It feels old to say this, but I must be getting old. I’m about to be sidelined with my third injury of 2009, which is triple the number of injuries I have had since 2000. Since my “doctor” (aka, my father) now lives 400 miles away from me, it’s up to me to diagnose and treat myself. Let’s play Dragnet and review the facts…
Fact One: My morning leaped into action before six, when I awoke due to a sharp pain in the top of my foot; I had to hobble to the kitchen to get Blue Ice, and for the first time in a long time, I did not even consider attempting to push through the pain to run or go to the gym.
Fact Two: I seem to recall there being a slight discomfort in the same location last week, after my soccer game.
Fact Three: I played soccer last night, and recall feeling a mild discomfort, which I thought had been from having my Ace bandage wrapped too tightly (I’m still occasionally wrapping from my ankle injury a few months ago).
Fact Four: The pain from this morning has subsided, though I still must walk barefoot gingerly and I certainly don’t want to kick anything.
Fact Five: My foot moved considerably better when in a pair of shoes, though was still painful.
Fact Six: It is slightly painful to the touch.
Given the location of the pain, and the fact that it hurts to touch it, my initial reaction was that I am suffering from a stress fracture. Those words separately are a runner’s least favorite things, but together? Totally yuckpants. The Mayo Clinic*, one of my favorite and most trusted health sites, says this: “At first, stress fractures may be barely noticeable. But pay attention to the pain. Proper self-care and treatment can keep the stress fracture from worsening.” Pain that was easy to ignore at first, and now screaming at me like a siren? Check. I’ll address that whole “proper self-care” idea is just a moment.
The Mayo Clinic also gives a handy list of symptoms (oh, symptom checkers, you are the joy of every hypochondriac). I have bolded the symptoms I have experienced in the past week.
- Pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest
- Pain that occurs earlier in your workout in each successive workout
- Pain that increases over time (well, sort of in my case)
- Pain that persists even at rest
- A specific spot on the involved bone that feels tender or painful to the touch
Hm. Were I a Magic 8 Ball, I would say something to the degree of “Try Again Later.”
Here’s the skinny on stress fractures:**
They are tiny slivers in your bone, so small that most X-Rays would never even pick them up. They are caused by repetitive force, and thus aggravated like angry bunnies if you continue to overuse the fractured limb in question. And the really fun part? The only way to cure a stress fracture is rest. In theory, total rest, as in, not bearing weight on the limb at all. It is recommended to take 6-8 weeks off before resuming normal activity, and even then, you are to start very slowly. The best way to avoid these gems of an injury is to refrain from overuse, which we all know is one of my downfalls as a runner.
With all this knowledge, I guess it is up to me to prescribe rest for today, and see what happens (I believe my mom always calls this “watchful waiting”). Which also means no brie for today. Darn you brie, taunting me in the refrigerator. Darn you indeed!
For all you runners and exercisers out and about today, make sure you don’t fall into the overuse trap. Switching up activities, and making sure to engage in cross training or low-impact exercise, are sure fire ways to keep you healthy, happy, and injury-free!
** As quoted by Cher in Clueless