Looking Injuries in the... Foot


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Photo by Pizzo Calabro (note this is not my foot)
This week I faced the fact that there was something seriously wrong with my foot.  For two weeks now I have dealt with a injury to my right heel.  At first I thought it was simply my Achilles tendon tightening up on me after a hard 8 mile run.  I pushed it out of mind, thinking that an old football injury from senior year of high school was coming back to haunt me.
My intentional thoughts in regard to training were to simply press on. It would continue to run, but not try to push the pace until my foot felt better. I had fallen into the trap that many runners succumb to:
Sticking with the plan, even when your body says to do something different. 

You see, my plan said to run, so ran. This mentality has been with me forever.  For example from the time of pre-K until graduation of high school I missed exactly one day of school (3rd grade- food poisoning, I still can't eat roast beef sandwiches from on fast-food chain). I even took 3 exams in isolation because I had chicken pox my junior year!
But after 2 weeks of running, and no improvement I figured it was time to give it a rest and hope that it heals quickly. (I should add that it took some prompting from my fabulous wife to actually get me to stop running for a few days).
Then I had to promptly diagnose my condition in order to know how to treat it. Fortunately I have couple of close friends that are PAs and they talked with me about...PLANTAR FISCIITIS.  NOOOOOOOOOOO!
This has been described by Christopher McDougall as the "vampire bite" for runners.
So what is plantar fisciitis?
Basically it is pain in the heel of your foot.  It can be caused by adding too many miles, too quickly, wearing the wrong shoes or running too fast.
I believe mine was caused by the combination of factors:
1. Wearing the wrong shoes.  Earlier this spring I was at a running expo for the Little Rock Marathon and I found a great deal on some New Balance shoes.  I thought I was buying the 769 which has been great for me (a stability shoe, for those with normal arches) instead I bought the 1063 (a neutral cushion shoe, for those with high arches).
2. The speed work plan where I was trying to push myself everyday.  I have learned that there is a reason to have recovery days. Planning to get faster as fast as possible led me to the (wrong) conclusion that I had to faster at every workout.  Taking a day to do a recovery run so that I can back the next with greater intensity would have been a better approach (it also might have kept me injury free).

As far is treatment goes, I would follow the plan from Runner's World. I have been using it the past 2 days and I feel a ton better.
Hopefully I'll be ready to run again this weekend.  Today I got on the elliptical for 30 minutes and didn't have any issues, although it doesn't create the same pounding sensation you get from running.

Good luck to all the runners out there. I hope you stay injury free, but if you do get injured, remember to take some time off! Trust me, you'll be okay!

Side Note: You get some strange photos when you search for images of foot injuries!


Kenley said...

So,.........I just had to google foot injuries and see the photographs. lol. Luckily enough, I was not eating anything. I hope that if it is indeed PF that you have, that you can heal up nicely. Just recently, I have taken my training back a notch due to some leg pain right above my foot. Shin Splints? I also have right heel pain that comes and goes. Though, I have not felt it in 2 months (knock on wood). Hurts the first thing when I get up, but fine 10 minutes later. Advice, better to lay low than to aggravate an injury that is getting better. Take care.

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