long have others taken to recover?

  38. My risk-averse, safety Susie self is saying “Don’t risk aggravating your foot with a crazy long bike ride!” For whatever reason, Karma is saying slow down. And like Oprah always warned, if you don’t listen to Karma’s whisper, she’ll send a screaming typhoon your way! (paraphrasing Oprah a little, but you get the idea!)

  39. Dear Stephanie, please take your doctor’s advice! Having suffered through 12 months of plantar fasciitis with complications then fracturing a tiny bone in the same foot (required 5 months in a walking boot-went to Europe anyway…), I can honestly say a little time off will do you a world of good. I teach so staying off my feet isn’t an option. You really don’t want further damage. Knit (and blog) the time away!

  40. Be careful, Stephanie. I was diagnosed with patellar tendonitis a couple months ago, and mainly rested, but kept trying to go back to yoga and walking when I couldn’t handle the rest anymore. The result being that I am now two months after diagnosis, and have finally learned that REST means not just LESS than normal activity, but total REST of the affected body part.

    • So true. Good advice. It’s really, really hard to truly rest all or some of our bodies. Pain relief meds. help us rest, but fool us into thinking we’re good-to-go.

  41. Not that I want to be running around telling you what to do, but I would strongly encourage you to make up some bone broth and consume it on a really, really regular basis. It’s really, really good at helping bones and ligaments and tendons and GI tracts heal (to name a few). And heal I hope, fast and thorough!!
    (In order for me to post this comment, I had to touch on the “Foot” icon. Seriously. I couldn’t make that up!)

  42. Seconding the comments from the two physiotherapists, and to make it easy: Karen Whitehorn is a seriously wonderful person and superb physiotherapist. No ulterior interest – my mom has gone to her and I’ve seen her at work. I didn’t know she specializes in sports injuries, but it turns out she does! She’s on Broadview just south of the Danforth.

  43. Could you see a physiotherapist or physical therapist? A little acupuncture or ultrasound might help things along.

  44. Good advice in other comments about your foot. We all try to do too much for an injury. You have to think like a dog. When their foot hurts, they don’t use it. However, on another note, it CAN’T be very long until that baby comes popping out. Looks like it’s already dropped. Knit, knit fast.

  45. It sounds like your foot got the memo about Not Doing The Race this year, but not the update. Hope it heals soon and all the entirely conflicting advice resolves into a solution. 🙂

  46. I know your pain, Steph. I also had the same affliction, and I hate to be a killjoy, but my doc told me a healing time of 4-6 weeks. Luckily, it was only 2 weeks, but I wasn’t training for a major bike ride. Maybe if you wrap your foot, that could help stabilize the offending joint while you train? The collective “we” are pulling for you!

  47. Rest is sooo much harder than it sounds, but it’s a real investment that pays back.
    Best wishes for a .. not so much a speedy recovery, but a FULL recovery, however long that takes.

  48. I agree with the advice from those in the physiotherapy field as to seeking a second opinion.

    However, I also agree with those folks that counsel “COMPLETE REST” (which does not include long bike rides). My doc explained it as “Can you do this…or do I need to put you on crutches” (bad quadricep strain).

    Injuries need TIME to heal…as in weeks, not days. This isn’t a television show with solutions in 30 minutes to an hour.

  49. So sorry for your injury! Something like tendonitis should not be ignored! All this week I will be thinking positive thoughts about that blanket and your foot too!

  50. I’m only going to repeat what many people have said – KEEP OFF THAT FOOT. Sorry about the shout, but you need to know that tendinitis will not get better if you don’t do as you’re told – there, I’ve said my bit. Enjoy your knitting, watch some nonsense/good stuff on TV, which will make those endless rows just speed by.

  51. I feel and twisted my right ankle about 2 weeks ago. Iced it, elevated it, got an Ace bandage. All was going well until I reinjured it. Foot is no longer purple but still a bit tender and swollen. So please, listen to everyone who is telling you to take it easy and get some PT.
    On the other hand that, blanket is beautiful and so is Katie, although I’m sure that she doesn’t feel so.

