I’ve been MIA for the last several weeks (months?), and I have only one word for y’all: Bunion.

It’s an ugly ridiculous word, and I hate saying it out loud. In fact, I don’t say it out loud if I can help it. Well, except for teasing the children by saying, in my best National Lampoon’s old lady voice, “I’ll give you a quarter if you rub my BUNION.” For some reason, this drives my husband crazy — and not in the ‘I love you so much’ way. More like the ‘I can’t believe I married this weirdo’ way.

I’ve been having trouble with the big toe on my right foot for a long while, but since it comes and goes, and I’m not a big fan of doctor’s appointments — and the internet is a crazy tangle of strange medical conditions written up in a way that seems to intentionally evoke fear, depression, and extreme disgust — I’ve mostly ignored it. Rest seems to help it, so whenever it’s become too excruciating, I take a break from whatever exercise seems to exacerbate it the most.

A few weeks ago, though, I had a particularly painful flare-up, and so I dove into the murky internet waters to try to fish out a cause (and more importantly, a solution). The search gods must have been smiling (more likely, snorting madly into their  heavenly cups a’ joe), because I chose just the right phrasing for my search query. I ended on a page that described exactly what was going on with my toe.

Great! Only one little problem: They referred to my problem as a bunion. Bunions are for old ladies. I had never bothered, in my impressionable youth, to figure out exactly what a bunion was because I didn’t want to know the truth. In my mind, it had to be some alien-like growth that took over one’s foot once you hit the magical age of 79.

I’d like a cooler name for my toe. Something like, Toe that Took the Road Less Travelled, or Toe of a Different Bent. Bunion is musty and rhymes with onion.

The real issue, though, is that I have a race — a muddy, intense, insane race — in March, and I need to be ready. That’s hard to do with Toe of a Different Bent driving me insane. So, in order to get back on the right path, I have to wear a toe splint at night to straighten my toe (yes, I’m an individuality squashing fascist), wear roomy shoes (probably why I prefer to be barefoot), and ice my foot after working out.

Truth is, ‘bunion’ and ‘toe of a different bent’ sound funny, and the issue seems minor, but it’s actually very painful, and can cause issues farther up my leg (I already have a fair amount of knee pain from the compensating). So, I have to take Ol’ Wayward Toe seriously if I’m going to stay active and competitive.

What about you? What seemingly minor physical complaints have nearly (or completely) derailed your fitness goals? Bonus points if you share original nicknames for your conditions.