I went back to the podiatrist yesterday for an orthotics check, which was good because I felt like they were doing absolutely nothing. He seemed surprised, and decided to get xrays of my feet while standing, with and without the orthotics. I am glad he did. Since my last xrays (I think back in September) apparently things have progressed significantly. That Sept xray report said no damage, the first orthopedic said no damage (and no to the cortisone shot), and the new guy said there clearly WAS damage, though I couldn't tell when he showed me. This time, it was crystal clear even to me. Upside: it's real so I don't have to feel like a wuss for not running (or walking) these last few months. Downside: he doesn't think the orthotics will help much, though he did take them back to have the arch raised more just in case it will help. He also said he'd guess I'll need the joint fused at some point, but that yeah, I could still run after that since no motion = no pain. I go for a cortisone shot next Friday.
I keep trying to compare this ankle pain to my wrists. I didn't think it was exactly the same...but now that I know it really is RA in the ankle, I guess it is, it's just that the joints function differently. My wrists used to hurt if they stayed in the same position too long (sleeping, say, or on the bike). The ankle is always worst when I first stand up. I would have real weakness in my wrists...not being able to pick up heavy books, or open doors. With the ankle, you do'nt use your toes the way you do your fingers so that strength loss isn't the same. Still, the swelling, stiffness and pain are the same. So, now I have some faith that the cortisone shot will actually help. I wish I had realized this earlier, say in September, and maybe some of this damage could have been prevented. But...at the same time, despite all my wrists have been through and the times I probably thought I would never lift a dumbbell again, they are functionally 95% normal and pain free now. SO...lesson is, relax, I will run again. Or hell, at least WALK again.
At swimming last night we did a mini indoor triathlon. Swim 1000 yards (I was second to last, not last!), spin 20 min, run (or elliptical in my case) 20 min. I make a pathetic exit from the pool at 4:18 on this video (ankle, can you tell it hurts?), though I look much stronger spinning in the middle of the video, and despite my warnings I even made an elliptical appearance at 7:30.