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No More Dr Google... my diagnosis...

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Friday, December 06, 2013

I finally took the plunge and went to see a specialist about my foot. I wanted to get the opinion from someone who specialized in sports medicine. My left ankle has had issues right toward the end of training for the 70.3 and really got painful after my two recent half marathons. My last half marathon in October I limped the last two miles. Ok... enough is enough.

I was convinced after doing some online research as well as relating to my own experience that it was nothing more than a form of tendonitis from overuse / over training. I was certain all I needed was a few weeks of massage therapy and rest and I will be fine.


Specialists are specialists for a reason and this was no exception.


This is why I have been having so many problems with my left ankle.

Area 1 - Left ankle is lower than the right, leg length and posture issues,

Area 2- Compare to right, there are dark patches and some parts are worn down,

Area 3- Check haziness and spacing against the right,

Area 4- Because of an overly stretched tendon on the inside of my foot, it allows the Area 4 to crunch down due to lack of support and causes pain to shoot down the outside of my left ankle.

It should be able to be corrected with orthotics or possibly injections but had I continued to be bullheaded and just pushed on, I could have done some real damage. I have learned a valuable lesson.

I am no dummy and I am very good at listening to my body. This isn't my first rodeo and I am no stranger to the aches and pains that come from training and over-doing it. However well I listen to my body... am I really hearing what it is saying? Had I just listened to Dr Google I might be in really big trouble right now. We are talking about my future mobility. I would really like to be able to still walk when I'm 65.

**Paging Dr Google ** **Paging Dr Google **

This brings up a very important point in the realm of the online world. They brought up a point during my coaching class that runners are notorious for paging "Dr Google" any time they have an issue. Begin with the fact that runners / endurance athletes train themselves to have a higher discomfort tolerance and then mix in some stubbornness, add a dash of adventurism , sprinkle liberally with a self esteem that is enhanced by big numbers on the Garmin ....stir well... and you have a recipe for disaster.

This describes me in a nutshell.

There is a disturbing trend among runners both on Spark and other running forums elsewhere that has been around as long as the forums themselves. This trend is where well meaning and sincere people try to offer advice and fixes concerning other runners aches and pains. While many times they may quite possibly be spot on since many runners have so many common injuries that after a while the symptoms are almost like listening to a broken record.

You may be right 90% of the time but it's the 10% that may cost you dearly in the end.

There really needs to be more awareness among the Spark running community in general about the need to refer to a qualified practitioner rather than tossing out opinions about another members condition however well-intentioned. The tendency toward self diagnosis is a really bad trend and personally would have cost me big time had I persisted.

Every ill cannot be remedied by a foam roller, massage therapy, epsom salts, or "vitamin I" (ibuprofen). Sometimes pain is there for a reason and persistent pain must not be ignored or trained through.

One thing stands out about my visit to the specialist... it's how quickly we got to the root of the problem. If I had gone to the walk in clinic, we would have gone around in circles while we tried the usual pain killers, icing, and referrals.

Going to a specialist in sports medicine was the best choice.

Hopefully I caught this early enough and my hopes of finishing another marathon, or reaching my goals of doing an ultra marathon and the Ironman triathlon has not been sent to the scrap yard.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Vitamin I ... That's AWESOME! I've never heard it called that. The group of people I train with call it runner's candy.

    Glad you went in! I know more than one person that has made a bad situation worse because the Vitamin I made the pain bearable.

    I have a running friend that REALLY struggled with getting orthotics right for him. He's an extreme case! I don't bring this up to discourage you! It's taken him 18 months. That's 18 months of regular visits to 3 different doctors. You skipped the first (the family doctor). It may take some patience. If it's not working at first, don't give up. He's on his 3 different kind of orhtotic, but he and the running specialist he ended up at have his orthotics dialed in. All of his doctors said he was an extremely complex case. I'm sure you case will be much simpler, as nearly all are. Again, just have the patience to see it through.

