After writing a post about staying injury free last month, I received the question of what types of injuries I’ve dealt with. Honestly, I’ve dealt with a lot of different issues. Before recently, my blog could have alternative names such as fueledbyInjuries or InjuriesNlolz. To be fair, two out of five of my issues were due to blunt force or falling.
Luckily, for myself and training I’ve realized what has worked with training and what hasn’t. Since I’m a relatively new runner, I don’t have the experience many other people do. I don’t have eight years of high school and college running. I have a few years of haphazard LOLZ running and a couple of years of effective training. As with anything, I learn best when I do something and make mistakes along the way.
You can read my full running story here (or in one of the headings above).
In summary, I began running July 2010. I ran off and on and was still a member of on my collegiate swim team. Swim season lasted from September until late February, so there was no running during that time. During the off season, we were allowed to work out as we pleased, so I picked up running.
Tibial Stress Fracture (July 2011-September 2011)
How it happened:
I ran every day for an hour on the treadmill. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to train fast every single day. I thought to race faster you must train faster. So every day I made the goal to beat the previous days mileage for 1 hour. I was running between 7-7:15 pace for an hour. Ultimately I was far more exhausted running 50 miles then I am now. My body broke at a road race on my 21st birthday.
I learned more about myself than any other injury. To be honest, I needed that injury to realize that training was idiotic. My tibial stress fracture shaped my training to include a lot more easy miles.
Between 2011-2012, I improved and Pred in everything.
Cyst: August 2012-October 2012:
How it happened: During September 2012, I developed a cyst in the arch of my foot. The doctors still don’t know exactly how it formed it could have developed anywhere in my body. They don’t believe it was running related, but it prevented me from running. I am lucky it didn’t develop in my brain or somewhere very serious. I was able to run with minimal pain until the cyst became large enough to rip the muscle from my bone.
Ultimately I gave my bone two months to heal, and steroid shots took away the cyst.
Fractured Elbow (August 2013)
How it happened: While cooling down at a road race in August 2013, I was hit by a cyclist. I was knocked to the ground, fracturing my elbow. I was devastated but after a week, I was able to run slowly. I decreased mileage for a while, but it ended up being the most nonserious elbow fracture I could have. At the time, the decline in mileage was not great because I was training for my first marathon, NYCM.
In between August 2013-August 2014, I trained for my first marathon and then took some time off afterward. I didn’t run consistently because the marathon burnt me out. I also moved across the country and had a lot of life changes.
Metarsal Fracture (August 2014)
How it happened:
Fast forward to August of 2014 and I received my other stress fracture in my second metatarsal. In hindsight, I believe I upped my mileage too quickly. Even though I was running easy, I think my mileage went up too fast. At the time, I was training for my second marathon, Wineglass. I healed by the time the marathon started, but it would have been dumb to run a marathon on a newly recovered stress fracture. To be honest, I don’t think my heart was ready to race another marathon and to have an out was good for me.
Bum Butt (February 2015-March 2015)
How it happened:
I tweaked something running my second marathon and kept running. Around mile 18, my butt started to throb. Eventually by the end of the marathon, my whole left side was in pain. Should I have finished the race? Probably not…Did I PR? Yes…
I didn’t heal as fast as I should have because I continued to run after the marathon. I took two weeks off (which helped) but then I ran too hard too fast. Looking back, I made good progress and then threw it all away running again. This is something I’m 100% kicking myself for…even though I had an excellent time at Shamrock 2015. If I had taken a month off, I wouldn’t have had two months to deal with the issues. I wrote more about what helped my butt, hamstring, IT band and everything else here.
When looking at my running injuries, I’ve realized I’ve had bad luck with some:
- Foot cyst
- Getting hit by a cyclist
And I’ve not trained smartly for others:
- Tibial stress fracture
- Metatarsal fracture
- Bum Butt
I’ve received bone scans and gotten my calcium levels checked and despite a few breaks, I’m surprisingly in the normal range. It was important to me to get those bone tests done. My passion for running might come and go, but overall health does not. There are other things in life that cannot be done without being physically healthy. I take a calcium and bone supplement daily as well as drinking milk and taking calcium rich sources.
There are many times I look back at my training and think: If I had taken a few more days off, or if I had realized that ache was a minor bone pain….but each is a lesson to move on. I have learned that running in pain isn’t worth it to me.
You cannot outrun health, and it will catch up to you.
Question for you: Have you had a running injury before?
I’ve only had one running related injury, and that was runner’s knee. It was when I first started running, and I increased my mileage too quickly.
However, I will say that I’m one of those people that requires a lot of mobility work to stay healthy. I have scoliosis, an anterior pelvic tilt due to having a desk job, and I have high arches which cause my ankles to pronate in. I wouldn’t say that running has ever injured me, but ignoring mobility work has. If I do the mobility work I should (along with strength and cross training), then running is totally ok for me.
I’m glad you are making sure to get enough calcium and check your bone density. Sounds like you do a great job at trying to make sure your body is properly taken care of to minimize injuries (and have long term good bone health).
I think it’s so important for runners to share their injury and set backs. People tend to think we’re invincible when posting about PR’s or a race, but in the background sometimes things aren’t always perfect! I’ve learned so much about myself from the several injuries i’ve had! (tendon issues, hip flexor weakness, it band issues, muscle strains..ugh)
I had my worst injury in 1977 after the Penn Relays Marathon. It took almost a year to recover. Since then I have focused on good shoes and good training I.e. rest days. Now that I do triathlons I don’t run everyday and I think the biking and swimming helps prevent injuries. The only problem I have now is hunger…I’m hungry all the time ):
I would rather be hungry than injured LOL.
