Well, the past three weeks have been quite hectic. First I was hit with some mystery foot injury. I played tennis on a Sunday evening and everything was fine when I came home after the game. But that midnight that day, I had unbearable pain on my big toe joint. I thought I might have pulled some muscle the wrong way and thought the pain would go away and sure enough the pain started subsiding on Monday and Tuesday but only it came back with a vigor on Wednesday night. It was an intense pain. I was sure that I had a fracture in my foot.
So I decided to go to the Emergency Room. Why the ER, you ask? I'll tell you why. In the US, you cannot see a doctor immediately (not even in the same week). You have to get an appointment and sure enough the earliest appointment I could get was one week away. So, I decided to go to the ER. Unless you are taken to the ER in an ambulance, the doctors there take their own sweet time in looking at you. While I was there, the doctors were discussing about their weekend in Borgata, an Atlantic City Casino. They were in no hurry to see me or anyone else waiting. As I said, its not an emergency unless you came by an ambulance.
Anyways, the doctor eventually looked at me and said I needed some X-Rays and out I went to get some and after some more waiting in (It's good they had TV in the exam rooms). The doctor looked at the X-rays and said there's no fracture and asked me if I have had Gout before. Not knowing what that meant (which he later explained as a form or arthiritis), I said no. So he prescribed me some pain killers and asked me to go see a specialist (Podiatrist).
The pain killers did their job in the next couple of days and pain has almost been nullified. So I went to the Podiatrist on Thursday and after even more waiting, he wanted to take his own set of X-Rays even though I told him that ER had already taken 3. He said he doesnt trust them. Anyways, after some more waiting, he said it could not be Gout as that involves a lot of swelling and redness - both of which I did not have. But he thinks its a mild form of arthiritis and that I am putting a lot of pressure on my big toe while running/playing - which is kinda true. I do put a lot of pressure on my big toe while walking and I almost always land on the toes. So he said he's gonna give me some special brace to wear while playing to comfort my big toe. And guess what, even with an injured toe, I played tennis and volley ball again last weekend :).
So, basically its trial and error diagnosis now. If its not that, it must be this. I guess, thats what is called Diffential Diagnosis.