When you think of skiing, you think of a sport that demands two healthy feet in order to participate. Thursday’s cross-country skiing 10K competition set that notion completely on its heels (When you’re a Houston podiatrist, you get to use idioms like that).
Taking the gold in the event with a stunning time of 28 minutes and 17.8 seconds, Polish athlete Justyna Kowalczyk became emotional as she received her medal. “It’s something big for me because I broke my foot two weeks ago. I was fighting myself with this injury,” she explained.
Kowalczyk actually tweeted a picture of her x-ray prior to competing, sharing that she had a “multilayer break.” What that translates to in podiatrist speak is that several of the foot bones were fractured, not just one. Apparently, she took a strong pain killer right before the competition so that her foot would be numbed for three hours, allowing her to compete.
Now, I cannot say that I advocate skiing on a broken foot; I will say, however, that I admire the strength and determination Kowalczyk showed in her Olympic performance. I will also say that, while I would not tell my patients to emulate this Polish skier, I would use her as an example that a foot injury does not need to mean the end of an athletic career or even a particularly long pause. If you work with Dr. Andrew Schneider, we can find a way for you to stay in your sport of choice in some way until it is medically safe for you to return to competition at full force.