Thursday, December 22, 2011

Follow Shelly To Her first Half Marathon Part III

Plantar fasciitis it is . . .
I went to a sports medicine doctor today to have my foot evaluated. After reviewing the x-rays, I am pleased to inform you that I do not have a heel spur nor a fracture in my foot. Even though this is great news, I cannot say I am thrilled that I am still battling plantar fasciitis (over 2 months now). However, it is bearable.

The doctor told me that my calves are VERY tight and ranked up there with the tightest calves he has seen. He actually tried to stretch them on several occasions. The tightness in my calves is causing the micro-tearing and inflammation that is plantar fasciitis. He gave me two stretches to do 5 times a day . . . 10 reps each . . . holding for at least 25 seconds each.

I have been doing both of these stretches, however the doctor said that your muscles don't actually start to stretch until they have relaxed at 15-20 seconds into the stretch . . . which would mean that I have basically been doing totally ineffective stretching up to this point.

I was also given a prescription for a daily anti-inflammatory that will (hopefully) help with the swelling. I was also told to continue my icing regime. There was some silver lining in all of this . . . the doctor said it would be okay for me to continue my training and that there is really no further damage that could occur (except for a full rupture of the fascia . . . sounds painful . . . yikes).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Following Shelly To Her First Half Marathon Part II

My calf has finally healed enough for me to start some short runs, so I am back on the horse (figuratively speaking)! However, the process is VERY frustrating and slow going. Before I had the micro-tearing in my calf, I was running 4-6 miles per day for 3-4 days per week. For the past 2 weeks, I have only been able to start by jogging 1-2 miles every other day. I am definitely not tired at the end of these short runs, but my body tells me to stop by sending minor pain signals into my calf. Although it is frustrating, I listen to my body, and then resort to walking. I definitely do NOT want to aggravate the injury and have to go to complete rest again. However, on a positive note, I have been able to progress my "running" (if you want to call it at this stage . . . LOL) from 0.75 mile two weeks ago to 2 miles today. I have been warming my legs up by riding the stationary bike for 1-2 miles before and after each short run. I guess I should be more positive and concentrate on the fact that progress is being made . . .

To minimize the strain on my calf, I have been wearing a compression calf sleeve, and it has definitely helped. It seems to minimize the movement in my calf when running and keep the muscle warm. However, I also thought it would be a good idea to wear a compression calf sleeve on my other calf (which corresponds with the plantar fasciitis). Wearing a compression calf sleeve with plantar fasciitis ended up being an epic fail (for me). It seemed to intensify the pain from the plantar fasciitis and also to cause my calf to hurt. After doing some reading, I found that plantar fasciitis is aggravated by a tight calf . . . so I made mine tighter . . . lesson learned (check!). I am no longer wearing the compression calf sleeve on that calf, and I am able to run with fairly minimal pain from the plantar fasciitis. Today, I also completed my first run without either compression calf sleeve, and I did not experience any major calf pain . . . yea :-)

In about a week, I have an appointment scheduled with a sports medicine doctor to have the foot with the plantar fasciitis evaluated. I feel it is important to double check that there is nothing else wrong. I read in several places that you should have your foot evaluated just to make sure it is not a stress fracture in your heel. However, from reading the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, I feel that I am a textbook case. Right now, I am definitely able to manage the plantar fasciitis through stretching, icing, massage, and wearing a dorsal night splint while I sleep. My foot actually feels best when I am running . . . it hurts the most after periods of sitting or other inactivity.

Now, let's just hope the progress continues . . .