    Praying for a speedy recovery for you, and good luck!
    928 days ago
    fl better soon
    933 days ago
  • v JERICHO1991
    Hope you recover quickly and completely.
    942 days ago
    948 days ago
    948 days ago
  • v RURAL3
    sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. Hope you are doing better now. emoticon
    950 days ago
  • v MRSRIGS1
    I hope all works out well for you! I, too, have done the same thing (self-diagnose) using Dr. Google. I have learned valuable lessons as well. Thank you for reminding us to do the right thing.
    953 days ago
    It's good that you went to a real doc, although Dr. Google is a great start!
    954 days ago
  • v SUPERDAD55
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Great to get a PROFESSIONAL second look
    your blogs are emoticon
    emoticon emoticon
    955 days ago
  • v IMAGINE46
    956 days ago
  • v JOANNS4
    956 days ago
  • v REJ7777
    Thanks for the reminder that it isn't wise to use Dr. Google as a personal physician.
    957 days ago
  • v TREE57
    I did the same thing when I turned my ankle about 5 years ago. Thought it was a bad sprain. Later thought the pain was arthritic in nature. Summer of 2012 hiked Lumpy Ridge in Colorado, when got home decided to see a foot and ankle specialist.

    To make long story short...the sprained ankle was actually broken, tore the Blevins & longus tendons to shreds, one actually severed. Surgery in April 2013, no weight bearing for 8 weeks, two casts, then boot.

    Lesson learned. 1. I have enormously high pain tolerance, 2. Never Ever Take pain for granted. It's our bodies warning system that indicates a problem.
    3. Always see a specialist for specialized treatment.

    School of Hard Knocks Sucks
    958 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    958 days ago
    I have OA in one foot, no joint space ("bone on bone") in the metatarsals (in front of the ankle.) I was told by orthopedist to try Dansko clog-type shoes, then orthotics, cortisone injections are possible and offer temporary relief but do damage, and guiding the needle in between the bones is not fun with no joint space, and the last option, surgery, is not a good one for me.

    The Dansko shoes did the trick. I went from limping to (when I wear them and not other shoes) pain free. Didn't even need to fill the Rx for orthotics. The idea is that the solid sole kind of immobilizes the foot.

    Hope you find relief.
    958 days ago
    958 days ago
  • v 82719541
    This blog could not have come at the right time. I hurt my knee three months ago and I did all the things Dr. Goggle told me to do and now its worse then ever. So, right after Christmas to the doctor I go. I'm so afraid if I don't exercise during the holidays I will put on weight; I'm maintaining right now I can walk but I can't bend the knee and now it feels like gravel in the knee but I still need to do my 50 miles a week. I think I need help with my knee and my head
    958 days ago
    emoticon emoticon Glad you sought out answers from the professionals!
    958 days ago
  • v LINDAKAY228
    Great blog and so true! Take care of it!
    958 days ago
    I'm glad you caught it before it got really seriously damaged! There is something to be said for specialists.
    958 days ago
    958 days ago
    959 days ago
    We do need to take responsibility for our health and well being. It does include doctors but you were well informed before you went. You sometimes have to check through several specialists until the information provides the right solution. Orthotics have saved my feet, I would have had to have surgery when I was older.
    959 days ago
    Congrats on a successful outcome and more healthy running to come!!
    959 days ago
    what a pain...
    959 days ago
    959 days ago
  • v JACKIE15108
    I think you have made a good point. We need to listen to our body.
    I think we can try Dr google or listen to other people's advice - for a day or two....for example, maybe ice is enough, or 2 days of rest....but if the pain persists more than a few days, we definately need to see a doctor.

    959 days ago
  • v BLUEJEAN99
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    959 days ago
  • v KAREN2LOSE55
    I'm so happy that you went to see the a specialist! Good going and I hope that you get fixed up like you should! emoticon emoticon
    960 days ago
    You remind me of my son's illness. Two visits to the pediatrician and we got nowhere. The ER doc was on top of the real problem almost immediately. Not that an ER doc is exactly similar to a sports medicine specialist, but close enough for my analogy anyway.

    I'm glad you got the right diagnosis and that you will be able to do something about the problem.
    960 days ago
    960 days ago
    Glad you found some much needed answers.
    960 days ago
    Thank you for your open discussion of this topic. We ALL need to learn from this.

