…and I was doing so well with my training too!
I was up to jogging/running for about 20 minutes without feeling like I was dying or having to take a break. I had a renewed sense of energy. I was feeling great.
And, then I broke.
Last Monday I did my morning training before showering and getting ready for work – as I had done for the weeks prior to that. When I got to work, I noticed a tightness and “ache” in my right ankle. I shrugged it off. Runners have these things happen. It’s got to be normal. Maybe I just tweaked something. As of that moment, I figured I’d see about foregoing my run the following day if it was still bothering me.
I didn’t make it to the end of the day.
By lunchtime I was walking very gingerly on my right foot. Every step I took felt increasingly more painful. I was quite content that the majority of my work focuses on my being in a secretary chair, with wheels. For the most part, I could confine myself to my workspace and avoid having to get up for much if I could conveniently wheel back and forth between my computer and my filing area (my cubicle is probably 5′ x 5′ – so it’s big enough that I generally have what I need at hand anyway).
When the clock clicked 5:00 and it was time to go, it took all of my strength and pain threshold to get to my car and drive home.
This is where it gets interesting. You see, I’m a klutz. I’ve been a klutz ever since I was a kid. When I switched primary care physicians and accumulated my history of medical records for the transfer, my new doctor even commented on my various ER visits and general clumsiness. With that said, I of course had the AirCast walking boot that I had to use when I sprained my ankle 5 years ago. It was hanging out in that general closet of miscellaneous stuff that you hang onto because you know the moment you get rid of it you’ll actually need it.
Presuming that I had just sprained my ankle, and opting to: (a) not go to the doctor to have them tell me this; and (b) save myself the aggravation of crutches, I used the boot for the next few days. My philosophy was, of course, that if I could walk in it with the boot that it would eventually feel better.
Yeah. There’s apparently a really good reason why I’m not an M.D. or a D.O. or any of those other specialties that require years of medical school. Other than my general queasiness over 90% of what the medical profession has to deal with (blood, guts, etc.) I also realized that self-diagnosing myself with a simple sprain wasn’t going to suffice. As last week progressed, my ankle wasn’t getting much better.
I finally broke down and went to see an orthopedic doctor about it.
I “think” I scored some brownie points (and definitely saved some money) by providing my own boot – albeit the same boot I had actually gotten from that very same office 5 years ago. They (being the office staff when reviewing my paperwork, as well as the doctor during his evaluation) asked who had referred me. This is where I lost those very brownie points I had earned with the boot, as the answer was, “I figured it was a sprain, and was hoping that the boot would fix it. Since it’s not any better, I figured I’d skip the PCP/ER route and just come in to see you because that’s where my PCP/ER would have sent me anyway.” Okay, it made sense to me at the time.
After a set of “weight-bearing” x-rays (OWIE) and some initial questions from the x-ray technician, I was set for my consultation with the actual doctor.
He came in, reviewed the x-ray films, and did an evaluation of my ankle. It seemed that just about everywhere he put his fingers hurt. I’m not talking about the hurt that I have been feeling. I’m talking he took his finger and pushed against that part in between the bones on the inner part of my ankle, and I thought I was going to kick him in the face it hurt so bad. And, he went around each part of my ankle pressing between the bony parts and the muscular parts. Each push being just about as painful as the next.
It turns out that I have what the doctor described as “tendonopathy” whereby I have inflamed just about all of the tendons in my foot and ankle. And, it’s from running without a varied routine (i.e. the same direction, same route) and from apparent “almost” flat-footedness which I hadn’t realized was an issue prior to that appointment. The treatment: (1) Stop running; (2) Take some Prednisone throughout this week to help get things back on track; (3) Swap out the Prednisone with 600mg anti-inflammatory/pain relievers starting next week; (4) Go through a course of physical therapy to help retrain those tendons; (5) Transfer to “other” forms of exercise to keep my cardio up – as approved by my therapist or a doctor (i.e. bicycle as tolerable); and (6) Take up something other than running (at least for the moment).
As with any soft tissue injury – I probably would have been better off just breaking something. Bones heal. There is no guaranteed timeframe for recovery at this point. It’s going to primarily rely on how my ankle responds to everything.
But, it’s pretty safe to say that I won’t be on track to participate in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon or the Superhero 5K that I was setting out to train for.
At least I can say that when I do something, I’m all in or all out. Right?