It was the usual morning routine – hardly energetic, just a few steps from the bedroom to the kitchen. Yet it was too much for my over-stressed, worn-out tendon. Pain ripped under my foot. I curled up my toes and tried to ignore it. I had a family to feed and no time to fuss over a stupid foot. Before the jug had time to boil or the toaster to pop up the toast, nausea rushed through me and my vision blurred. I sank to the floor. Try as I might to think this wasn’t serious, my body screamed otherwise.
The MRI showed an 80% thickness longitudinal tear under my foot where the tendon attaches to the bone. As though slashed longways with a knife, the poor tendon held itself together by a tenuous 20%.
Six weeks in a moon boot, numerous physio visits, months of exercises and still I couldn’t run without pain. Plus my heel was crooked, curving inwards instead of straight. I went to see a foot surgeon. He studied the MRI scan.
‘Eighty percent thickness tear; this will never heal without surgery,’ he said.
He was correct – orthopaedic research on peroneal longus tendon tears recommend surgery for longitudinal tears over 50% thickness. He described how he would cut the torn part and re-attach it further back. And then break my heel and straighten it up. I would be up and running again in a year. A year! There was no way I was having all that. It sounded barbaric!
‘What if I don’t have the surgery?’ I asked.
‘That’s certainly an option,’ the specialist said. ‘One day it will tear completely. You can wait until then, and then have the surgery.’
That’s what I chose… and prayer!
I went back to running, all the while hoping that the tendon wouldn’t snap and praying that Jesus would heal it.
Two years later I tripped down the stairs in the dark and tore a ligament in my other foot. The tiny lisfranc ligament runs across the top of the foot and holds together two of the metatarsal bones that run down to the big toe and the second toe. It’s a serious injury that needs rapid treatment to prevent arch collapse, nerve damage and debilitating osteoarthritis (which I didn’t realise at the time).
I went to the physio, bought myself a moon boot and kept hobbling 1-2 kilometres a day – to the school, to the supermarket. I had no car and no help. Every weekend when my husband was home I could rest and by each Monday the swelling and pain had subsided. By Tuesday it was as bad as before. Ten weeks went by. Now I wasn’t worried about never being able to run again; I was worried I might never be able to walk!
During my prayers, I felt the Lord reassure me that I would walk and run again but it certainly didn’t look like that in the natural. I kept praying and thanking Him for healing me, despite the minimal progress.
Finally I decided to phone a foot surgeon (not the same one because we now lived in a different country). It was November.
‘I can book you in for February,’ said the receptionist.
‘I was hoping it might be sooner,’ I said. ‘I’ve been in a moon boot for almost three months.’
‘What’s wrong?’ she asked.
‘It’s my lisfranc.’
‘Lisfranc?' Her tone changed. 'Can you come in tomorrow?’
Mention lisfranc and you jump straight to the front of the queue! I was sent for an MRI of both feet so they could be compared.
‘You are very lucky,’ The surgeon studied the scans of both my feet, comparing the damaged one to the healthy one. ‘It’s a grade two tear but the gap between the bones has not widened too much. Just tape it up every day and give it six to twelve months to heal.’
I was so relieved that all those weeks of walking on an undiagnosed lisfranc tear had not caused more damage. I looked at the scans and a thought struck me.
‘Would you be able look at the peroneal tendon in my other foot,’ I asked. ‘I have an 80% thickness longitudinal tear and I wondered if it has healed?’
The surgeon studied the scan. ‘There’s no sign of a tear there at all.’
I was amazed. For two years the pronouncement that my tendon would one day completely snap had hung over me. Now it was healed. I praised the Lord. If I had not torn my lisfranc, I would never have had the MRI of both feet and would never have had the clinical proof that He had healed the tendon that should never have healed!
All things work together for good for those who love the Lord, who are called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28