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
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!