One of these is not like the other….
Remember when I did that 5K-that-turned-into-a-10K last month? Well, that evening my left ankle felt oddly sore. The next morning it was painful enough that I was limping pretty badly, but I decided to walk 5 miles around the lake with my mum. My attitude with injuries is usually along the lines of “rub some dirt on it and suck it up”…or, in this case, “just walk it off.” Except in this case, there was no “walking it off.” My ankle was swollen to the size of a softball after that walk, and it was difficult to put my weight on it. I consulted Dr. Google and figured out pretty quickly that I was dealing with posterior tibial tendonitis. Essentially, my posterior tibial tendon was (and still is) inflamed due to being overstretched and suffering small tears. (See more info HERE.) This is likely due to the shape of my feet and the way that left ankle, in particular, pronates when I run/walk. Wearing (and running in) cheap shoes until the week before the race certainly didn’t help, either.
About a week later, my ankle was a bit less painful and swollen, and I had the bright idea to go for a 10K run to redeem my crummy race performance. I ended up running a little over 7 miles, and although running was slightly painful, it was nothing compared to what I woke up to the next day. At that point, I decided to stop running for a few weeks. Talking with a few friends who are runners/coaches convinced me that was a good choice, and they suggested some helpful self myofascial-release therapies to practice. And, more specifically, they suggested that I “stay off of it until all pain and swelling were gone.”
But because I’m a genius, I figured substituting plyos for running would work just fine. I know. I know. Plyometrics are high-impact. I actually used to avoid them for fear of screwing up my already-decrepit knees. Definitely not something that will be good for an an already-inflamed tendon with who-knows-how-many small tears. Somehow I convinced myself that because it wasn’t running and it didn’t hurt that much, doing plyos would be no big deal. Funny enough, the swelling in my ankle subsided some, but never completely, and the dull pain there has yet to go away. Naturally, I decided it was time to give running another shot, and did a
quick slow little 3-miler on Friday. (Yes, I can be quite a knucklehead when I put my mind to it.)
Then Saturday, the swelling was back in full-force (see photo above), and standing my throbbing ankle kind of made me want to vomit. I made the first good choice in a long time by opting out of a Crossfit workout my friend had invited me to try at his box, and settled for a fairly pathetic upper body workout at home. I’ve also developed some major (painful) trigger points in my right hamstring and hip over the past month, which I suspect are due to the way I’ve been moving to compensate for the pain on my left side. With my tail between my legs, I’ve asked my GP for a referral to a podiatrist and/or physical therapist. I’ve also sworn off running and plyos until this whole thing gets figured out. Anyone have a lap pool or rowing machine I can use? This is my first serious injury, and clearly the whole recovery game has a steep learning curve.
Moral(s) of the story:
Wear proper shoes for your individual feet/arches.
When you are injured, set your pride aside and let your body recover.
Don’t be an idiot.
Discuss: Have you ever been injured and had to alter your training or step back all together? What do you do for conditioning when you can’t run or do plyos??