First of all, thank you so much for all of your hard work on your blog and for taking the time to answer these types of emails.
My story is a frustrating one so I'll try to start from the beginning and provide as much detail as possible.
I'm a tap dancer who rehearses weekly for about 2 hours twice a week. I've been tap dancing since I was 2 years old and it is truly my passion. I've never been injured as a dancer.
This past November I attended a tap workshop in which I was dancing pretty much non stop for 6 hours straight for 2 consecutive days. By the last class of the second day I had some pain in the ball of my foot but chalked that up to normal for the amount of pounding my feet had taken, and didn't think much of it. The next day something in my left foot didn't feel right. I wouldn't say it hurt but it felt somewhat unstable. I still didn't think too much of it until the next day it down right hurt when I walked on it a certain way. I could still walk but I was limping a bit. There was also some swelling. I called and made an appointment with a sports medicine physician in my area who deals a lot with foot injuries. I also shifted to wearing only birkenstocks and sneakers at this point.
In my initial appointment, the doctor did x rays which showed no fracture and had me go up on my toes which at this point had become impossible for me. I instantly felt intense pain with this action and a grinding or buckling sensation in the big toe joint. He prodded around the bottom of my joint and ended up diagnosing me with sesamoiditis and tendinitis of the FHL. He put me in a walking boot for 4 weeks and gave me oral steroids to reduce inflammation and told me to start physical therapy when the swelling went down. I followed these instructions and did start to have improvement. My foot felt 90% better by Thanksgiving and I was feeling optimistic. At this point he had told me I could start weaning out of the boot.
I think I became overzealous and decided to spend the first weekend of December bringing my winter clothes downstairs from storage. I spent the whole day going up and down stairs in my Birks and not the boot. By the end of the day I knew something was wrong as my foot had swollen again so I put myself back in the boot and wore it throughout the holidays and scheduled a follow up with my doctor at the first of January.
At this point he recommended I wear the boot but try to wean out of it as I'd been in it for almost 4 weeks and go back for more physical therapy. I did this and the swelling did go down but I still could not walk normally. I persisted with physical therapy for 3 weeks and was able to go up on my toes again but still had issues with the toe off phase of normal walking. In PT I was able to do 3 sets of 10 reps of heel raises on my injured foot at a time, but when I'd try to walk normally I'd feel a twinge of pain in the ball of my foot between my big toe and second toe.
At home I was doing stretches for my calf muscles and hamstrings. I decided to try some stretches from ballet and did a plié in second position. Upon so doing I felt something pop between my big and second toe and later pain, and then it was swollen again. I scheduled another appointment with my doctor who continued to say this was sesamoiditis, wanted me to buy a pair of custom orthotics that would run me $260 because my insurance wouldn't cover them and wanted me to buy steel plates for my shoes. He refused to do an MRI and gave me no further instructions and told me not to use the boot anymore.
In my frustation I decided to seek a second opinion - this time, from a very highly regarded orthopedic surgeon specializing in the foot and ankle. He promptly ordered an MRI as I heard that should have been done a long time ago for proper diagnosis. He told me to continue wearing the boot until further notice. His PA called me with the results today and told me that the MRI showed significant damage to the plantar plate and at this time he was thinking surgery was going to be the best option.