    960 days ago
    Ouch. I'm glad you got a real answer for your specific issues, and I hope you can recover and get back to what you love doing.

    Among other things, you make me realize how good I really had it when I was in PT. Yeah, it felt like it was taking forever; but it *didn't* take forever, and the problems I had could be corrected.
    960 days ago
    Thanks for sharing!
    960 days ago
  • v CICELY360
    Good blog
    960 days ago
    learning to listen to our bodies is one of the most important things to do for ourselves.

    I give it a little while and if it doesn't get better by doing what I have done for things in the past I call the DR.

    Health is indeed the greatest wealth of all.
    960 days ago
    960 days ago
    I am glad to here that you where able to a diagnosis quickly. Sometimes a diagnosis is not as quick to come bye. My daughter had an ankle sprain and it three visits to a sports orthopedic doctor, in an out if a CAM boot for 6 months and then a referral to pediatric orthopedic doctor who diagnosis of RSD an nerve pain conduction disorder, so basically the injury healed but the nerves are overreacting and the pain can be worse than the initial injury. It took almost to years to get back to her beloved sport of gymnastics. I pray that you will have a speedy recover! I have appreciated your supportive comments!
    960 days ago
  • v JMARIES51
    Very good blog and thanks for the information. I hate going to doctors, so I would say that I am very guilty of the DR Google thing. You are right, it is foolish to not ask an expert. Hope you feel better very soon.
    960 days ago
    emoticon for sharing such valuable advice. I wish you the emoticon in your healing process. I am certainly glad that you caught it in time.
    960 days ago
    Robert, you truly continue to educate us.

    Probably a high perecent of people do try naural solutions, goggle, and advice. But obviously, there is a point one must get it checked out. X-rays can be very useful. Then you know what your dealing with.

    Years ago, I got orthotics. I had injured my knee and becuse I have flat feet, I was walking oddly to compensate for the problem.

    In my case, I went to a chioropracter ,sports therapist doctor, and foot specialist. Actually the foot doctor helped me the most. The sports guy said, I had flat feet, and that's why the knee kept dislocating. He said this song and dance about living with it, because when one gets older, that things just hurt.Also, it's not nesarry to ride a bike. Well yah I love to do that, and how about having pain going up stairs. By the way I was only 43.

    The chiropracter said I needed physical therapy and my insurance wouldn't pay for it. There was a health club next door to the chiropracter. He told me that if I got a membership he would tell me what to do. I didn't have money for that either, so I brought in a book and asked him to tell me what home exercises I could do. He didn't.

    I saved up the money ironing shirts and purchased a healthrider. I started with 1-2 minutes and ended up with an hour. My knee is fine. Now I don't remember which side was damaged.

    I guess I'm saying don't give up your dreams.. but modify them if one must. emoticon
    960 days ago
    You did the right thing that is for sure . I have learned that if the body speaks it usually means it is an issue. Thanks for the great blog .
    960 days ago
  • v NONNAOF2
    I'm so glad that you did the right thing! You must of been in a lot of pain at one point! Going to a Sports Specialist was a wise decision for sure!! :-)
    960 days ago
    Eye opening blog. Glad that you consulted a specialist, it will be well worth it.

    960 days ago
    This is the 1st time I've read one of your blogs because it is featured in Spark People Featured Member of the Week E-Mail page.
    I'm so glad I checked this out.
    I am not able to run because I have a very weak left leg due to MS and back issues, but I am able to walk.
    Your blog was very knowledgeable and helpful for everyone who tend to put off going to the doctor and self-diagnosing themselves instead.
    The fact that you put the x-ray on and the easily read differences in steps is great.
    I felt that I gained a wealth of knowledge reading this blog.
    I hope that you are feeling better soon.
    Congratulations on being featured as A Featured Member of the Week blog.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    960 days ago
    Very glad you got the expert advice! Do what you need to do!!
    960 days ago
    960 days ago
  • v LCRUMLEY81
    960 days ago
    So glad you caught this in time. Valuable lesson learned and shared, thanks!
    960 days ago
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