“Breaking” News*

*Alternate titles:

Fibia/Tibia, I’ve Got a Bone to Pick with You

“Let’s Talk About Stress, Baby”

I Crack Under Pressure (I Knew That last Chipotle Run Was a Bad Idea!)

Tibia or Not Tibia:  That is the Question

“Breaking Up is Never Easy, I Know, But I (Might) Have to Go”

“Crack that Whip, Give the Marathon a Slip”

“Pressure Pushing Down on Me, Pressing Down on, Well, Me”

“But One Step Further and my Tibia/Fibia Will Break”

And my favorite…

You have to learn to pace yourself


You’re just like everybody else


You’ve only had to run so far

So good

But you will come to a place

Where the only thing you feel

Are loaded guns in your face

And you’ll have to deal with


I’m in trouble, folks, but the good news is that there are plenty of song lyrics to help me laugh through the potentially bad news.

I went to my podiatrist yesterday, my dear doctor of 7 years now.  I made the appointment last week because I knew my foot pain had changed and that I had added another wrinkle to my plantar fasciitis.  I’ll give a little detail for runners (or non-runners!) who read this post looking for more PF info.

I’ve had plantar fasciitis since 2007, when the party kicked off in my right foot after running my first half marathon.  After physical therapy, two cortisone shots, a boot for a month, no exercise for 6 months, and multiple therapy sessions with my wine glass, we kicked it into submission with custom-molded orthotics.

I never walk without my comfy shoes on.  I step out of bed and right into them.  I ice.  I stretch.  I have a great prescription cream that has numbing agents and anti-inflammatories in it that I put on 2-4x/day to keep the beast at bay.

Still, I run, though, and I run with high arches and the dorkiest overpronating running style that you have ever seen.  Mechanics are not on my side, and I now have a moderately severe bout with it in my left foot.

How do you know it’s PF?  It hurts when you step out of bed, deep in your heel, sometimes like a stabbing pain, other times like a throbbing sensation (“throb” is a word that I despise, but it is the best descriptor here.)  It gets better after you move around for a bit, because the fascia loosens up.  The strain is in the arch, but you feel the pain in your heel where the fascia connects.  I’ve got a lovely hook-shaped bone spur in my heel where bone has grown in response to the inflammation.  That hurts too, btw.

When you run, you typically feel good, again because the fascia gets nice and loose; but after the run it tightens up again and becomes inflamed.  That’s why after runs, I’m a veritable hobbling cripple for the rest of the day.  Usually I’m better by the next morning though and rip-roarin’ ready to go tear the shit up again…yee haw!

That’s PF in a nutshell for me, but in the past few weeks, things have changed.  I now hurt during runs, not just after.  Every step is “owwwww!”  I feel pain in a different spot on the bottom of my foot, and I’ve had pain for weeks extending up the outside of my foot and into my leg past the ankle bone.

Here is an extremely precise and detailed photo I’ve created to express the situation, along with Oscar’s ass and a rope toy (for artistic composition):


Now I’m no rocket scientist, but I knew I was taking it to the limit, Eagles-style, so I made the appointment.  I was thinking that I was irritating some tendons by walking on it differently/compensating for the pain.

In a surprise move (well, a surprise to me at the time, but not to you because I love to foreshadow,) she thinks I might have a stress fracture of the fibia or tibia.

I had a couple options.  She said she could do nothing, because if she pursued a diagnosis, she would more than likely have to tell me to stop running.  I love her and appreciated her thinking.  She knows me well and knows that I want to run this marathon.  She said I could just press on without a diagnosis and perhaps with some physical therapy and cross-training as much as I can…BUT I haven’t even reached peak miles yet, and this strategy would mean that I would be putting my leg at risk.  In other words, if it isn’t already cracked, I would be doing my best to crack it with every continued run, and if/when it cracks, I would then be unable to do anything and would have to completely immobilize it (I assume in a boot.)

