Mr Mouganie called in to see me this afternoon after he had developed a painful left foot while training for a triathlon. In retrospect, the pain came on soon after he experimented with a new pair of trainers incorporating Velcro straps.

On examination, the only finding was some crepitus in the line of the extensor hallucis tendon where it ran over the midtarsal joint.

Tests were unremarkable.

The diagnosis appears to be tenosynovitis. Some anti-inflammatory gel should help to resolve the matter, then Mr Mouganie will revert to trainers with the traditional laces!

There you have it, a gimpy tendon due to bad shoes. Nice one. Once I knew the cause, I’m pretty sure the pain in my foot halved straight away. In any case, it has been a week of gelling my foot in the morning and the evenings as well as wearing sneakers to work. Not a good combo when you have a shirt and trousers on; I have felt like an American movie star at an awards ceremony – bad fashion and a lot of stares. In any case, what may seem unremarkable to an orthopaedic surgeon (how boring,
nothing is broken) is remarkable to me – I can finally start running again.

My first foray back to running was last Saturday and it involved a brick session; a one hour bike ride followed by a short run.

Brick sessions are great; they simulate triathlons and get your body and mind prepared for what is indisputably the most difficult transition during the race. You never forget your first one, mine was a complete disaster.

A month before my Olympic distance race in 2009, I decided to test my legs after a bike ride. After a one hour in Richmond Park, I got off the bike to complete a two mile run. I unclipped myself as soon as I got back home from my ride, jumped off the saddle and ran out the door towards the park. My legs did not respond. It’s a difficult feeling to describe, your thighs and calves are made of stone and your knees turn to jelly. Nothing works.

So, where does the term “brick” come from? Is the “B” for bike and the “R” for run? Probably. Is it because you feel like a pile of bricks for the first 15 minutes after coming off the bike. Probably. Some people have suggested “running with your hands” as a solution (this means moving your hands back and forth vigorously when running to simulate movement like you see in cartoons). Even though this may help psychologically, it can look stupid. The only thing I find that helps is training. Only practice makes perfect. Last weekend was leaps and bounds better, merely a year into triathlon training.

Today, I have come away from my injury as a changed person. For one, don’t be a victim of fancy shoes (mine are now in a charity shop), and most importantly, injuries are a pain in the rear and not just the foot. I look forward to a pure 30 minute run today and another brick session this weekend.

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