That’s right folks. I have tendonitis (or tendinitis, the technically correct but awkward-looking spelling) of both my left lower hamstring and my left ankle. The good news is there are no sprains or broken bones. I can bear weight, and even though it hurts a lot, being physically able to bear weight is a really good sign. I have a pretty awful limp going on right now, and the pain is about an 8 out of 10 when walking, but I’m not going to lose my leg or anything.
Dr. G is AWESOME. He’s an orthopedic surgeon at the regular practice I go to for primary care and other ailments. We talked about yesterday’s race, and how I’d been feeling leading up to it. We focused on my knee/hamstring first, as that’s why I originally made the appointment a few weeks ago. He noticed a significant difference in my range of motion and flexibility between my two legs. I admitted I’ve always been a LOT more flexible on my right side because of cheerleading. I stood on my left leg while my right leg did all the heel stretches, bows ‘n arrows, arabesques, etc. I can still lie on my back and get my right leg almost to the ground next to my head, whereas my left one never had to do that, except in college when I was forced to stunt on the opposite side (because that’s the normal side for 99% of cheerleaders – I was the weirdo). Anyway, that asymmetry still follows me today and apparently is affecting my running even though I hadn’t noticed it before.
Dr. G gave me two options – he could print out a packet of exercises to strength my left side and I could do those at home, or he could send me to PT. When I told him I am running the marathon in April, he said, “Then we definitely need to get you into PT.” So PT it is.
Next, we talked about my recent ankle injuries (the latest was back in February 2015, when I fell down the stairs at work and sprained it while training for the B.A.A. 5K). I admitted that my ankle hasn’t bothered me once since it healed up in mid-2015, and I didn’t roll or otherwise “injure” it yesterday – it just started screaming in pain around Mile 11. He did an assessment and said the same thing – tendonitis, likely related to my hamstring injury. I’ve probably been subconsciously favoring my hamstring and absorbing more of the shock with my ankle. He recommended PT for that as well, and said that both could be addressed together.
I do need to wear an ankle brace whenever I am bearing weight. They fitted me for a Bledsoe Wraptor Ankle Stabilizer. This is a lot like the brace I had to wear all throughout high school for cheering, except that brace had hard plastic inserts on the sides to keep my ridiculously weak ankles from rolling. The good news is that I didn’t roll my ankle, so while the pain is on the outside, it doesn’t hurt to move it side-to-side, just up-and-down (so you know, walking…). The brace does stretch out my shoes so I am not going to ruin my brand new running shoes. They’ll have to wait to get broken in. I’m also going to break out my nerdy night splint – it helps keep my ankle stabilized at night. When I sleep, I point my toes and wake up with aching arches and calves, and that can’t possibly be good for my ankle right now, so back to the silly splint, it is!
Unfortunately, PT can’t get me in for an initial appointment until November 2, so Dr. G gave me some at-home exercises to do in the meantime. He said no running until PT clears me, but that I can ride a bike once the pain subsides. I like biking to work in the cooler weather, so I can definitely do that, but I know I should get a gym membership for the winter anyway so I will probably do that starting November 1. He said PT will make sure I am ready to go in April, but also ready to begin training ASAP. Again, the first official workout is December 12 and that’s 2 months away, so I am not worried at all.