Marathon Training Week 9: Injury

This makes two posts this week I’ve started with “I’ve always wanted to be transparent with people”…

Last weekend my foot started to feel stiff.  Stiff enough that I was concerned post race.  It wasn’t a sharp pain but rather a dull pain in the arch.  Cue the mini freakout.  My entire body had been sore so I decided to get a deep tissue massage as well as rest on Sunday.   That didn’t seem to help my body soreness at all.

So I sit here a week later still sore, my arch is throbbing.  At first I thought I had  a minor case of plantar fasciitis.  Although my arch hurt, it didn’t hurt more in the morning.  It didn’t hurt in the back of the heel.  Just the arch.  It was more localized in the actual arch of the foot.  After doing more research, I found myself more related to posterior tibial tendinitis.  It makes sense in my case.  I am a supinator which puts pressure on my inner calves which connect to the muscles in your arch.  My inner calves are something that has always gotten extremely sore.

Where my pain is…

Not admitting I am injured and running through pain won’t get me anywhere.  I am not going to run until I’m healed.  I’m not a runner who can or will run through injuries.  It’s not worth it to me.

Since I’m on the honesty train, Plantar fasciitis (besides being the hardest injury to actually spell) is my most feared injury. You could do everything right as far as promoting healing and being proactive but it still gets worse. I’ve seen people who can’t walk without pain.  Posterior Tibial Tendinitis is essentially very similar so I’m adding this to one of my most feared injuries.

Last Saturday was my last run.

I’ve gotten two deep tissue massages since.

I’m icing, stretching and rolling with a golf ball.

It’s honestly not getting any better and I have yet to see any improvements.

If it still bothers me by Friday I’ll go to the doctor.  I know it’s a muscle related injury and due to the location and other symptoms I’m confident it’s posterior tibial tendinitis.  

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty devastated right now.  It’s only been a week of not running but I’m pretty bummed.  I hope it doesn’t interfere with my marathon training (or worst case scenario:  not being ready or still injured to run the marathon).  But it is what it is.

The only thing I can do right now is stay positive and proactive.  It stinks a lot.  Personally, I would rather have a bone break than muscle injury but I was dealt these cards. With a bone injury, you know it takes a certain amount of time to heal.  Who knows with a muscle injury?

Long story short, the only thing I can do is rest and be proactive in recovery.  This is my first injury since October 2012 so hopefully it’s a minor speedbump. It stinks and I’m rather miserable to be around but here is to hoping this week’s better news.  

Question for you: Have you ever had plantar fasciitis or posterior tibial tendinitis? How did you recover?

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  1. Crap … Sorry you have to deal with this Hollie ! I was just saying how too many of my blog friends were dealing with injuries this year. I hope it gets resolved quickly and fully 🙂

  2. Sorry to read this. I hope this heals quickly for you. Perhaps your doctor does PRP (but maybe not); you could also do lots of hot/cold alternations to recruit blood cells. Get well soon!

  3. Sorry about the injury. I have dealt with plantar fasciitis… and it yup, it sucks. I used the Strassburg sock when sleeping, rolling a golf ball and frozen coca cola bottle (that’s good). I also got a pair of those flip flop looking things that shocked your foot (seemed to help some). And a cortisone shot in my foot (which I don’t know if it helped or not). In the end I got custom orthotics (I have really high arches) and it hasn’t bothered me since. If it keeps up, check with your podiatrist… hopefully they’ll have a solution. Hope you’re out there running again real soon.

  4. I have not had either one, but my PF (I can’t spell it either) friends thought I had PF when I got hurt. I agree, I would rather have a bone injury because typically that heals and the bone is actually stronger. PF… my friend got better and was running just fine, but then it flaired up again at the end of a race and he literally hobbled across the finish. Craziness. It’s really unpredictable like that.

    I do not blame you to wait to go to the doc (seems like if it’s a really “new” injury, they just tell you to rest for awhile and hope it clears up anyway). Maybe call and get an appointment and then cancel it if you don’t need to go… I wish I did that bc it took me a week to get in at my doc.

    I’m wishing you a speedy recovery soon, so you can get back to running. Hopefully it won’t mean many weeks off and maybe the doc will have a fairly easy solution, you never know. I hate to see anyone injured and it sucks not to be able to run or train when you have a big race coming up.

