September 5, 2010

Big ouch and Big disappointment...

Ouch.  That's what I'm thinking pretty much anytime I walk these days, or am even on my feet.  Here's why...

This past summer, I rekindled a long absent relationship with running, and fell in love in a big way.  My new BFF running and I got along great for a couple months, then after a VERY painful August run, we suddenly weren't on speaking terms again.  Oh, I tried calling, writing, standing outside the window holding a radio...but running just wouldn't have it.  

Let me explain...actually, it was my right tibia that would have none of this.  And I just found out that things are a LITTLE more complicated than I had first thought...Let's recap:
  • August 4th: Went for an evening run and felt a dull pain in my right inner calf almost immediately.  I chalked it up to tight muscles, and kept going.  The pain quickly worsened until at about 1 1/2 miles it was too excruiciating to continue.  In fact, I wasn't even sure if I could hobble home the quarter mile to my house...After some googling, I diagnosed myself with shin splints, threw on an ice pack, and decided to take a few days off of running.
  • August 5th: Woke up with a stiff leg, and could barely get out of bed.  I honestly could barely put weight on my leg to walk, and iced it almost constantly, limping around when I had to.
  • August 10th: Calf had begun to feel marginally better.  I tried doing lots of extra stretches per recommendation from friends who'd had shin splints.  I decided I was ready to try a run, but the pain came back as intensely as before, and continued throughout the day leaving me with a pitiful limp.  Looks like running was absolutely the wrong choice, and the pain did not go away.
  • August 14th: Visited primary care physician, who didn't agree with my shin splints diagnosis based on location of the pain.  X-rayed leg to check for stress fracture; no fracture found.  Diagnosis: tibial muscle injury.  Treatment: ice, rest, advil.
  • August 16th-20th: Pain grew less severe, but was almost constant.  I was unable to put full weight on my right leg, and continued limping.  Having started the school year by this time, the whole "rest" portion of treatment wasn't really going well, as I am on my feet running around school all day.
  • August 30th:  Went back to primary care physician to beg for a referral to a physical therapist or the like.  He examined my leg (my tibia bone has a big bump all down it BTW), and said he would like to see an MRI of the leg to help identify the muscle injury.  Posible future treatment of physical therapy, depending on the MRI results. Scheduled my MRI.
  • September 3rd: MRI of right tibia. (Side note: I was super nervous to have an MRI, partially because I was worried my whole body would have to be in what I dubbed the "coffin" and partly because I'm a fidgeter and worried about keeping still.  It actually turned out to be the most relaxing part of my week, no matter how pathetic that soudns!  There is nothing like laying still surrounded by pillows listening to The Beatles on headphones for an hour+...)
  • September 4th: Got a call from my doctor with the results of the MRI.  Turns out they did not find a muscle injury.  They found a bone injury...bummer.  Basically it was a tibial stress fracture with no distinct line, diagnosed as a stress "injury."  On the MRI you can see an 11cm injury to the inner tibial bone, which shows up as fluid on the bone as at heals.  No running allowed for at least 5-6 weeks (on top of the 4 I had already been healing), and see the orthopedist for more conclusive answers...
You can probably imagine how I am feeling right about now...As I have a history of over-training (for that matter, over-studying, over-preparing, you get the idea...), I started this summer of running vowing not to make that mistake again.  I read books about training, selected a plan after research, and STUCK TO IT.  I took rest days and did not run 2 days in a row.  I took it easy and increased my distance SLOWLY.  In short, I did everything I was supposed to do.

Yet here I am with a sore, swollen shin, already going crazy after 5 weeks of not running, with 5 more staring me in the face.  I am not a happy girl.

I have some suspicions about what might have caused the tibia disaster of 2010, since I wasn't overtraining, the usual culprit behind this type of stress injury.   My prime suspect is the fact that I switched to motion control shoes after years of running in neutral shoes at the recommendation of my local running specialty store.  The worst part about this is that, as a new runner, I went there SPECIFICALLY because I wanted an expert opinion on which shoes work best for my feet and gait.  Maybe changing to such a dramatically different shoe wasn't the best choice...

Well, this injury obviously rules out any prospect of the 5 and 10Ks I'd been looking forward to this fall, but I am not giving up hope on Disney Princess yet.  (Partly because I already paid a ridiculous $140 registration fee...)  My half training plan is 12 weeks.  So theoretically, I could be prepared for the race without running before late November.  That's not the BEST case scenario, because it's not such a good idea to come back from an injury and jump right into a training plan, but...we'll see.

And now, it's time for more ice...

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