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Another Year - Another Injury

Sunday, January 13, 2013

This year started off right - and wrong. I started at 173 lbs and set myself a goal for dropping down to 165 (and the eventual hope of reaching 154). I was going to the gym in the mornings - running three times a week in the afternoons (regardless of weather) and walking the dog 3 miles daily. I ran a GREAT run last Tuesday - I went for a short run (I'm prepping for a Half-Marathon in May) and did about 3.5 miles at 8 min/mile (I'm 44, weight 172 lbs and my normal mile time is 8:45 - 9:00 - I was just feeling really good that day and didn't realize I was going so fast until I got home). Anyway, I had no problems after that run. The next morning, as usual, I went to the gym and did a leg workout - squats, leg press, lunges, extensions, leg curls, and calf-raises. I had a great workout and felt like I was able to really get a good workout. Every day I also walk my dog about 3 miles in the morning and 1 mile in the afternoon. On Wednesday afternoon I went for my usual walk and the back heel of my left foot hurt like crazy. I ended up taking some Aleve and didn't think anything of it just attributed it to soreness.

On Thursday the pain didn't subside nor did it get much better. I ended up missing my run that afternoon. As I searched for clues as to what the problem could be I thought it might be Plantar Fasciitis or possible a stress fracture in the calcaneous. However as the days have gone by I am starting to wonder if either of those is possible. My reasoning is:

a) When I wake up in the morning the pain is non-existent and only increases as the day goes on (for example today on a scale of 1 - 10 the pain is a 1 or 2; last Thursday the pain was a 5 or 6).

b) The pain decreases significantly with heat as well as Ibuprofen

c) I bought gel heel cushions for my hiking boots and they help me walk comfortably when I don't take Ibuprofen in the morning. For example - today I took the dog on a 5k walk with no Ibuprofen and the pain was very minimal - around a 1 on 1 - 10 scale.

d) When I walk on hard floors (hardwood/tile/linoleum) the pain is worse than when I walk on carpet.

e) I have a standing desk in my home office and at my office at work and a rubber mat in front of the desk - I can stand at either desk with no pain (as of today, Sunday)

f) It seems that the pain has become more localized - to the posterior part of the heel (although not completely in the back) and to the outside.

g) I can press the heel with my fingers and it doesn't hurt.

h) There is no sign of obvious bruising in the tissue (i.e. no black/blue areas - nor was there on Wednsday).

I'm starting to wonder whether this is just a deep tissue bruise in the fat pad of the heel and it's slowly resolving itself or whether this is a muscle pull in the back part of the foot that came about from the calf raises I did last Wednesday.

At this point I'm slated to see my podiatrist a week from tomorrow (I'm traveling on business this week which is why I couldn't get in to see him this week) and I plan on not running until I see him (even if the pain goes completely away). I'd rather lose a week now then do something stupid and end up in a worse position where I could be looking at being out of action for longer. To maintain cardio fitness I plan on substituting elliptical workouts and ergometer/bike riding in place of running. Is that not a good idea? Should I completely back off training?

I've already spoken with a couple of friends who had Plantar Fasciitis and they both said that my symptoms do not mirror their experience - they said PF starts the minute you get up in the morning and is worst at that time (and when you've been sitting for a while) and gets better as you walk and move around.

If anyone has any thoughts as to what might be causing the problem - I'd love to hear them.
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