Orthopaedics and Podiatry - Patterns of Trust

_You must therefore be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn to the right or to the left. You must follow exactly the path that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you are to possess. (Deuteronomy 5:32–33 NRSV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5–6 NASB)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. (Proverbs 3:5–6 The Message)_

It is said that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Geometry tells us clearly that this is true. So does a case of severe hallux valgus, a lateral angulation of the great toe that also may be accompanied by a bunion. Underneath and slightly behind the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint that connects the great toe to the foot are two small bones about the size of white pea beans. Called sesamoids, they are embedded in the tendon of the flexor hallucis brevis (FHB) muscle. Their upper surfaces articulate with facets on the underside of the distal first metatarsal as a way to help the MTP joint function optimally.

The sesamoids and FHB tendon work just fine when the great toe is aligned straight with the foot in the typical anatomical arrangement. However, when the toe points outward in hallux valgus, an angle is created between the foot where the FHB muscle is and the great toe where the FHB tendon inserts. The greater the angle, the more the sesamoids are dislocated from their normal location and the greater the discomfort from this anatomical variation, not to mention the compounded pain from a resulting bunion. This makes sense, though, because the tendon simply follows the rule that the shortest distance between two points (the muscle and the bone, in this case) is a straight line. (You can see this result, if you wish, on the x-ray located here: http://www.wheelessonline.com/image9/hv2.) Understand that the problem originates not from the tendon or the sesamoids, but from the crooked toe. Thus, surgical realignment may be a viable solution.

There is a similar pattern in our life following Jesus. When our spiritual life has hallux valgus, the pain increases. This is God ensuring that His Word and His path for us remain straight; He is the flexor hallucis brevis taking the shortest distance between two points. Just like that toe, we experience pain, dysfunction, and other signs and symptoms of pathology. Understand that it isn’t God’s Word that has become crooked; it is our approach to life that’s out of whack and off the track. He never promises that all of our problems will go away, but if we allow God to realign us to His straight path, we will find that pain is reduced, function is restored, and life generally seems to work better.

- Jeff Russell

E-KardíaGram: Sports Performance Edition is produced by The Kardía Foundation in association with Athletes in Action Sports Performance © 2019 The Kardía Foundation

We connect the Christian faith and healthcare, equipping Christian healthcare workers to integrate their faith and practice. www.kardia.org

Contact: sportsperformance@athletesinaction.org This electronic publication may be forwarded in its original format with proper credit given. Written by Jeffrey A. Russell, PhD, ATC

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