I’ve had a few bike crashes, but *knock on wood* I haven’t sustained a serious running injury. I definitely rolled my fair share of ankles during my basketball years though. 😉
It’s like we are twins! Except I don’t run unless I’m chasing a soccer ball. BUT we are definietly similar in the injury train!
– torn meniscus when I was 14 [played on it 6 months to finish out soccer season]
– broken left wrist [never got casted so I could play the season, just soft cast]
– sprained ankles [so many I lost count, but I can now pop my ankles in and out due to my ligaments being so far stretched and pulled and not properly healed]
– stress fracture in right shin
– chipped left ankle bone
– 2 concussions
– bulging disk in my back
– torn left ankle ligaments
And that’s just the big ones that I had to go to the doctor for! Definietly paying for it now though….REST is so crucial to healing, but when I was younger I needed to be on that field. It’s where I felt my best, even when I was physically at my worst. It bred an eating disorder, body image issues, and so many physical pains that I am still dealing with today. I’m glad you learned from your injuries! Thats the only hope we can all have 🙂
Wow I can’t even imagine. I played soccer for one season but I was actually quite terrible so that was the end of that. I’m glad you’ve been able to learn from your injuries as well. Let’s hope we are both injury free for a while.
I’ve been injured what feels like a million times. IT Band, Piriformis, Tendonitis, you name it I’ve had it. I’m over a year injury free now because I added in strength training in addition to my running. As much as I sometimes hate it, it has helped immeasurably. Especially plyo moves that are good for runners (running is basically a series of tiny jumps forward if you think about it). I do about three resistance sessions a week in addition to my running, they’re not that long but I wouldn’t trade being injury free for anything.
I’ve had a few running injuries.
I broke my pelvis running cross-country as a freshman in high school. It was a pelvic avulsion fracture, which I guess is somewhat common in young athletes.
I got a stress fracture in my tibia during my freshman year of college. I was running college track, so it was just overtraining that caused it.
Just recently, I’ve been having knee pain from IT band issues. It’s my first “chronic” injury. With my other two, it was just “no running until it stops hurting and then it’s better.” I’m hoping to give it some TLC in a week or so after my marathon (!) and fix it for good.
I hope you are able to heal from the IT Band issues Katie. A broken pelvis sounds really painful.
I’ve never had really serious running injuries like stress fractures (just kind of annoying ones like the mystery calf issues and this weird hamstring pain) but I’ve definitely learned a lot from the injuries that have prevented me from running. I feel like as much as it stinks at the time, they do help you learn and as a result you become a stronger runner.
This might sound weird but I would rather have a stress fracture and be injured for 2 months. With proper rest they heal. Sometimes with muscle issues I feel like it takes much longer and you never really know the cause.
I’ve had so many running injuries. 7 stress fractures, a strained muscle, chronic compartment syndrome, nerve damage, and surgery. All in two years! Luckily I haven’t had an injury since October.
I’m glad to hear you’ve been injury free since October Kennedy.
Getting hit by a cyclist is a real fear of mine, since so many of them ride on the paths where I run and don’t always signal that they’re behind me or passing me. I’ve only been injured once, and it was when I was in college, badly twisted my ankle when I fell on some ice, and then kept running even with some pain. What should have been just a couple days off of running became a couple of months in PT.
I think it’s neat that you’ve been able to reflect on all these injuries and learn from them. I haven’t had many serious injuries running related (fingers crossed) but I used to get sprained ankles all the time playing soccer. Anytime I step on the sidewalk wrong or trip on something I instantly panic because of it!
I’m very fortunate *knock on wood* that I haven’t had any serious injuries. I’ll sometimes get hip pain but it goes away once I back off my workouts for a couple days.
Glad to hear you haven’t had any serious issues Kaci. That is a plus.
I had horrible plantar fasciitis in high school, and my coach would tape my feet for long runs. I remember being in so much pain I was crying in the middle of an 8 mile run, and when I took off my shoes the tape had left giant purple indentations all over my swollen feet. After my freshman year running was basically a bust because it would get so painful. It look me a long time to realize it was too much mileage in concrete that was really hurting my feet! It came back training for an ultra, but shoe technology has gotten so mich better I was able to run. My worst injury was actually from falling off a boulder at a rock climbing gym and breaking my ankle. 🙂 But I have cool pins in my ankle now. I hope you stay injury free for awhile!
PF is one of the most painful injuries to have because it never goes away. Orginally they thought my cyst had been a case of PF but ultimately realized it was something much more. Do you think it could stem from your calves Mollie? Many times PF stems from tight calve issues!
I have learned that running in pain isn’t worth it either. Such a bummer you were hit by a cyclist. That must have been so scary.
I’m learning how to manage my injury now, and I have learned I need an incredibly long warmup. Just doing the best I can with what I’ve got. 🙂
There’s no enjoyment in running in pain. You’ve done so well dealing with and learning from these injuries, that cyst sounds painful!!!
I’ve had IT band issues luckily no serious incidents, I was hit by a cyclist too, thankfully nothing broken just mild concussion, I also fell at mile 1 of my first half marathon but only cuts and bruises.
Mild concussion sounds so painful though! I’m glad you haven’t had too many serious injuries Angela.
Oh wow! I’m glad you typed this all out. I’ve always been so afraid of getting a stress fracture but so far I’ve been okay. The only running injury I deal with is my unstable SI joint, especially on the right side. I need to strengthen the surrounding muscles somehow, but I keep putting it off.
I feel like our entire friendship has been “who’s injured now?” and am glad that currently it’s nobody!
It’s like a Russian Roulette friendship.
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