The Injury That Won’t Quit

Most of you are probably well aware of the fact that back on July 10th, I went for a 3-ish mile easy paced run and had some calf pain in my right leg. But, if you’re not — it’s been a whirlwind! Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

I shook off  the pain from that run on the 10th and assumed it was my shoes because they were nearing the point I typically retire them. I wore a different pair of shoes and ran 7 the next day and the pain was there for most of the run. I ran one more time for 3 painful miles on the 13th and that was when I pulled the plug on running. I had the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 10k on the 22nd, so I didn’t run for 9 days and then ran the race. I felt fine…no issues, other than obviously being fatigued.

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I thought I was ok, so started running again on July 25th and began my Grand Rapids Half Marathon training. I had a great strong week! But when the next week began, I knew something wasn’t right again. I ran 4 miles on August 1st, and decided to go on a running break again.

I went to an Orthopedic & Sports Medicine office on August 3rd and had an X-ray, which showed nothing. They suggested I don’t run for 4 weeks, and then at the end of the 4 weeks to go run 1-2 miles and see how I felt. If it hurt still, then they wanted me to call back for an MRI.

Part way into my running break, I had an epiphany. I was sleeping on my stomach with one leg crossed over the other. When I moved, that spot on my leg was SO tender. I could barely touch it without flinching in pain. I thought, “OH my gosh! This is a sleeping injury??”.  I thought back to what my dad said to me one time about figuring out his knee pain was from tucking his ankles under his chair at work. So I figured, this sleeping injury idea – as silly as it sounds – could actually be a possibility! I started sleeping with a pillow between my legs and just tried to be more cautious of my posture at all times, and I continued with the physical therapy exercises and stretches they gave me.

After about 2.5 weeks of not running and the pain being gone in my daily life, I decided to try running a mile on August 18th. It was one of those rainbow and butterflies kinds of experiences. I was SO happy! A pain free run! I decided to continue running 3x a week and increasing slowly. Most every run during this time was difficult. I struggled with breathing. I struggled with leg turn over. But, I did have a few runs that I was really happy with my progress on…I was beginning to get excited for my next sub-2 Half attempt!

I called and had my MRI put on hold.

After 4 weeks, I was up to 5.25 miles and then BAM! The pain had returned on September 17th. I had just recently gotten bad about remembering to do my PT, so I wasn’t too worried. I thought, I’ll just start doing them again and I’ll be ok. Ya’ll know I’m an impatient person, so I don’t know why I thought a few days later I’d be good to go again haha…but I ran again the 19th and it was bad most of the run (despite the smile on my face), and I had some new pain on the top of my right foot.

I was and am absolutely devastated! That may sound dramatic, but this up and down of emotions has had me feeling SO much. Just as I thought I was in the clear, I felt like I had the rug pulled out from under me again. It’s been terribly frustrating.

So I’m back at square one after dealing with this on/off again for 10 weeks. I honestly don’t know what I should do. I don’t know how long I should be on this running break. I don’t know how I should return. All I know is I paid $$$$$$$$$ for two races in Disney World in January and it will break my heart if I can’t do them. I will no matter what do the 5k, even if I have to walk the entire thing. But that half…man I had high hopes for it and I have no idea what’s going to happen there. I still have 16 weeks, so I’m hoping for a miracle to get me there — even if that means walking a lot instead of going for that sub-2 I was working towards.

Just have to focus on healing and trying my best to stay positive in this. I’m continuing with my strength training routine, and I have my fingers crossed for trying to bike again soon and see how my leg does with that.

Until next time…

💗 Bianca

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4 thoughts on “The Injury That Won’t Quit

  1. Bianca, have you had that MRI yet?

    Have you looked your running mechanics? It’s possible that your body is compensating for a weakness somewhere else in the body (foot, knee, hip, etc.) and is causing additional load to your lower leg during your run sessions?

    Also, how much stretching and/or foam rolling are you getting in on recovery days?

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    • No, I put the MRI on hold after I started feeling good again. I think it is a running form issue. I know it’s not perfect, and I’ve tried changing it but it feels so unnatural that I can’t maintain it for more than a few strides. I didn’t think it was a big deal since I had gone 6 years without any major issues, but it’s a possibility. Pre-injury I only foam rolled on workout days, but since then I’ve been pretty good about daily stretching/PT/rolling (with the exception of last week!).

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      • Ok. It might be time to check out a run coach to have a look at your running form?

        Obviously, running is not meant to cause you pain so some rest and stretching will help with reducing any inflammation.

        Imbalances in the quad, glute and hamstring muscle groups are common causes for running issues so some structured strength work could rectify those issues?

        Finally, your footwear. I would look into what shoe your training in and see if it is the most appropriate shoe of choice…

        Hopefully, this isn’t suck eggs information and it helps point you in the direction to recovery.

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      • It’s great advice! I’d personally suggest the same to anyone in my shoes, which is why I’m at a loss here. 😏

        I’d love a run coach and actually looked into it this year, but it’s not in the cards for me right now. Unless you know a way to get insurance to pay for it 😂! It’s so hard to correct something on your own even if you know what it could be (I heel strike often and hip dips too low upon landing).

        I love strength training and do it 3x a week. Now that I’m not running I may bump it to 4x. I’m significantly stronger all around this year than I have ever been, so getting injured now and not 6 years ago is confusing if it’s related to that. But stranger things have happened I suppose lol!

        I’ve run on a treadmill and had my gait analyzed and done the walk analysis in running stores too to ensure I’m in the right running shoes. (I actually land pretty neutral, but due to some flex in ankle I get most recommended in stability, but neutral could work too). Brooks Adrenaline’s are best for me, but I’ve tried others in the past too. It’s rough when you’re a 2E though.

        Anyway, I’m sticking with consuming natural anti inflammatory foods, taking time off running and continuing to strength train and strerch/Roll for a while. Hope it eventually just dissipates.🤞

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