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broken foot gets back to running

A podiatrist with a broken foot gets back to running

4 Moon Boots, 2 MRIs, 2 pairs of orthotics and hours of rehab. A podiatrist with a broken foot gets back to running.

After being a podiatrist for 12 years, I broke my foot in two places, and found myself sitting in the “other” chair in a podiatrists office.

Despite years in the foot game, having pain free feet was something that even I had taken for granted. I loved that I could run 15Kms if I wanted to. Walk from home to the city when the weather was fine. My happy go lucky life was built on two healthy feet. 

And then it all came crashing down.

December, 2021. I was on my normal weekend run, somewhere between the MCG and home and pop, over I went on my ankle. Looking down, I knew this wasn’t a simple ankle sprain. My foot was twisted back underneath my leg and already the swelling was stretching out my new running socks.

Bloody hell, it was a broken foot in 2 places.

Fast forward 3 days and I’m in a moon boot sitting in the waiting room of the radiology clinic where I’ve referred so many clients. I was in a bit of a daze. Just sitting there, waiting for my MRI results.

I felt lost.

Who am I? 

A podiatrist with a broken foot who can’t even go for an easy jog? I’m not a runner anymore, that’s for sure. If I’m not a runner, and not a good podiatrist, shivers, is everything in my life a lie?

Of course they’re not rational thoughts. 

Your profession doesn’t define you. One accident isn’t the end of the world. I’ve also helped hundreds, actually it would be thousands by now, clients overcome broken bones in their feet and get back to running. 

I knew what to do.

But at that moment, that’s not what I was thinking. It took some careful questions from my podiatrist, physio and my exercise physiologist to help bring me back. They helped me identify why I needed to run, why I needed to feel like a good podiatrist, and also, what I can do to take things from my old identity and forge a path to a new one.

Cue the montage and music.

Then, finally, that day came.

Everything changed when I took off my moon boot and laced up my runners.

My moon boot (ok, I had 4 moon boots as I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to stress test them all to help my clients in the future) was a constant reminder of my injury and when I put my runners back on I felt like I was alive again.

After 7 long weeks of rehabilitation exercises and immobilisation, I was ready to walk without my big plastic boot. Sure, I was still going to be a way off actual running and my new orthotics weren’t yet ready to go, but I could shed that symbol of injured Tim for good.

And that first walk? Glorious.

The first run? I was like a baby cow trying to get my feet moving in rhythm, panting from the lack of aerobic conditioning, but I was back baby!

foot doctor gets back to running after a broken foot
Source: Giphy

My world made sense again

The wind in my hair, the ground moving quickly beneath my feet. I was running again. I was whole.

Over the months since as I continued to increase my running, working with my Exercise Physiologist and my podiatrist(s) I’ve reflected on that journey and the privilege I had to experience it as a podiatrist.

I now have a much deeper appreciation and empathy for my clients who come into my Pascoe Vale podiatry clinic asking me for help. In the past I took this for granted. I was guilty of treating my clients’ injury, only paying lip service to them as a person and how they might feel defined by what they can or cannot do right now. 

Not any more.

If you’re injured, you’re more than your injury. 

And when you need help you need more than just a podiatrist (or doctor, physio, surgeon) who understands your injury. You need someone who understands you. Who gives you the time, the space and asks the questions that forge your path back to being the you YOU want to be.

I’ve made that commitment to my clients, and to my team to mentor, support and coach our way to help each other provide the highest quality of care to you.

If that sounds like something you would be interested in, you can book in online with me or any of our podiatrists, physiotherapists and exercise physiologists at our clinics here.

About the author

tim mulholland podiatrist melbourne and pascoe vale

Podiatrist Tim Mulholland has spent years helping others overcome their foot and ankle injuries consulting along side his Pascoe Vale Physiotherapy and Pascoe Vale Exercise Physiology colleagues.

Getting back to running to live out his identity of a runner was a goal he developed with his colleagues to scaffold his treatment plan around. What goal will you set for yourself?