Friday, May 18, 2012

Stress Reaction and Roadmap to Recovery

The Test: Did Not Pass!

After a very painful test run last week following the ART therapy, I decided it was time to see my Ortho doctor at Cleveland Clinic. The run was just a 2.5 mile test run to see if I'd be able to compete in the Nordonia Duathlon last weekend. I knew after the test that running was not going to be in my best interest. Within the first few steps, I felt that all too familiar initial twinge of pain that said "this is not going to go well". I moved along anyways as I had to see what my body could handle. Around 1.5 miles my foot was really hurting so I stopped to strech it and started up again telling myself that it was just one more mile. By mile 2.5 my foot was throbbing and burning. When I stopped to walk it was clear something was really off. I immediately soaked the foot in a bucket of ice and took some ibuprofen. Not a fun experience. Was I ready to run in Saturday's race twice? Not so much.

The Ortho Visit and MRI:

I was able to get in Monday to see Dr. Jones and he was concerned that I could have a stress fracture as was I. He ordered an MRI. Wednesday I went in for the procedure. If you haven't had the joy of an MRI yet let me describe what it's like. I also found a picture as well. To have your foot examined in an MRI, you lie flat on your back with your affected foot inside of a sort-of cast like area. The MRI tech provides you with headphones in an effort to try to drown out some of the disruptive noises of the machine's imaging process. They take a number of pictures of the affected area via image scan. Each scan takes anywhere from 1-4 minutes and makes some sort of alarming sound. It's really quite shocking. Since this was my second MRI, I was not quite as shocked as I was the first time.

It took approximately 40 minutes for them to take about 10 pictures. I received a disk with the images of my left foot. They look like the image here.

The Results:

Being the inquisitive person that I am I opened all of the MRI images on the CD that CCF had given me. Then of course I googled images of various stress fractures trying to figure out what was going on with my foot. I was hoping to hear from Dr. Jones yesterday since the results were in but I was unable to reach him until this morning. The results show that I have "stress reaction" in my left heel. So not a stress fracture but on the cusp of being a stress fracture.

The Treatment (Roadmap to Recovery): 

Dr. Jones said I do not need to be in a boot or take any specific amount of time off as with a stress fracture. Although I am to avoid running for at least 2-4 weeks until my foot is pain-free. I am allowed to bike, swim, pool run and use the eliptical as long as these are done pain free.

I will be seeing a running specialist to assess my running gait, shoes, etc to figure out what's going on. With this being the second season of injuring this heel in the same foot there must be an issue with something. One thing I can say is that I went minimal with my shoes both seasons. Aside from that I am not sure what else could be a factor. I am looking forward to learning and correcting whatever issues I have and getting back to being a strong runner again. Because running is my favorite and best sport of the three (although the bike is nipping at its heels - no pun intended) I am anxious to get back to good. Like that old saying when life gives you lemons make lemonade. I intend to do that with this injury.

The Schedule:

Last week I sat out of Nordonia Duathlon, I will be sitting out of Cleveland Marathon this weekend (which saddens me greatly) but I will be cheering for my husband and countless friends running! The Twinsburg Duathlon will now be a relay for Steve and myself. He will run and I will bike. So I am excited about that in a few weeks. I also had signed up for the Geneva Tri a week after. Right now the plan is to participate in the swim and bike and abort the run. This will at least allow me to get some tri race experience in June. I will likely not be able to run the Mentor Flag Day race either, which is also a bummer. I am shooting to be back on track by Milton Man and hope to compete in either the sprint or oly there. I will also plan to do fairport. I think I will be on schedule for Rev3 Dells 70.3.


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  2. Yah, I am looking forward to fixing things. The fact is I was running much higher mileage years back when just running and not getting fractures or stress reaction. This tells me something is off and it likely running minimal for me. I may be able to use the light shoes with an orthotic or else switch shoes to more supportive and simply use light shoes to race in. At the end of the day I just want to be healthy.

  3. I could spend the next 20 minutes just staring at your MRI image, but I'm forcing myself not to. The body is an amazing machine; just be smart and you'll be back before long. And aqua jogging is HARD

  4. Thanks, the cross-training is really helping and the pain this week is already going away so now it's just more rest and easing back slowly!