My last post pretty much explained my injury situation, but I’m writing an update because I received the official diagnosis when I visited the podiatrist last Friday. When the nurse asked what was wrong, I said I suspected I had a stress fracture in my fourth metatarsal. Unfortunately, that was totally accurate. I’ve heard that sometimes stress fractures don’t show in X-rays, but mine was pretty clear in one of them. My fears were confirmed – I’d be stuck in a boot. The doctor said I’ll probably need to wear it for a month, then maybe take a couple more weeks off before I try to run again.
How’d I get here? I’m pretty sure compensating for one injury created a new one. When my right ankle locked up for a couple weeks after biking too hard, pain shot up my shin when I tried to run. I took time off and got that injury worked out, but I think that’s when the signs of the stress fracture started to appear. Before the ankle/shin pain was totally gone, I had a run where I got through the first mile okay, but my shin bugged me as I continued to run a couple more miles. The next day or two I noticed that the outside of my left foot was a little annoyed. After another run or two, it was a different story. I felt fine while running, but limped as soon as I finished. By compensating for the pain on my right side, I think I probably adjusted my form in a way that led to the stress fracture on my left side.
I probably had the fracture for a good three weeks before I made it in to see the doctor. During that time I had a pretty good idea what was going on and knew that I was going to be done with running for a while. Of course I’m bummed, but I saw it coming and came to accept it a few weeks ago. The boot makes things a bit awkward, but isn’t too bad for the most part. Stairs are difficult and I hobble around a bit, but at least I’m able to put my weight on it and still get around. I’m a bit concerned that the boot makes me a couple inches taller on my left side, and I wonder if it’s going to lead to hip pain or create other new issues.
I had a few brief throbbing pains when I first got the boot, probably because the straps compressed the injured area. That faded after a couple days. I took the boot off the other night and wore a slip-on shoe so I could go out in the rain and move my car quickly. Just bumping the top of my foot on the opening of the shoe was enough to leave me in pain the rest of the night. Aside from that, I really haven’t had any pain. Hopefully a month in this thing will be enough. One bonus is that I might also be able to take care of the plantar fasciitis in this foot once and for all.
I went through my training log from a couple years ago to reassure myself. When I was in a car accident in March of 2014, my back was so messed up I couldn’t do anything for a couple months. It took seven weeks before I attempted my first walk/run combo. I ran a couple times by the eighth week, and I was up to three times by the ninth week. I survived a couple months without running then and managed to bounce back, so I’m sure it will all work out again this time as well.
At this point I’m not really interested in trying to bike or do much of anything besides lift weights. I don’t want to do anything that will jeopardize my recovery. I want to get through this as quickly as I can!
We’re going to Vegas in a week and I’m not too excited to walk all over the place with this darn boot when it’s 100 degrees. To look on the positive side, I’ll be able to pack a lot lighter since I’ll have no need for four days’ worth of running gear!
I know injuries like these happen to runners all the time, so it was probably just a matter of time before I got to experience my first (and hopefully only?) stress fracture. To anyone who has been there before, please feel free to share if you have any advice for bouncing back!