Today was storm riding day at Jackson.
A momentary respite from the snow and wind
Unfortunately, I was hardly able to take advantage of these epic conditions because of the excruciating lateral lower right leg pain previously experienced in Alta, UT. I thought the almost one week of rest would have fixed the issue, but this was not the case. I found that I could not ski safely on even easy terrain. Every little bump or any kind of pressure/exertion on the outside (right) turn hurt so much that I could not control my boot/ski. I focused on trying to reach the base area safely and went into the boot-fitters therefght to see if they might be able to offer any suggestions. After briefly explaining my situation and skiing setup to the boot-fitter, I decided to schedule an appointment with him tomorrow morning (his earliest opening) thinking that there might be stuff that could be done to my boot around the cuff to help alleviate the pain. I tried using some silicone shin pad protectors, as an interim solution, but they offered no relief (this was before I identified the true cause, so I guess the fact they did not work for me is not a surprise and should not be a judgment of the product’s intended use). I was/am feeling very desperate, and wasn’t sure whether to seek treatment here e.g. get cortisone shots to deal with the pain (this would be a very short-term fix and would not treat this pain in the future, such as when I am supposed to ski in Chamonix in February), call it quits and drive back to the East Coast, or what to do…
This is definitely not simple shin bang. I had initially thought it was a shin issue, but after an internet search for lateral leg pain related to skiing, I am positive it is my Peroneus longus muscle that is hurting so much. This is actually not a common muscle to be injured for skiers (or for runners, or people/athletes in general for that matter). But, this excerpt from the linked Wikipedia article explains it all:
“Taking their fixed points below, the fibularis muscles serve to steady the leg upon the foot. This is especially the case in standing upon one leg, when the tendency of the superincumbent weight is to throw the leg medialward; the fibularis longus overcomes this tendency by drawing on the lateral side of the leg.”
So this really sucks right. My leg pain is due to the very fact I ski on one leg. Having high arches exacerbates this issue : “However, due to your high arches, the bones of your feet including the cuboid tend to be in a more rigid and fixed position. Therefore, your Peroneus Longus experiences extra stress from this lost mechanical advantage because it pulls harder in an attempt to bring the medial arch closer to the ground. Over time, this excess pulling causes strain to the muscle.”
After much calling around, I have made some short-term plans:
- Wednesday 8:00 am: Appointment with boot-fitter (I made this appointment before identifying the true issue, but I still hope this might help with pain)
- Wednesday 10:00am: Appointment with physiotherapist in Jackson, WY
- Friday PM: Appointment with orthopedic specialist to perhaps get cortisone shots
This is not how I wanted to be experiencing Jackson Hole, WY.
Depending on the above, I may have to truncate this big road trip and drive back East. I’ll be even more upset if this issue prevents me from snow-shoeing or walking. I was in tears as I told this to Scott, who responded with, this could happen to anyone Wendy. I know he was trying to console me. But I said, NO, my outriggers wouldn’t have broken if I didn’t have to use them because of my accident. NO, this part of my leg would not be hurting so much and preventing me from skiing if it wasn’t because of my accident and I had to ski like this. I realize this sounds petulant, but I get very upset when something related to my SCI prevents me from just skiing one run, let alone taking advantage of amazing conditions in Jackson Hole of all places. I feel like I am not asking for much. Skiing isn’t the most important thing around by a long shot, but like I said, it seems like yet another thing I love that I cannot do.
I am having a hard time making peace with myself and physical circumstances. And to not be resentful. I have to though, right?? I can’t live a life feeling this way, feeling cheated or robbed, because there would be no joy in that whatsoever. I know pushing through (hard) things is one thing people admire about me; but I am tired. I am just tired.
My good friend George said that at least I am learning valuable information about how my body responds to skiing. This is true. I just wish I was not having to learn this information during what is supposed to be an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime trip.
The short-term steps are just that, short-term to get through this acute stage of the injury. Longer-term plans: I was just told I should consider ankle physiotherapy to stabilize/retrain this process in my leg. Apparently this is a “known thing.”