  5. Hi Hollie,

    I just was in a similar scenario. Had very similar pain for a week. Went to a sports orthopedic and he diagnosed it as bursitis or tendonitis after having an x ray- which I agreed it was! Had an MRI at the end of that week and it was a stress fracture in my heel! I’m still recovering but maybe consider getting an MRI

  6. Noo, I am so sorry to hear this, Hollie! Around 2 or 3 years ago when I was running high mileage (for me) I had a case of PF. I have incredibly high arches and the pain was immense. Unfortunately the only thing that helped was not running, and not wearing any sandals. I was in tennis shoes non-stop… even lifeguarding. Such a hottie… Anyways, you’re resilient and smart. You’ll take care of yourself, stay positive and you’ll be back stronger than ever like always 🙂 Heal soon <3

  7. Hollie- I dealt with the same injury in the same location on my right foot arch area. My PT treated it as PF, but my arch, right outside edge of my foot ached. I did develop creaky, stiffness in my ankle. ESTIM and Ultrasound therapy combined with eccentric calf raises and strengthening exercises for my achilles and soleus did wonders! I also wear the pink “Super Feet” inserts in my Brooks Adrenaline GTS. Sending good healing wishes! And I continue to roll out my calves and roll a golf ball under my foot daily.

  8. Oh geez. This is never a good time. I ran for the first time in a year the other day and had no idea how far I was running… Turns out I ran 4 miles and my foot has been hurting. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s a stress fracture. LOL my life.

    But as far as your tendinitis… I know for a while a lot of people told me to foam roll and stretch to help my knee, but it never seemed to do any good for me. Right now, I would try giving it some TLC meaning don’t OVERstretch it and I would maybe not roll a golf ball over it until it calms down. I think sometimes rolling it just pisses it off more, to be honest. Maybe it’s just me, though? Also, wear compression socks ALL.THE.TIME. When I had my calf strain compression + ice is the combo which made me heal the fastest and see improvements!

    Head up, buttercup!

    1. I hope it’s not a stress fracture. I’ve actually found that compression socks (not sleeves) but socks have been irritating it more.

  9. Best of luck Hollie!! On the brightside you have plenty of time to train for a fall marathon still so hopefully it will just be a minor setback. If it makes you feel better I was diagnosed with Runner’s Knee 3 weeks before my last half-marathon and after seeing a physical therapist and doing the exercises she told me to I was able to run pain-free 🙂 I’m definitely not 100% yet but I was amazed that I could get through the half without falling over! I hope yours clears up just as quickly 🙂

  10. First, I’m very sorry for the setback. No fair. I’ve been pretty lucky with my feet, but IT band syndrome knocked me out of commission for a few months early in 2012, and I went on to PR in Chicago that fall. The worst part of injury is the time it takes to recover properly and the toll it takes on your brain. Sounds like that’s already happening, but you’ll come through it just fine and with plenty of time before Wineglass.

    Positive and proactive are the right words. Hang in there!

  11. ah Hollie I’m so sorry to hear this! I’m sure you’ll be smart about recovery and will be back to “mac trucking” it on the race course soon enough.

    I had extensor tendinitis over the first metatarsal early this spring. Injury are a bummer, but I think they make us all that much smarter about training in the long run. *laughing at my own pun*

  12. You get major props for taking the time off, it’s very early in your marathon training cycle, and staying injury free is more important than logging miles. You have a huge base from the past 2-ish years of injury free, high volume running, and that will serve you well, so no need to sweat some time off.

    I’m fighting plantar fasciitis, as you know, mostly due to a tight Achilles. I think the sooner you can get into a PT/chiropractor/whatever, the better. You know something is wrong right now, why delay? Go in, they can help you with the issue as well as any root cause. The sooner you address it, the sooner you can can back to running. The PT I saw did some ART and Graston all over my right leg, and my running felt so much better this weekend. It’s worth it.

    1. I’m going to definitely make an appointment. I really appreciate your support and advice Victoria!

  13. Oh geez. Sorry to hear about your injury, Hollie 🙁 I’ve never had PF or any running related injury, but I do know how annoying it can be to have an injury get in the way of you doing something you love — I have a wonky knee that doesn’t always let me snowboard as much as I’d like to. Hopefully it heals up soon — sending good vibes <3

    1. Glad to hear it! I am always putting off going into the PT because I’m afraid they will tell me to not run/train, but what they always do is work to make me run/train BETTER. It helps to find a sport-focused practice because they are used to athletes who want to run NOW NOW NOW.

  14. Hey Hollikins! I hope you heal quickly! It sounds like you already know what to do for yourself to get better so I’m sure it will be a quick stint of not being able to run.

  15. I’m not happy to hear this, considering I know first hand how debilitating it can be. I hope the rest and icing helps you recover fast, but maybe a doctor is a good person to visit even sooner. Mine didn’t actually get better until I was on an anti-inflammatory for a couple weeks 😥 but I think I was a pretty extreme case given how long it took to get to that point. If you need somebody to talk to and whine to about it, you know where to find me! Speedy recovery!