Now, the 30s me would have probably taken that route, but I am now a reasonable and mature 41-year old who has already conquered the dream of running a marathon and who has a burgeoning golf hobby.  I told Dr. Monty that I chose Door #2…a bone scan.

The bone scan will apparently show much more than an X-ray, and I am hoping to hear from the scheduler this morning.  My doctor hopes that I can get it done by the end of the week so that she can read the results by Tuesday.  In the meantime, I’m to keep status quo barring any further developments in pain.  Luckily, my next long run is a cutback to 13.1 miles, so I will be “running in place” distance-wise until I get some news.  Hopefully, nothing is broken yet, and though I will be disappointed if I can’t run the NYC marathon, I have a good perspective and know that it’s not the end of the world.  I appreciate any good vibes you can send and of course any jokes you can make at my expense!

As always, happy running, and here’s to strong tibias/fibias for all!!!!!!!  I’m out the door to “crack” out another 4 miles!




26 thoughts on ““Breaking” News*

  1. I have a BONE to pick with your PF! Your doctor needs to get CRACKIN’ and help you get rid of it once and for all! I’m sorry to hear you have to FOOT the bill for so many medical appointments. I really hope you can TOE the line at NYC!


  2. Oh no!! Good luck with the bone scan and I hope you get good news! (Your alternate titles for this post were awesome – thanks for the laugh! 🙂 Now just try to stop being Bad to Your Bone (b-b-b-bad!) … That was cheesy and terrible. I’ll try to think of something better 😉 )


  3. Maybe it will be the best case scenario! Maybe it will come back that you have some crazy thing that lets you keep running, but no do housework. Who knows. Sometimes info can be a good thing. I’m praying for New York for you and hope it all comes out in the wash. 🙂


  4. Oh no! Hope it’s not a stress fracture. But if it is, you’ve got yourself about 10 cracking blog titles to choose from…
    Best of luck for the scan!


  5. I used to be huge. I mean REALLY huge. If I lose another 25 pounds I will literally be half the man I used to be. It was not a good place to be, and I had heel spurs much like what you describe. Every step was like having a nail driven up in my heel. But I wore orthotics for years and the spurs seem to have gone away. One “benefit” of being huge, it turns out, is that I have developed very sturdy bones. Apparently the body compensates for the extra weight by growing the bones thicker. Now I’ve lost a lot of weight. (Okay, 140+ pounds if you must know.) And now I run. I wear Hokas because I need the extra padding between me and the ground. But the heel pain is gone, gone, gone. And I’m hopeful that I will never get a stress fracture because I have those thick bones.

    I don’t recommend my method of dealing with potential stress fractures. Great bone density won’t get you up the stairs at the end of the day or allow you NOT to ask for a seat belt extension on an airplane. It won’t let you sleep without a machine to help you breathe. It won’t help with heart stress or potential diabetes. Or self respect. That least of all.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that if I can overcome all that I have (and I have) and even become a runner (!), then you should look hopefully beyond the present and know you’ll return and dominate.


    • Wow…you’ve lost 140 pounds and are now a runner? I am amazed by you! Congrats! I appreciate your comments very much. I know that running has been so good for my body AND for bone density. If I have the bad luck to have developed a stress fracture, I will take it “in stride” and know that things will be okay. But damn, don’t those heel spurs hurt, as you know!


  6. Ouch! You are a tough cookie. My mushy brain can’t come up with anything resembling humor at the moment, so I’ll just send good thoughts your way for the scan!


  7. Angie, defer NY to next year. It’s not worth the risk to your foot and psyche! Get healthy and you, me and Pam can plan to meet up for an easy half.


    • Thanks, Holly! I am hopeful that I will get good news. I feel much better this week, so I am thinking maybe it’s just angry tendons, which would do fine with PT. I will definitely defer if the doctor recommends it…I promise not to be stupid, but I also don’t want to train again next summer AND want to run it so much! I will keep you posted! Hope you are staying healthy!


  8. Oh no! Fingers crossed that the bone scan results show only good news. Console yourself in the knowledge that this is a condition experienced by “hardcore” runners!!!


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