  52. What a whirlwind week. And no posts this weekend which means….
    you did your ride and it did you in-which may involve more medical intervention in a stronger form ,other than someone saying in a loud voice, ” I said sit still!”, which in turn may loosen those tight muscles as well as your stitches,
    a new bundle of loveliness arrived early and you’re bonding (could be the baby, could be a yarn order, either require intense bonding)
    Or in your world, all of the above and some extra

    • In my case, my computer posting before my entry was complete.
      You just knit on the blanket, packing big love into every stitch, let Joe change out your ice pack and pamper you and we will all send healing thoughts your way.

  53. Your sister in law looks like she’s expecting twins or ready to explode. However, I know enough that the explosion is not really happening. It would no be unheard of for a baby to hide. i have no idea where they go though.

    Sorry to hear about your injury. Listen to the doctor as everyone has said. Those of us who toughed it out know the doctor was right, we just needed to have our way. Some of us now have permanent issues for our efforts in stubborn.

    Love the blanket. I can’t wait to see the border and the whole thing finished. As someone with 2 baby showers next month and a carnival to oversee in addition to 2 jobs, I’m looking for quick and easy baby projects. I don’ t see me crocheting another ring stacking toy even if I am enamored with the new animals. See Crochet World for the jungle animals a year and a half ago and 2 months ago for the zoo animals. Cute overload.

    I’m thinking a baby surprise jacket for the first shower, the weekend before the carnival. For the one the weekend after the carnival I’m hoping for a whole layette. I doubt it though. Maybe 2 bsj could fly off the needles……

  54. I unfortunately broke my right foot 2 weeks ago. It has given me more knitting time, but it’s not as relaxing as one would hope for, especially when you are feeling un-useful since you can barely do anything to take care of the house or DD who is turning 3 on Fri. I hope you heal quickly! Sorry the plane flight home had so many uncomfortable factors. (sjn821 on Rav).

  55. I am a runner and have been wrestling with tendonitis for months. Do some stretches and alternate heat with the ice. Sometimes heat makes it feel better. I am still running of course so I won’t tell you not to bike, but just notice if it complains more loudly and adjust your schedule accordingly. And BTW, the baby blanket is going to be beautiful. Better get knitting. 😉

  56. We sound like a flock of mother hens in here, fussing over a chick.

    You have to know that pig-he…..determined Stephanie will do exactly as she darn well pleases. Poor Joe……>:-)

  57. Hi Stephanie, Lurker here for many years, and I have enjoyed your blog immensely. My first time posting. I just wanted to maybe offer a possible alternative to an ankle brace if you were considering. I work at a computer too many hours a day and suffer from tendonitis as well. Ask your doctor about kinesthesiology tape. It did wonders for me. Keep doing all the wonderful things you do!!!!

  58. I whole-heartedly support the calls for using a brace to support your foot/ankle. I absolutely love the Mueller brand braces with the spiral steel side supports. I use those religiously come winter for my knee and ankle when they start hurting like heck because I didn’t get them looked at properly when I injured them in high school. I’d definitely suggest having a layer of light cloth under them, just to wick away sweat if you have to wear them for any extended length of time, though.

  59. Try Voltaren gel on the affected area – it’s like ibuprofen through your skin. I also like Aspercreme, same idea but Aspirin.

  60. What a lot of medical advice! It amazes me how baffling and overwhelming well-meaning advice can be – I had a similar experience when I had severe, stress-induced Eczema and even complete strangers would walk up to me in the street and tell me what I should/shouldn’t be doing. Wishing you a speedy and effective recovery.

  61. I also thought that a minor injury not affecting my hands would be good since I would then be forced to sit and I could have all the knitting time I wanted. I broke a bone in my foot in March and while the meals have been cooked and the house has been vacuumed, I am more than ready to be off the couch.
    I almost think that I enjoyed knitting more when it was something that I did when my work was done, instead of all day long.

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