And the saga continues. On Wednesday I decided to try a short run with my dog. I figured, it’s been a full four weeks and it doesn’t hurt to walk anymore, why not? Plus my dog has been putting a major guilt trip on me for days, it was about time we got outside together. So I put on my running shorts, my bright orange micro-cotton tank top (which had migrated to the forgotten bottom of my dresser drawers) and…once again, my Vibrams. Oh how I’d missed you, my dear Vibrams! And out the door I went, happy pooch in toe.
I tried to be generous to my foot. I walked the quarter mile from my house to the wooded path. Nothing hurt. I even tried twisting about a little, all was well. Once I reached the path I let Oscar off the leash and started gingerly running. It didn’t hurt, so I kept going…nice and easy. A couple of minutes later things started to feel a little weird – not pain, exactly. More like a tension, a pressure underneath my foot at the point in my gait where my toes spread flat over the ground. It was a cross between an itch and the feeling you get right before you release the air in a joint. I figured since I couldn’t label it “pain” I could keep going (ahh…Runner’s Logic, how quaintly optimistic). Then I wondered if I’d feel better barefoot so I took off my shoes and left them on the grassy edge of the path. No real difference, but it did feel great as always to be bare.
Soon enough the weird feeling got to be more uncomfortable so I turned around and walked back home. I started to feel more sore the longer I went, and I noticed that the soreness decreased a bit if I broke into a run again, but I didn’t push it. I got home and iced, feeling like I’d conquered the day.
Again, how quaint.
By nighttime my foot was sore enough to make me take Advil and lie awake wondering what the problem really was. Was the soreness simply my tendons and ligaments adjusting to being used again? Or was this my foot telling me that this is all happening too soon? Over my lifetime I have injured just about every ligament and tendon in my foot at least once, and I’ve always been able to tell when I’m okay to start again (usually about 2 weeks later). But this all felt so different and weird, I figured it has to be a stress fracture, and it has to be looked at.
So the next day I caved in and made an appointment with my doctor (well…my real doctor was booked up for three weeks so I saw a stranger, frankly). The morning was a little sore, but by the afternoon my foot was feeling a little better and I was not limping. An X-ray didn’t convince radiologists that I had a fracture, so the stranger sent me home with a roll of surgical tape and instructions to wear sneakers with support for the next 6 weeks, and no running.
Today my foot is practically pain-free again – this is the weirdest injury I have ever had! Nothing that the doctor did to twist or manipulate my foot hurt. Walking mostly doesn’t hurt. The only evidence I have of injury is a very pinpoint area of pain with pressure on the top of my foot (which goes away with massage), and that residual soreness after attempted running. Half of me thinks I should give it another few weeks and use the stationery bikes at the gym for exercise (although I do so hate those things), and the other half wants me to give running another try this weekend and see how it goes. And then there’s a small part of me that thinks maybe I really do have a fracture and everybody missed it. But I don’t think I want to pay for an MRI (damn deductible insurance).
So I called the Dr.’s office again and got my (real) doctor on the phone. She listened to me whine about not knowing when to get back into running again and such, and she referred me to a PT. So I made an appointment for next Wednesday. At this point I am hoping for maybe a real, palpable diagnosis of the injury and a real, palpable schedule for recovery. Could it be too much to ask? I guess I’ll see.