#853 Broken toe can I compete in 4 weeks? - DOC

#853 Broken toe can I compete in 4 weeks?

I have a broken toe and I want to compete in four weeks. Is it possible? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.



Last night, I was doing a consultation with an athlete who actually broke one of her toes and her main question was, can I compete in four weeks? I have a competition in four weeks, I want to compete. Do you think I’ll be ready?

Well, I actually told her no joke, I actually said, “I’m very sorry, but my crystal ball is broken.” However, I can tell you how to figure that out because that is what I teach athletes to figure out when they do the Fast Track challenge. So, if she’d signed up for that, I would have done a specific thing in order to walk her through the process in three days to figure out how she could tell all on her own. But during that hour plus call that we did, I actually walked her through it.

The way that you think about this is really simple. I’m just going to explain her situation and maybe it’ll help you better understand yours. This isn’t a medical advice, talk to your doctor, follow your doctor’s advice.

The first thing I’ll tell you is that it was a second opinion consultation. So, the first thing is, is that the doctors that she saw didn’t give her any information that’s why she wanted to talk to me. And the questions, she had a really simple, she said, “I’ve got this competition in four weeks, I broke the toe yesterday and I can’t even walk right now.” Okay, so first of all, if you can’t walk, it seems improbable that in only a month, you will be able to compete, right? Not necessarily. So, the first thing is, it depends on the fracture.

If the fracture is in a good position, if you’re not likely to get arthritis, because of where the fracture is, and you can keep it still and calm it down very quickly, then it’s actually really probable that you could compete in four weeks. The trick is to maintain your fitness while you’re waiting during that four-week period, to actually compete. You can’t lose all your fitness and then just show up on the starting line in a month. So, the first thing is that the way that you tell whether or not you’re going to be able to compete, it’s the thing I actually teach.

There’s basically a short course that I made called Race Day Decision Making, where I show you how to walk through this process. And it’s similar to the thing I do in the fast track challenge where I actually get you to really track your pain numbers, try a couple of things to reduce the inflammation, and reduce the stress and strain on that injured piece of tissue, and then see how much you improve. And if you have a lot of improvement in only three days, then you can probably get it to calm down enough that you’re going to be able to run a lot sooner and maybe even compete in a time as short as four weeks.

I do this all the time with runners who call me for consultations. But you have to make those decisions on when it’s really safe to do the next activity, to ramp up again, to actually keep maintaining your running fitness. But you can figure it out, the way that you go about that’s really simple, the first thing you do is need to get your pain numbers. And then once you have your pain numbers, you reduce the inflammation to see how much of the pain you have is really caused by the distended tissue, the stretched nerves, all the tension around that injury.

Then if you have a lot of improvement, you know that a lot of the pain was not really from the fracture or the torn tendon or the torn ligament or whatever, it was really from all the fluids stretching the nerves. Now you have a new set of numbers. So then next, you just reduce the stress and strain on that injured piece of tissue and then you try some things out, you try some very simple activities to stress it in a way that’s really simple.

For her, I’ll give you an example. One of the things I did was she was very nervous about it because she had not been able to walk on it at all. So, I had her stand up. When she had both feet on the floor, she had no pain, it’s a good sign because they before she actually did on pain. And so then I just basically said, “Okay, are you sure your feet are really flat on the floor and you’re not tilting your broken toe away from the floor?” And she said “No.”  So, I said, “Okay, now I want you to stand flat and then while your feet are flat, I want you to twist and we look over your left shoulder.” And when you do that you basically as you twist, you tilt the feet, so you turn your right foot up and you evert it so that you’re turning your little pinky toe away from the ground, your other foot’s doing the same thing, it’s in the opposite direction.

You’re pulling your arch up, but you’re pushing the pinky toe on the outside foot down into the ground. And that didn’t hurt. I didn’t think that would hurt. But it warmed her up for the next one and that’s where you turn right and look over your shoulder. In that instance, what I did was I had her twist the other way to load that area a little bit and she had no pain. So, that alone is a good sign because it tells me that at least when she’s loading the foot very lightly, not without walking, not standing up on her toes that it’s actually not going to hurt her and that’s really important.

Then we figure out all this stuff, how to stabilize it, how to test it, how to reduce the inflammation, and then try to start adding exercises that will not mess with or injured that injured part. And that’s how you get back to competing in only four weeks when you have something like a broken toe.

If you want to learn the exact process I do that, you can get it. It’s the Fast Track challenge. You go to www.docontherun.com/fasttrack. You can sign up and I’ll see you there.