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Stressing Times

by Robert Grumbine

Hi folks,

No, I’m not going gonzo about my race times. Nor am I feeling
a ton of stress from work or other things.

My second metatarsal, however, felt excess stress and fractured.
So I’ve got a fancy boot to keep the foot bone from getting broken
and even encourage it to heal. Not what I was hoping for by way
of diagnosis, but better than some of the alternatives.

I emphasize injury avoidance, and here I am injured. Grr. Still,
I did some things right. I first felt the pain after a run/walk
on the 26th of April. As it was pain, I didn’t run again until it
felt better. It didn’t improve, in fact got worse over time, so
about 10 days later I was in my doctor’s office. Ordinary running
injuries will improve in significantly less than 10 days. Doctor
was able to rule out neuroma (my fear) and plantar fasciitis (common,
but I knew enough about it to be pretty confident that this wasn’t
it), leaving the generic ‘your foot hurts’ diagnosis (metatarsalgia)
and a referral to a podiatrist.

I saw the podiatrist on the 29th, and had a speedy diagnosis of
stress fracture. It’s just as well perhaps that I wasn’t in the
podiatrist’s office immediately, as stress fractures aren’t normally
visible on x-rays until after you’ve started to heal. Still, a
week earlier might have saved me some pain.

As it is, I’ve got the elegant boot for a month and then back
in to the podiatrist to see how it’s progressing. Fingers crossed,
it’ll be finished healing by then. On the other hand, as I’ll
be going to France and China with Vickie (my wife, some of you know
by way of this year’s Running Start program or earlier club events),
I’ll be covering some ground which isn’t exactly the perfect prescription
for speedy recovery. But Vickie seems ready to tackle me if I
start overdoing, and she can outrun me.

I’m now about half way through the response to injury list:
When you have pain, stop the activity that caused it (and treat the pain)

  • Figure out what caused it
  • Recover
  • Start back after figuring out how to avoid re-causing it.

Now part of my cause was walking (rather than running). In my
high speed mode, there’s a lot of stress on the ball of my foot
and my left foot’s big toe (ball) moves out of the way rather than
take up the stress it should. Not a problem for my previous 12
years of running, but this March-April was my first time doing
a lot of high speed walking. So that’s one thing — keep down
the amount of high speed walking.

Second the doctor recommended is that since my shoes are a very old
model I should go up to the Road Runner Sports in Columbia
and see the ‘shoe dog’ there to get matched up to shoes. I could
(given 12 years of changes in my feet) now be better of in a
different pair of shoes.

I’ll also be grilling the doctor about how to schedule my
ramp up in terms of distance, time, pace, and mode (walking
vs. running, and high speed walking vs. my casual lope (which
is not terribly slow either)). If an expert is available,
pick their brains thoroughly!

Happy trails,
Bob Grumbine

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