Back on my feet

The continuing saga of my stress fracture, with a digression to shoe buying.

In my original report, I mentioned that I’d managed to get a stress fracture in my second metatarsal, probably by virtue of my suddenly doing a bunch of race walking.  Turns out this counts as a new stress which I should have adapted to, same as starting running takes time to adapt to.  The look then was that I’d have to wear an air cast for at least 4 weeks.  When I checked back in with the podiatrist, after walking all over China including up the Great Wall (quite easy) and Hua Shan (mountain, not so easy even after taking the cable car up), he said I’d made progress, but would have to leave it on for another 3 weeks.

Finally, on the 28th, I saw him and got the amber light.  Not cleared to do my full normal mileage nor at full speed.  But it’s now ok to go running, if only at 80% effort and 80% of pre-injury distance.  2-3 weeks of that while carefully monitoring how the foot feels.  If it’s still feeling good, then I’m ok for 100% effort and distance.  This is far better than I’d expected.  So tonight will be my first real run (I did run about 300 m when I got home from the Dr.!) since the injury.

You notice that it’s a week since I saw the doctor and I hadn’t gotten out for a real run.  The thing was, I wasn’t confident that my shoes were the right ones for my feet.  I’ve been running in the model for a decade.  But in a decade, your feet can change, or maybe you shouldn’t have been in them in the first place.  So my podiatrist also recommended going to the Roadrunner Sports (Columbia’s being closer to me; there’s also one in VA) and using their ‘shoe dog’.

It turns out that the ‘shoe dog’ has nothing to do with canids.  It’s a two part deal.  First part is that they have you walk across a stress-mat.  It observes how much force you’re hitting the mat with, and from what part of the foot.  I’m heavy on the heel and middle of the ball of the foot, on both feet.  Makes me neutral rather than the overpronator I thought I was.  The second part was to run on a treadmill with a camera taping you (digitally) to check what happens to your leg alignment as you bear full weight.  My left leg stays upright.  The right, though, bows inward — the right arch flexes a lot so the leg moves in.  This is not a great thing for your arch to do, so in addition to new model shoes, I wound up with some inserts to support the arch.

My treadmill tests with shoe, shoe and insert, were very favorable.  So tonight I’ll hit the track (nice soft surface) for some run/walk — while trying to remember not to walk too fast!

See you there!

Bob Grumbine

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