  16. I am still suffering from ITB Syndrome 7 months later because I tried to “run through it” and set myself back that far. I am now confined to the pool until further notice. You are definitely making the right decision. Stay patient and rehab, rehab, rehab. Best of luck!

  17. I am just coming back after 8 weeks from a calf/achilles tear, muscle thing ( no idea what it was exactly). I rely on chiro , massage, acupuncture. For muscles i see no point in MDs but that is just me. I avoid ‘real’ drs at all costs. Chiros can do ART and realignments which I have found to be a huge help – for ITB and achilles issues. ART is active release therapy. Injuries stink! Good luck. You are young and will heal quickly. With a recipe of regular deep tissue , foam rolling and NOT running i think another 2 weeks and you ‘ll be fine. Just a guess tho. Try to keep spirits high – it helps with the healing! Really 🙂

  18. PTT sucks! I did it to myself in 2004, overtraining for a marathon (which I then should have DNF’d when I had horrible pain mile 20 on, but didn’t – stupid, cost me time in recovery), and have dealt with it ever since.

    It was very hard for me at that time, not a lot of info available. Was living in a small town then too, not a lot of experts to go to.

    I never went the boot route, which is one option. I overpronate. I have stability/MC shoes and custom orthotics to help. I found that athletic taping (probably could do with KT tape now) helped, around arch and ankle.

    Took me years to get back to half marathons and only this year did I get back to a full (DNS’d a fall full due to extensor probs) but I BQ’d!

    Be careful with taking too many NSAIDs – I had PT folks Rx me big doses, multiple x/day for 6wks. Gave me an ulcer. (I suggest some anti-inflammatory enzymes like Wobenzym and try turmeric if your stomach can handle it.) Topically, I don’t know if Biofreeze would help discomfort. Traumeel might help healing a little.

    In my experience, PTT doesn’t completely go away (since you’re almost always on it/using it), and mine is flaring a little now. (but it can get MUCH better and wind up not being your biggest problem 🙂 Always scares the daylights out of me when it shows up.(tendon issues are really hard)

    One thing that helped, and one of the few things that eased the pain is trigger point massage, either self-done or trigger point/ART from a trained masseuse/chiro. Focus on the knots in the gastroc & soleus. I found that when I hit the right spot there (usually with a TP ball), the discomfort/pain temporarily disappears after. Also I use a foot rubz ball on my arches every day and do the Wharton foot stretches that are part of his AIF routine.

    This also might help

    Feel free to contact me if you want to chat more. Hang in there, and don’t mess with this….get it checked out.

  19. I’ve babbled on enough about my version of this injury on FB, but I’ll add that mine was caused by a combination of doing too much Body Attack (massive pressure on the ankles to stabilize the body throughout the class) and having orthotics which over-corrected my tendency to roll my feet outwards. The tendons on the inside of my ankle/calf were agony on both sides. Anyway, I agree that I’d rather injure a bone than a muscle or tendon…speaking as a person who has had multiple problems with both, I can safely say that it’s been the tendon/muscle injuries that have kept me out of running for the longest.

    However, I think with your aggressive strategy of treating the problem and resting, your prospects are a lot better than mine…I am definitely the idiot running through injuries until I can’t even walk. All the best for the healing process!

    P.S Am I the only one who finds it strange when people ‘like’ an injury post? I mean, you’re dealing with it with great maturity, but I can’t click ‘like’ any more because I worry someone will think I’m happy that they’re injured!

  20. PF is my biggest fear too – in fact, my feet and shins are my “niggle” right now, and I think I obsess a little too much about each ache and pain.

    I’m so sorry to hear about yours – but it sounds like you have an idea about what is going on. Although doctors are good, most often I can correctly figure out what wrong just from reading online. Keep up the recovery (I know you will) and while I know I can’t help, if you need to talk, I am here!

  21. Oh Man 🙁

    I have something going on with my lower left leg. Presents like shin splints but localized, but I don’t think its a stress fracture. I had an Xray the other day and have some PT sessions booked. I’ve basically stopped running for a month now and it keeps coming back. Same pain idea – dull pain not sharp. Its annoying not knowing what it is!

    Hope you have a quick recovery!!!

    1. I think it’s worse not knowing. I would honestly rather know what’s going on and how long I’m out…whether it’s 2 weeks or 2 months!

  22. Better to shut it down temporarily so it can heal than risk further or worsening injury from continuing to push it. You are doing the right thing! PF and posterior tib tendonitis can often go hand-in-hand as it often relates to mechanics of the foot during gait. Hopefully if you do need to see a MD they will just recommend doing some PT!

