At first, I thought that I had tweaked something in my right ankle when I made the switch to wearing winter boots. It happens. Big stomping boots change your gait, and I always buy winter boots slightly too large for my feet, because I always end up layering socks within a week or two of wearing them.
Time marched on, I kept limping, and I learned through trial and error that the problem was not my ankle, it was my heel. Specifically, it was the back of my heel, and it was not getting better.
Whatever: I walked less, and I was riding without stirrups anyway.
You can see where this is going, right? It didn’t get better. It’s still pretty definitively not better. I finally, grumpily, started googling, and pretty quickly made an armchair diagnosis of achilles tendinitis, pretty classically right where the achilles tendon connects to the bone of my heel.
Unsurprisingly, diagnosis did not actually change anything. In fact, things continued to get kind of worse, with the pain sharper when the tendon was expressed and a low-grade burning sometimes even when at rest.
So, for the last 10 days or so I’ve been resting even more (so many extra holiday pounds that are just not getting worked off, ugh) and icing it every night. That has helped a little bit, but do you know what uses your heel? Driving. And putting stirrups back on your saddle to get ready for a lesson.
I have a doctor’s appointment next week. Since I can still flex my ankle just fine – well, it’s painful, but mechanically sound – it’s definitely not ruptured, but there is a nagging sense in the back of my mind that it’s a partial tear. Best case, I’m still looking at quite a while of restricted activity and icing because soft tissue. Damn it.
Sometime last week, while icing my heel and reading, it finally occurred to me.
If this had happened to my horse, I would’ve had the vet out to ultrasound him a month ago. I would be icing every day, monitoring bute, working to get the inflammation down and watching every step he took with an eagle eye.
It’s one thing to vaguely and intellectually know that I treat my horse far better than I treat myself. It’s yet another thing entirely to have it so cut-and-dried in front of me. If my horse had a strain of his digital flexor tendon, I would be FREAKING OUT. My own foot? Meh. I’ll gimp around some more and after 3.5 think about icing it.
Not that I have any intentions of changing this pattern, mind you.