Leigh-Ann White uses the “F” word lot. In fact it’s her favorite word and it might even find its place on her head stone some day. Don’t’ worry she’s not a potty mouth, just the opposite, Leigh-Ann is absolutely “Fabulous” and it is her one word mantra for living and helping others. Leigh-Ann is a Massage Therapist in New Glasgow. She is a believer that everyone can make modifications in their life and adapt to their challenges and discomforts. She practices what she preachers and has learned to adapt and create fitness goals for herself as she manages foot pain from a degenerative condition known as Metatarsophalangeal Joint Pain.
I have pain in my metatarsal-phalangea. It is pain in the metatarsal bones in the foot. It affects the long bones and short bones that connect into the arch of my foot. For me, my long bones are short and my short bones are long. So my joints are just slightly misaligned.
When I was about ten years old I noticed that I had a lot of callouses on my feet and I was very sensitive to walking barefoot. But when you are a kid you just go and you don’t think about having an issue with your joints. When I was in my 20s and into my mid thirties I led a very active life style. I was very involved in the fitness world. I spent a lot of time lifting in the gym and I loved cardio classes but then I started to experience a lot of pain. At the time the worst thing was that I couldn’t wear high heels. I didn’t really think about going to see a podiatrist or an orthopedic doctor until it got to the point that had to ice my feet every night. I had to stop running, I couldn’t do any cross training. I had to stop any activity that put me on the front of my feet. I couldn’t even go for a nice walk in the park. I knew that this was going to become a real challenge for my fitness and health. With my hereditary genes if I do not take care of myself I will be obese. I have a very high sensitivity to sugar even the sugar that is in a carrot so I knew that my diet was not going to be enough to keep me healthy. Then there is the psychological part of it as well that anything I did was going to be painful.
The lesson that I learned from all of this is that I had to learn to modify. Fabulous is one of my favorite words but the other word is modify. We all have to modify at some time or other in our lives especially as we get older. If we have a problem in our personal lives we find another avenue to take.
With my feet I had to stop many things that I loved. I had to stop any cardio training and I turned to weights but eventually that wasn’t working out for me either. I went to a local chiropractor and I had my feet adjusted. It was on his suggestion that I ask my doctor about metatarsalphalangea. I went to see an orthopedic surgeon. He told me that I had poorly constructed feet and that my days of heavy lifting are over. I have arthritic changes, I have hammer toes. The configuration of my feet in the last three years has gone from very normal looking to very claw like.
Now I get cortisone shots and they are working. I follow all of the rules. I have to. I am on my feet all day for my work as a massage therapist but the challenge is I still want to be active. I found modifiers. I use a lot of resistance bands. I use slower motions and the only cardio I do is on the recumbent bike.
It has been a very successful journey. For so many people it comes back to saying I can’t do, I don’t believe in this I say find a modifier and say yes I can do!