I have just had one of those weeks. Well maybe just from Wednesday through to today. Call it a half week.
As you may be aware, I’ve been dealing with this crazy long unexplained phenomena where my right forefoot goes numb after running over a certain distance (I’ve got the lingo downpat since I’ve been explaining it so much!). I had a huge amount of success with my podiatrist, who modified my current orthotics and then, after the numbness came back 2k into the run, sent me to my GP with a referral in hand for a Cortisone shot. I know I have the bursitis – I’ve seen it bounce around the Ultrasound technician’s screen. So I thought nothing when my GP just wanted to make sure it was nothing else and then sent me for a bone scan.
This is where a calm mind is a must-have! I was a bit nervous (scrap that, it should be really, REALLY nervous) about this scan, what if they find something else?
The first lot of scans occur just after they inject you with the dye tracker – yes, I’m certain that this is how some superhero’s got their skill – and then they require you to go back about 3 hours later for the hour of different scans which require you to stay completely still for the entire time. I did get to see the monitor as the scans were happening and in all seriousness, although I didn’t know what was going on it was SUPER interesting!
Imagine my surprise as the on-site report doctor comes out to talk to me about arthritis and shin splints, and nothing to do with the right forefoot. I started to get worried, how is it my left ankle is full of arthritis but I’ve had no pain, and again with the shin splints – how is it that bad if I’ve had no pain (ok, maybe a little when I start running but it goes within the first couple of metres).
I started to see all my running hopes and dreams start disappearing. Yes, I was still going to do the WDW Marathon NO MATTER WHAT. No, I don’t mind starting the run/walk model to get more milage out of my feet. Yes. No. Yes. No. I was coming up with absolutions in my head for scenarios that I had assumed would come up. It’s like your brain goes into an overcompensating mode to try and process what limited (and crazy medical) information you have. My doc appointment was 2 days after, and waiting wasn’t the funnest.
Finally I got to Friday and my doc appointment. No, they didn’t find anything to explain the numbness (so it must be the inflamed bursa) but congrats! you’ve got shin splints, arthritis in the ankle and something to do with the left fibula (as in the above picture). Basically every (so maybe not every) bone injury a runner could have. AWESOME!!! The doc booked me into a physiotherapist Monday to get started before going to an Orthopaedic in January.
So fast forward to Monday (today!!!) and I attend my new physio armed with 3 lots of films and a huge story about how I came to being here now. I just wanted answers. I was almost there with the podiatrist.
Imagine my relief when, after a series of physical tests, the physio mentioned that the numbness was the bursitis combined with tense ligaments in the forefoot (and some curled toes also causing tension to the area). Add to that I have the worst calves in the world for a distance runner and I need to stretch those babies out. YES! I AM ROLLING AS I TYPE! I also have a not-so-awesome running position. Turns out I heel strike and spend a huge amount of time connected to the ground. I need to fix my running style.
And what about the other stuff? Well, it’s there but as the physio says – If it’s not bothered me before, there’s no point doing anything. The arthritis is nothing too concerning for the amount of activity I do.
Take aways form the appointment: I have a set of exercises that I need to do, knowledge of what it is and how to fix it; and most importantly a timeline.
So why was the onsite imaging doctor concerned about things that I wasn’t complaining about? Well, that’s their job. They have to pick up abnormalities on an image. And it was an abnormality – but with the context of everything I do, it seems more than normal.
While I can’t run right now, I’m looking at being back in about 3 months – so while I will be running around May, I do have to bow out of the SMH Half Marathon as I don’t have enough time to fix the problem and get back into half shape! But watch out second half of 2015. I’m coming for you!
So that’s my reality. How do I keep a calm mind when you’ve thrown down the challenge to yourself? I think that I’m getting much better at this as I wasn’t too upset at giving up that race. Sure, I was a little bummed; and it’s a pain trying to get a refund; but in the bigger scheme of things – I’m working on becoming a better runner. I can still run that race if I want to in 2016.
As I drove home post-appointment I felt fantastic. I may have been quite silly in the lead up to this appointment, and that’s what happens when there’s an absence a calm mind. I immediately freaked out. And as much as I tried to google anything I still did a little and it’s the worst thing to do. I needed to talk to the professionals, not try and piece it together myself.
It’s a calm mind (and positive outlook) that I’m going to have to rely on (as well as the rolling) in the next couple of weeks. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, and although I can’t run right now, I need to focus on improving what I need to in order to become a better runner and injury-free in 2015.