That’s right — it’s every runner’s worst nightmare. Foot pain. It started shortly after the Big Cottonwood Marathon. Truth be told, it probably starting during the Big Cottonwood Marathon. Somewhere around Mile 8 my foot started cramping and hurting, but I pressed on and the pain was gone a mile or two later. I didn’t feel it again through the rest of the race. Then immediately following the race, I stiffened up. I remained sore and with the worst case of DOMS that I’ve ever experienced for days after the marathon.
About two weeks after the marathon, most of the soreness was gone and I was starting a Running Club with the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at my school. I noted after the first run with the kids that my calves and soleus muscles were still just the tiniest bit sore, but I brushed it off. In hindsight, I should have been doing a better job of foam rolling and stretching to loosen up the tight muscles, but I felt like I had taken more than enough time to recover, and I wasn’t worried about it.
In another week or two, my foot was bothering me enough to force me to give up on heels, but I told myself that a few days in comfortable shoes would be all I needed to get back to normal. I continued to run 2-3 times a week. Mondays and Thursdays were with the Running Club, but I was going fairly slowly with the kids (usually between a 8:45 – 9:30 pace), plus the occasional weekend run of around 6 miles.
By mid October, a month after the marathon, I was running the St. Louis Half Marathon with Jessica and Erin. My foot started hurting around mile 6 and didn’t let up. The pain was more of an annoying twinge with only the occasional sharp shooting pain in the arch. The kind of thing that you wish would stop, but not enough to make you want to quit a race that you flew 900 miles to run.
For the last month, the pain has been there more or less all the time. I’ve babied it by wearing sensible shoes, finished the last run for Running Club on November 5th, and haven’t run a mile since.
Here’s what I’ve learned about my injury.
- It is NOT plantar fasciitis. That’s what I originally thought. Most of the worst pain was shooting into the arch of my foot, but I found a really sensitive spot near my inside ankle. I talked to a physical therapist friend and she diagnosed it as posterior tibial tendonitis. After about a week of aggressively massaging the tender tendon, the pain in my ankle is virtually gone (though I’m not quite there on the arch yet).
- When I stopped running, I started spending large amounts of time foam rolling. I discovered that pretty much every muscle below my knee was beyond tight. I did as much as I could on my own, and then scheduled a massage. I told the massage therapist that I was NOT there to relax. His job was to brutally assault my lower leg muscles and loosen them up no matter the pain it caused. It seems to have worked fairly well and now when I foam roll, the muscles are much less tight.
- Injuries like these seem to be a two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. I will have 2 days of feeling practically nothing, and then have one sore day. I’m only hoping that the progress is moving forward. I’ve suffered tendon injuries before, and I know that they just take time. It WILL get back to normal
I’m hopeful that the pain will be gone soon now that I’m not running and allowing it to heal. I was supposed to start a 22 week training plan for Boston this week, but 22 weeks is an exceptionally long plan anyway, so shortening it by a few weeks won’t do me any harm. I just want to toe the line in Hopkinton healthy and pain-free.