Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Treating Injuries: When Enough Is Enough

At one point or another every runner will get injured. Of course some injuries are more severe than others.  When runners do get injured, they all hope they are minor injuries that require the least amount of rest period.  After all my years of running I was scared when this day would come.

When I first started working at my current job I noticed an increased amount of pain in my heel. I knew standing on my feet for 12.5 hour shifts was the main contributor for this. So I got good work shoes and the problem was fixed...or so I thought. Fast forward a few years and the pain came back. I tried new work shoes right around the same time the pain came back.  Here I thought I could save a few buck by switching shoes...lesson learned. I recently switched back to my original work shoes but the damage had already been done.

Last month the pain began to move over to my arch as well as my heel, still only on the left foot. I took a few rest days and lowered my weekly running mileage. It seemed to help but as soon as I just stepped in any type of shoes my pain would come back.  I bit the bullet and called the podiatrist. I asked around and multiple friends recommend one that actually had an active lifestyle like me. He hikes and runs so I knew he would be a good match for me as well.  Right from the start he knew how important my running was for me. After the initial physical assessment he did an ultrasound on my heels with a big old machine.

Diagnosis: Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. This tissue is called the plantar fascia. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot.  Plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing (like 12.5 hours shifts) or after getting up from a seated position.  Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners, people who are overweight, or people who wear shoes with inadequate support.

I had my suspicion it was this all along. I just needed confirmation. After all we live in a world where you can Google anything! Next came the part I dreaded: How is it going to be treated and how long will I have to not run. My right heel had very mild plantar fasciitis. The left heel however was border line severe. He said he could see my arch had actually dropped slightly compared to the right foot. This scared me, but he quickly alleviated my fears. 

Right away I got two cortisol shots. The right heel just received a little bit since it wasn't as bad as the left. Funny story as soon as he attempted to inject my left heel the pain went away. He said it actually happens all the time. Hah! The shots were painful. The left more than the right. I even had a little bruise on each injection site. Usually cortisol shots are done every 3-6 months. I am hoping I don't have to do them again...fingers crossed. Next was getting my customized orthotics.

I tried to pretend it was a different type of pedicure. But without a nail polish change or massage that was hard to do. The orthotics are scheduled to arrive in about two weeks. Can't wait to get them! Then I can start running again. I know I'll have to slowly integrate my running again. A two week wait shouldn't be that bad. In the mean time I foresee spin classes, swimming, stairclimber, and eliptical in my cardio routine. 

In the mean time I was sent home with simple stretches to try and was also told to take some over the counter anti-inflammatory meds. I have a follow up appointment in three weeks. Hoping all goes well and my heel pain starts to subside. 

Best part of this situation is that I now have an excuse to get daily foot massages from my husband. Let the healing begin!

What running injury have you encountered? 
How long was your recovery time?


  1. I'm actually just recovering from a knee injury - Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or 'runner's knee.' I'm back up to running 25 minutes a day, 3 days a week - woohoo! I would say that in the first month, even though I was seeing a physiotherapist, I didn't really cut back my running too much. I had signed up for a half marathon, and I was still kind of hoping I could run it. But after a month of no real improvement, I realised it would be better to skip the race and actually do what needed to be done to heal my knee, than to have persistent knee issues for a long time.

    For the last month I have focussed on strengthening my gluts, hamstrings and quads, and did HIIT and weights workouts instead of running. It's been about 2 months now, and I'm happy to say it seems to be working and I'm back on the right track to getting back into regular running again. YAY!

    1. Wow you have been through a lot! Glad it is getting better though :) Light at the end of the tunnel!