Day 1 of Wellness

Let me start out by saying I used to HATE running.  But during graduate school I found myself dabbling here and there with my exercise nemesis.  I ran my first 5K, then my first half marathon which challenged me in a way I had ever been challenged before.  

The more I started hitting the trails, the easier it seemed to be to run faster, longer, and before I knew it I was running 12 miles and enjoying it.  What I hated had turned into a form of movement meditation, and I was grateful to have it in my life.

Now rewind to over a year ago.  I had two half marathons on the books both within a six month period, when I happen to step hard onto a sharp rock right under the ball of my toe. Afterwards I noticed a lingering aching every now and then but being a Physical Therapist I thought with a little ice, rest, and massage I would be fine.

Then I began to train for my second half marathon and BAM! I again landed directly on a sharp rock under the ball of my foot.  Except this time the pain was no longer just achy, it hurt bad.  At this point I should have listened to by body (I know this!!!!) but I didn't.  I ran my half marathon and thought okay now I'll rest for the next three months, that will give it enough time to heal.

Except it didn't.

Instead it was getting worse but not just running, but Pilates, yoga, weight lifting, walking and even when I wasn't doing anything.

So after 9 months I finally went to get imaging done. At my appointment the Ortho I went to explained that he believed I had seasmoiditis and flexor hallicus longus tendonitis (which I had guessed but was hoping wasn't the case).

In layman's terms one of the bones underneath my big toe and the tendon/muscle that is used every time you go up on your toes or pushed off of to talk a step forward was inflamed. 

It was at this point that he told me I could continuing doing any activity I wanted and would just have to deal with the pain.  BUT, if I wanted I could get a cortisone shot to help the inflammation. Well after injecting cortisone directly through the bottom of my foot (let me tell you OUCH!) I knew as a physical therapist that this was just temporary relief and not a cure.

I knew on top of my injuries I must have had kinetic chain issues that arouse from this now chronic injury.  The injection wasn't going to help the muscle imbalances that  had formed, wasn't going to completely get ride of the inflammation and I also knew there would be no way to rest my foot without additional support.

So with a second opinion for a Foot and Ankle specialist that's when I started wearing a CAM Boot.  A Cam boot is like a removable cast that comes up below the knee joint and not only takes the pressure off the toes, but stabilizes the ankle.  This then allowed my foot ankle the true rest it needed to heal.  

I wore this boot for a month before switching to a rocker shoe.  A shoe that relieves pressure from the toes but still allows for ankle moblity.  I work the rocker shoe for an additional month.  After which I solely wore gym shoes with a J Pad insert.  This is a cushioned pad that sticks to the bottom of your boot but has a cut out underneath the big toe joint to relieve pressure under the sesamoid.  

While I rested the foot and ankle I began to focus on the rest of my kinetic chain building up strengthen in my core and hips. I worked with a personal trainer 3 times a week while being extremely careful of body mechanics. 

I myself also went to a physical therapist for Dry Needling.  Dry Needling is a modality used in Physical Therapy to release muscular trigger points and improve muscle efficiency, blood flow and referred pain, just to name a few things.  Although this modality is more invasive than other forms of manual therapy due to the use of filament needles piercing the skin it can provide faster results.

Throughout this whole process I had to be extremely careful reintroducing activity back into my life, as if it caused any pain then I knew I would have to back off. I therefore SLOWLY began progressing walking, Pilates, Yoga and adding safe challenges to my weight lifting exercises with my personal trainer.

One of the problems I struggled with was tightness throughout my right ankle and hip, so once I could practice yoga painfree, I began going to Hot Yoga to help relax the muscles further with the external heat.  It allowed my muscles to warming up faster throughout the practice and helped me tremendously with gaining range of motion.  Even with this though I still had to work on stabilizing the joints in their new ranges motion. 

They story now brings us to this week.  As a trail runner I have never enjoyed running indoors on a treadmill, but no way was I going to risk stepping on a rock again just as I started running again. So in order to progress myself I accepted that form and short distances need to be my focus. Therefore treadmill interval training is the route I am taking.

Although it may not seem like much to some, if you have ever struggled with a chronic injury being able to even participate in an activity you love pain free is a reason to jump up and down for joy. So what was my first interval training session like?

  • 3 minutes of walking (3.0 mph)
  • 1 min of Jogging (6.0 mph) followed by 30 sec jump off treadmill (repeated 4 more times)
  • 6 minutes of walking (3.0 mph)
  • 1 min of Jogging (6.0 mph) followed by 30 sec jump off treadmill (repeated 4 more times)
  • 3 minutes of walking (3.0 mph)

Why is it important for me to train this way?  

For starters, I'm back to being a beginner.  I have to relearn how to breath, rebuild up my strength, rebuild my endurance.  I have to relearn how to manage by posture in a body that I don't have 100% confidence in.  I am still fearful that the pain will return, that I will do something wrong.  But it's the little victories that matter, because as they add up over time that confidence will return.

My relationship with running isn't over, but it is evolving.  I look forward to shortening my rest periods, increasing my speed and learning how to set a solid foundation in the 2-5 mile range.

If any anyone else is struggling with a chronic injury affecting their hobby feel free to contact me for a free discovery visit.  Or check out the free injury reports I now have available for neck pain, back pain and knee pain, as well as keep an eye out for my upcoming ankle report.

You don't have to be alone in your quest to wellness. Yes, it takes patience, time, and dedication to adapt to the ever changing human body, but support is always here at Mindful Matters Wellness.