  23. So sorry to hear this! I had pain in the exact spot you are describing last winter. I don’t know if it is the same thing because when I didn’t run for a couple days the pain went away. Then it would bother me on and off for a couple weeks. But I spoke with my chiro about it and he showed me trigger points I had on my inner ankle area (like maybe 2-3 inches above where the red line stops in your picture). I gently rubbed them with my fingers (I could actually feel the knots in there) to help loosen it up. I wouldn’t want you to do anything to make it worse, but maybe its something to consider? I really hope you figure it out and get better quickly!

  24. This totally sucks. I’m actually shocked to read that you’re injured! I am so sorry to hear that you’re going through this, but honestly SO impressed by your approach. You have way more self control than the average runner, myself included. Hopefully that will pay off and you’ll be back to training in no time! Get well soon!

  25. Have you considered the shoes you’re wearing? From my recollection, you recently started running in Brooks Glyceryn/Ghost (can’t recall) over the last few weeks or months. Maybe too much too soon in the new shoes or go back to the shoes that were working for you? These kinda of things tend to be overuse injuries and since the mileage hasn’t really bothered you before, I’m thinking it may be the shoes.

    Cheer up – I’m sure you’ll be able to get back to training soon. Make that Dr appointment ASAP so you don’t have to play mind games any longer!

  26. Hollie, NOOOOO! 🙁 It’s tough to stay positive, but on the bright side, you are being smart and proactive. Rest and heal up now–and kick butt later. Maybe you could swim a little to cross train? 😉

  27. Sorry to hear about the injury! I wish you the speediest if recoveries! Now would be a great time to rekindle your love for the water haha

    1. Thanks Matt! you are awesome and I appreciate you stopping by…but I won’t be in the pool anytime soon. 😉

  28. I’m so sorry to hear this. You’ve gotten plenty of good advice thus far – I think seeing a doctor to confirm your self-diagnosis would be a great idea. You have a great fitness level, and resting up shouldn’t set you back. The hardest part for you will be the frustration – and you can overcome that. I’m with Carrie – you should swim to cross train 🙂

    I’m thinking I’m struggling with PF right now actually – I have flat feet, tight…well everything in my back line (hamstrings, calves, achilles). Its frustrating, but I have yet to see how it’ll affect my running. I have learned that wearing good supportive casual shoes is key!

  29. Oh poo!!! Hoping you get better soon Hollie! And yes I have a long history and battle with PF. It first hit me about two years ago. It literally brought my running to a halt for about three months abd even forced me to withdraw from my first race ever. I tried everything to get it better. But it was just a time thing rest definitely helped and I made a switch to minimal shoes go figure. It almost sounds contradictory but the was the one thing out everything I tried that help my foot issue the most. I still have flare ups from time to time but not nearly as bad and I’ve learned to cut back at the first sign of soreness

  30. Hollie, I’ve been reading your blog for a while but have never commented until now. I am sorry about your injury and hoping for a quick recovery. I have another suggestion for you: look into flexor hallucis longus tendonitis. I struggled with FHL tendonitis for several months and six specialists before being diagnosed; doctors initially diagnosed me with posterior tibial tendonitis due to the location of the pain. If you look into anatomy resources, you will see that the FHL and PT tendons are right next to each other. I ended up needing 2 surgeries in less than a year but am now finally better (my tendonitis was severe and all conservative measures failed to relieve the pain). It’s just something to be aware of in case you don’t receive answers from doctors.

    1. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. Thank you. I actually was able to schedule a doctors appointment this Thursday!

  31. Oh damn :/ I know it sucks with dealing with an injury (and I’ve had A LOT)… but, your attitude is on the right path. Not trying to run through it is very rare – this is why I read your blog, you’re one of the sensible ones 🙂

    Wishing you a fast recovery from plantar whatever it is, because who wants to deal with that let alone spell it out. Good luck with the doctor/physio Hollie!

  32. I’m the worst friend, since it took me so long to comment on this. I hate that you are injured, because I know how hard you work to prevent this exact thing from happening. I applaud you for being as smart as you can, instead of trying to run through it. One of my crazy ultra running friends (runs 50 mile races in the middle of July, for FUN) had a bad case of plantar fasciitis last summer, and she finally bought the sock that you sleep in. It helped a lot. I know she was doing some other PT type things, I can ask her about them if you’d like.

  33. Gahhhhh oh Holli I am so, so, so sorry! I sincerely hope your proactiveness caught it early enough that it will be a quick heal! I recently caught a stress reaction before it turned into a fracture, went into a shoes, and two weeks later am able begin working back into already!

    Good luck!!!

  34. Hope you are better now. I had PF and was helped immensely by seeing a sports orthopedic doctor and getting custom made orthotics. I didn’t think they would work but they really did.

    Stay positive.

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